Guest Commentary

By Tom Lemmon

Building businesses while building better schools

Growing up in San Diego, I always look forward to going to Saska’s in Mission Beach for their baseball cut steak. Both my wife and I have been going there since we were kids and still enjoy going there to this day. Also, back in the day when I had a couple of extra bucks to upgrade my Baja Bug, I always went to the Off Road Warehouse. It’s been a long time since they were located on Othello Avenue, and the move to Balboa Avenue only made the access easier.

Proposition S labor agreement good for taxpayers and local jobs

Today, the San Diego Unified School District board meets to discuss the extension of its project stabilization agreement. Looking at the positive outcomes so far, I’m hopeful that the San Diego Unified School District Board will renew this important policy that brings such important economic benefits to local taxpayers.

Construction careers for San Diego’s work force

For three out of four unemployed looking for work, there simply are no jobs. The unemployment rate for veterans is much higher than the already unacceptable national average. Some of those who are currently unemployed find it harder than the average person to find work, like our young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the American spirit, if you work hard enough, you can do or be anything. However, veterans, women and minorities often do not get the opportunity. More often than not, for them, there are no second chances, or sometimes even first chances.

Can California really afford to give up a $13 billion investment in jobs?

After reviewing the American Jobs Act that President Barack Obama has introduced, I believe that this is exactly what California needs to get our residents back to work. While I am certainly no economist, I do know that right now we need capital investment in California to jump-start California’s economy and move through these tough economic times. This bill would do that by bringing $13 billion into California to create new jobs and to save education and public safety jobs throughout the state. With state unemployment at 12 percent as of July 2011 (the highest since March), I am amazed that critics of the administration want us to reject financial assistance we so desperately need.

Privately funded job training teaches apprentices to work better, safer, faster

I had been out of high school a year or so when a former classmate suggested that I might want to sign up for a union apprenticeship with him. To be frank, I had no idea what that meant other than a road trip to downtown Los Angeles. At the time, my family and I lived in a large, affordable housing complex in National City, and the idea of a stable middle-class career was a distant possibility.

Ballot measure banning PLAs destroys spirit of fairness

In these columns, I have been writing about the finest values that have built San Diego: the spirit of partnership that brought water to an arid region, the spirit of quality workmanship that constructed the first plane to fly across the Atlantic, the spirit of innovation that generates power from natural resources, and the spirit of fairness that allows the best to compete on value to taxpayers.

The truth about project labor agreements

Much has been written lately about project labor agreements, but it is important to take a step back from the rhetoric and get down to the basics. What are PLAs? Who uses PLAs? What local projects have used PLAs? What value do PLAs create for taxpayers and the local San Diego community?

Building bridges and reinforcing San Diego

Next time you gasp at the dizzying view from the upper floors of San Diego's tallest buildings, remember this: An ironworker saw it first — without the benefit of windows, walls or floors.

The IBEW has San Diego wired

We've all heard the compliment: Someone who does something effectively "has it wired."

Plumbers one of San Diego's oldest building trades

San Diego's history is the struggle for water. A century ago, one man became known as "Mr. Water" for his key role in bringing water to the arid region. History books credit Fred Heilbron for leading the charge for sustainable sources of water, through projects such as the El Capitan dam in Mission Gorge and the Colorado River Aqueduct, which made development possible in San Diego. What is less known about Fred Heilbron is that he was a plumber tradesman who founded the Plumbers Local 230.

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Tom Lemmon

Lemmon is the business manager of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO overseeing 23 trades affiliates and 14 joint labor-management apprenticeships....

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