Local Contractors Want to Work the 101 Slide and County Roads
UPDATE: Ernie has a post about this here.
A small storm is brewing in the Southern Humboldt area as local contractors, heavy equipment operators, and construction supply workers complain that the company awarded the emergency contract on the Highway 101 slide is benefiting Redding workers at the expense of those living nearby. The crisis site SoHum Awareness and KMUD radio station have heard many complaints.
One of those commenting on the new crisis site, SoHum Awareness, stated, “We were sitting here last night listing all the locals with dumps and equipment that could use the work!” An angry thread of conversation revolved around the concern that workers and heavy equipment were being imported from Shea’s Construction’s hometown of Redding while local trucks who were near the slide sit idle. Below are some excerpts with only the initials of the people posting comments.
PA: We were sitting here last night listing all the locals with dumps and equipment that could use the work!
SHA:This is really a shame.
ES:Yeah most of the dumps and equipment are sitting right in Garberville or right outside of town
CH: keep in mind, you are dealing with the state, our local trucks probably dont meet their “standards”.. yes a shame.
PA:This Redding company has the power to hire at least local dumps to haul the dirt and there is a lot of dirt and their crew would still be working!
JL:Unfortunately the bonds needed to do this type of work far exceeds a standard class A bond. I’m a local bonded and insured contractor with 2 mil in liability and it doesn’t even come close. What’s most important is that the road is cleared safely and efficiently so that the locals can get back to work and life.
VS: not surprised when u mix union and croonism this is what u get tax payer picking up the bill
ES: And they are already doing the job on the avenue before Miranda which they won the bid for
Jon Lefebre, owner of Select Builders, would love to hired as much as anyone else. But he isn’t sure whether many of the locals have the appropriate licensing and bonds required. He says he pays about $10,000 per year for the required papers for a Class B General license. Lefebre says, “I pay a lot of money to protect [my clients] if something happens.” He explains that licensed contractors not only have to pass tests about their knowledge of contracting and building situations but they have to carry liability insurance to protect anyone injured because of his work. They also have to be bonded in case they make mistakes so their clients are protected. “Just because you have heavy equipment doesn’t mean you are certified to do the work. Since I’ve been here, people have cut roads and put in benches [without knowing what they are doing]. These can destabilize the land and cause a lot of damage… There is a methodology to how that has to be done.” He pointed out the California State Licensing Boardhas a site that has a great deal of helpful information on what is needed.
Today some locals are apparently getting hired. (A call to Caltrans Information Officer wasn’t returned in the half hour time I called before posting. I will update with information when I get it.) Here is more of the thread.
JD: some local trucks are getting to work on the slide today…..finally!!
CW:Great news….hopefully we will continue to see some of the locals picking up work! Yeah. Yes, much more cost effective to bring in trucks from right here, and not being paying 3 hours of down time for the drive.
ES: …it’s probably at least 5 hours of downtime in a dump truck going over 299
JL:Great to hear the local trucks will be helping, move move move the dirt!!!!
Me (Kym Kemp): Does anyone know who has been hired? Which locals?
CW: I had been told most of the trucks hired were out of Eureka. Shea isnt doing all the hauling.
JD: I know my two sons are on it now. So there must be others from here. I will let you know as I find out.
Diana Totten, well respected for her search and rescue efforts, says that she has been asked to organize a community meeting to better prepare local contractors to participate on local emergency projects. “I haven’t really pursued it because I’m not sure I can make it happen. Every day we read about the government trying to stimulate jobs. Mother Nature has come in with her own stimulus. It would be great if our local economy could benefit from these recent storms…. There is a great group of people that I’ve worked with over the years. They get in and work hard. They have pride in what they do. We’re an independent people. We like taking care of our families and our places.”
Photo by Kim Sallaway (If you haven’t seen his bird photos, you should)