Thursday, June 17, 2010
OCTA teaches jobs creation 101
|You know the facts: Nationally, about 370,000 government jobs were just “created” versus only 41,000 private-sector jobs. With a real state unemployment rate nearing 20 percent (counting those underemployed and those folks who just “gave up looking”), California needs 2 million jobs right now.
Even Orange County – damning by faint praise with “only” a 9.5 percent unemployment rate – has lost almost 175,000 jobs, with the transportation sector down more than 40 percent.
But good news for new jobs is here to share. Under the leadership of city of Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche, who also serves on Orange County Transportation Authority’s board of directors, a new policy has been unanimously adopted. OCTA now has established as its target that 100 percent of all professional services allowed will be contracted to the private sector!
We’re talking local projects, highway projects and freeway projects, all projects, which in the past, have been divided between Caltrans using its in-house staff and OCTA using private firms to perform the work.
That doesn’t mean Caltrans doesn’t get any work; rather the OCTA “target” is to favor the private sector, with each project looked at for its own unique needs and expertise, with appropriate staff recommendations to the board – the right workers for the right project.
What is shocking is that more local transportation authorities haven’t established this policy to help their own local economies. Clearly, they have the authority to do so under Proposition 35, passed by California voters in November 2000, where local and state agencies have the “choice and authority” to use private-sector services. Furthermore, that choice and authority exists regardless of funding sources, regardless of what agency programs the project and regardless of whether the plan is part of a state-owned or operated facility, like a freeway.
In addition, opponents of Proposition 35 – mostly government unions – have used every conceivable lawsuit and legal argument to set it aside in court, but in the end, every court at every level, including the California Supreme Court twice unanimously, has rejected all of those legal challenges and upheld the provisions of the measure.
Let’s call it “The Cavecche Principle” – get your own local transportation authority to pass this policy and help lead a statewide movement to put folks back to work, starting with each of our own local economies.
Our legislators can’t do it. The government unions won’t do it. So let’s just do it ourselves.
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