California Officials Want To Punish Contractors And Companies Helping to Build Trump’s Wall
[guest post by Dana]
With the introduction of the amended SB 30, a California senator, with political aspirations, and representing a predominantly Hispanic community, came out swinging against any companies or contractors who work on building President Trump’s “big beautiful wall”. In lockstep, Democratic state legislators gave a thumbs up this week to meting out punishment:
California legislators took the first step Tuesday to ban state government contracts for any company that helps build President Trump’s promised wall along the Mexico border, with the author of the plan urging colleagues “to be on the right side of history.”
The bill by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) would prohibit any company from receiving a new or extended contract with the state of California if it participates in a future effort to build a new wall along the 2,000-mile international border.
Senate Bill 30 won committee passage on a party-line vote, with Republicans expressing concern about the need for additional border security. Representatives of the construction industry also voiced opposition, arguing Lara’s bill forces contractors into the middle of a divisive political fight.
“This is precedent-setting,” said Todd Bloomstine, a lobbyist representing the Southern California Contractors Assn. “What next unpopular project would be [on the] blacklist?”
There is every possibility that the elected officials who voted “yes” on this, may have done so with something more than just a principled belief in the cause:
[E]eight Democrats on the Senate Governmental Organization Committee voted for it. Sens. Bill Dodd, who represents Davis, and Cathleen Galgiani, who represents Stockton and Modesto, were among the aye votes. Only one Democrat, Steve Glazer of Orinda, had the good sense to not vote. Republicans opposed it or didn’t vote.
Perhaps the legislators voted for it out of principle. Or maybe they were being craven. Lawmakers know that as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Lara has life or death power over every piece of legislation and they cross him at risk of losing bills important to them.
These legislators demonstrated that California’s Democrats care more about bullying and intimidating workers, rather than supporting the gainful employment of untold men and women and lending to the success of privately owned businesses and concerns:
Lara’s Senate Bill 30, similar to measures in the New York Legislature and other jurisdictions, takes aim at the general contractor that might win the main federal contract. But it would extend far beyond that company and sweep up any “individual, partnership, joint venture, or association or any other organization or any combination thereof” that is “providing or has provided goods or services to the federal government for the construction of a federally funded wall, fence, or other barrier.”
Heavy equipment would be used to build a wall. So the boycott would extend to makers of bulldozers and cranes, which also are used on state projects. Since bulldozers and cranes need fuel, the boycott presumably would include oil companies, which fuel state vehicles.
And although Lara is obviously a union-friendly Democrat (What other kind is there?), the bill’s language suggests that even union trades could face the brunt of punishment.
Last month, Lara defended SB 30 by, ironically, bringing up concerns about the economy:
“It’s clear that President Trump intends to stick taxpayers with the cost of a border wall that will hurt California’s economy, environment and people,” Lara said in a statement. “I introduced Senate Bill 30 to give our state a louder voice to say that building a wasteful and unnecessary wall would be a huge mistake.”
He further expressed concern about losing valuable jobs:
[H]e argued that movement between the nations benefits California because of the money Mexican shoppers spend in the state, and Mexico is California’s largest export market.
“Another wall will delay cargo delivery, slow down business and take away valuable jobs,” he wrote.
This past Tuesday, however, while testifying before the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, Lara got to the real nub of the matter for him:
The wall is another attempt to separate and divide us. It sends a message that we are better off in a homogenous society.
An editorial in the not Trump-friendly Sacramento Bee, smartly observed:
Lara has every right to use his political skills to work to unseat Trump and members of Congress who support the wall. Like any consumer, he can choose not to patronize Trump resorts and shun Trump family products. He could sue to block construction, as could the state itself.
But with his SB 30, Lara would use the state as a partisan battering ram against private companies, transforming the state into a bully. That’s familiar, a little like the occupant of the Oval Office who threatens companies and citizens who dare to cross him.
Lara sadly reminds us, that whether one is for or against the wall, state government penalizing individuals and companies for securing contracts which will put people to work and put bread on the table is the Democratic way.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)