Friday, September 11, 2015

Creating jobs in Berkeley---for elite unions---building luxury apartments

From an editorial in the Berkeley Daily Planet:

...the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board will spend a scant hour considering whether or not an 18-story project which promises to create 250 to 300 union construction jobs for the two and a half year period the project is under construction would be a significant community benefit or a grievous error which would add significantly to global warming. 

The last Berkeley ZAB meeting on this project was attended by a delegation of five or six burly men whose tee-shirts proclaimed that they were members of the Ironworkers’ Union. Their spokesperson, a statuesque African-American woman with a resonant voice and a lot of personal magnetism, spoke of her union’s fervent support for the project in question, and it’s not hard to understand why they’d want it to be approved. 

But is it really a good idea to build an environmentally costly building which will consume copious amounts of energy-intensive concrete, steel and water in order to provide jobs for a relatively small number of construction workers for a relatively short period? 

Is building an unneeded luxury apartment complex a significant benefit for the community as a whole, or just for a couple of hundred well-paid union workers for a couple of years? Especially in a city where our civic built environment (e.g. the Maudelle Shirek Old City Hall, Willard Pool, the Berkeley Rose Garden etc. etc.) is drastically in need of work? 

I’m aware that ironworkers have not been trained to restore existing structures, which is why they want to promote construction of new steel-frame projects. They could be retrained, however, to do more sustainable and more needed construction jobs in areas like restoration and solar retrofitting...

Rob's comment:
All unions care about is jobs for their members. Whether a project is good for the community or environmentally destructive is not their concern.

David Chiu wouldn't get labor's endorsement if he hadn't supported both the Central Subway and the high-speed rail projects.

The Democratic Party, backed by the labor unions, supports the dumb high-speed rail project, because even dumb projects create jobs for the unions.

That's why Supervisor Wiener is proposing more subways for San Francisco. He knows there's no money for that, but it will get him union support for his campaign for the state senate. Wiener of course supports the high-speed rail project and the Central Subway.

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