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Political Gumbo: Keep Pushing Local Hiring

Published on Monday, March 13, 2023 | 2:04 pm

More than a few phone calls asking about Gumbo, and a few emails celebrating its assumed demise last week.

Here’s my favorite.

“Horray, I heard Political Gumbo has finaly ben axed?”

Sorry pal, I took a week off on the column, “finally” has two Ls, and “Ben” is a rat Michael Jackson sang about.

Don’t just stay in school kids. Go to class, it counts.

I’m really digging the local hire efforts between the City and Bridge Housing.

The drive for local hiring on the project was pushed hard by the Honorable John J. Kennedy. The torch is now being carried by Justin Jones.

Per the deal, Bridge Housing signed off on the City’s Local Hiring Agreement for 15% locally hired workers, 20% local contractors, and 15% sourcing of local materials.

As of March 3, Bridge Housing’s Heritage Square South Project had only reached 8% local hiring for the project, but they are working to make it happen.

Finance Director Matthew Hawkesworth reports that the City staff has been meeting with BRIDGE Housing and its Project Team since November 2022 and has offered various strategies to increase the numbers.

In turn, BRIDGE Housing has reported that they have been more aggressive in requiring results from their subcontractors.

According to Hawkesworth, City staff recommended that the project must satisfy no less than 19.2% of the construction-related payroll with Pasadena residents for the remaining lifecycle of the project in order to reach the required level of 15%.

This is without a doubt the best action the City can take.

Respect to City staff for pushing this issue and respect to BRIDGE for responding the right way.

Here’s the deal, the City has learned a lesson from the Parsons Project where the developer fell short on local hiring goals.

If you want to build here, you have to hire here is the message and developers need to know that coming into Pasadena.

Not only should money go into the pockets of locals like Jamie Potter, but others should be trained so they can acquire gainful employment.

Don’t just give them a stick and point to the cement maker.

Train them, and train them well.

You want to make a boatload of money locally.

Open your wallet and hire local people to do the work.

Pasadena has the workforce.

That includes the Affinity Project.

In that one, Councilmembers Jones, Mayor Victor Gordo and Tyron Hampton called for a strong local hiring element on the project back in October.

And props to Ishmael Trone who has long pushed this issue and never gets the credit for it.

The developer said that binding requirements would make things complicated. Although he reiterated several times the company behind the project is dedicated to local hiring.

I’ll say it again, we need a local hiring task force committee or commission where developers land after the design commission to iron out job numbers.

We can build all of the affordable housing we want, but it won’t matter if locals don’t have affordable housing money.

Jobs make the world go round.

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