If there was any reason to veto a requirement that the judicial branch hold meetings open to the public, it should have been because such meetings were governed by an ineffectual rule of court and not codified in statutes. Without disclosing sound reasoning, governor Jerry Brown line-item-vetoed the requirement that the judicial branch open up to public scrutiny so that we all could get a glimpse of their behind the scenes deliberations that cause them to meet on days like today, feign governance and speak with one voice with little to no meaningful debate on the issues.
As much as we wish this institution would open up to public scrutiny, the pieces of the why are beginning to coalesce together to tell a disturbing story. Recently, our friends at the Dayton Public Policy Institute contacted us and explained that they have been tracking the judicial council’s use of project labor agreements because much like our progressive-centrist organization, project labor agreements make no sense to conservatives either. We learned that this is the second such PLA that has been put in place by the AOC. The first one was not disclosed because the AOC felt that since they’re just a renter, they felt that the project labor agreement on the Long Beach courthouse was not a public record because the AOC is not constructing the long beach court. A private developer is constructing the long beach court. And it was a private developer that entered into the PLA with contractual provisions in the now posted Long Beach Contract that permits the developers to pass through the costs to the government.
It also appears that the person pushing these PLA’s is none other than the AOC’s former lobbyist Curtis Child and that he is doing so to discourage the BCTC (Building & Construction Trades Council) from being up in arms about other courthouses that will now never be built. While it does not appear to be in anyones’ best interests to build one and mothball 11, it was the PLA on Long Beach that encouraged politicians to look the other way for the BCTC remains among the top donors to political campaigns in the state. As we’ve stated before, sometimes PLA’s seem to make sense because they eliminate labor unrest. It does not help the workers on these projects but it does help the trade unions and those contractors who are union contractors while virtually eliminating non-union contractors from even bidding on these projects.
Jerry Brown dealt another blow to open government. Unfortunately, he will not have the opportunity to reverse his decision much like he did concerning the public records act. It’s unfortunate that there exists a virtual assault upon public information and good government here in California and that the judicial council and the AOC lead the way as yet another “sovereign” in state government and remains out of touch with its constituents, labor, judges and the public at large. It is powder kegs like this that currently threaten the viability and effectiveness of governments worldwide and it appears that California may not be too far behind.
- Project Labor Agreements give unions unfair advantage (napavalleyregister.com)
- Another AOC back room deal underscores yet another boondoggle (judicialcouncilwatcher.com)
- Project Labor Agreements expand in Illinois (illinoisreview.typepad.com)
- Governor_Wont_Make_Judicial_Council_Open_Meetings (Law.com)