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Business Groups, Builders And Labor Battle Over Propositions

Supporters of the proposition to reform the City of San Diego’s pension system have outspent the opposition committees more than six to one according to the most recent financial statements filed with the City Clerk.

Organized labor interests who are working to defeat Proposition A, which would prohibit the city from entering project labor agreements when building city-funded projects, outraised supporters this filing period nearly three-to-one.

The committees raising money in support of Proposition B, which would switch newly hired city employees over to a 401(k)-style pension, have spent at least $1.9 million since 2011 getting it on the ballot and selling it to voters. The committee Comprehensive Pension Reform (CPR) for San Diego spent more than $900,000 circulating petitions to get enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, and more than $570,000 for television and radio ads, campaign literature and web services.

The Lincoln Club of San Diego, a pro-business group, has poured at least $332,500 in cash into Proposition B, and the San Diego Lodging Industry has donated at least $77,500 to CPR. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Bridgepoint Education donated $45,000 and $40,000 to CPR, respectively.

Meanwhile, Just Say No San Diego and San Diego Can Do Better have only raised about $340,201 working against Propositions B and A. The committees are backed almost entirely by labor and firefighter unions.

All of the money for the one of the committees opposing Proposition A has come from the same donor.

Since March 18, the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust donated $675,000 to Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust is a tax-exempt Sacramento-based organization, which says its mission is, among other things, to “improve public awareness of the benefit of using organized labor contractors and workers.” The group is not required by the IRS to list specific sources of funding, but in general, it reported on its 2010 tax returns collecting $678,000 in membership dues. It reported more than $3 million in assets.

Fair and Open Competition – Yes on A, which supports the passage of Prop A, raised $312,050 from March 18 to May 19, with most of that money coming from local building and contracting political action committees. Fundraising is accelerating. The group raised $121,000 since last Sunday, May 20, with $100,000 of that coming from the Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego Inc.

Since January of this year, Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs, the organized labor support for Prop. A has raised a total of nearly $781,000. The business interests to defeat the proposition have raised about $632,000 since early 2011.

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