BRENTWOOD Councilman Chris Becnel's aye vote on a union-friendly pact could cost him his seat as an alternate on the Contra Costa Republican Central Committee.
The councilman ran afoul of the GOP when he cast the deciding vote to adopt what is called a project labor agreement, or PLA, for the city's civic center construction project.
Becnel called the PLA the best tool to give local construction workers a shot at the new jobs. A PLA requires the contractor to hire the workers through the local union halls.
"I make my decisions based on what's best for the city of Brentwood," Becnel said.
Unions argue that PLAs produce higher quality projects with fewer defects, delays and lawsuits. Nonunion contractors call them an unfair restriction that drives up project costs.
We'll save the rancorous PLA debate for another day.
But Chuck Handwork, the Contra Costa GOP member for whom Becnel serves as an alternate, is displeased with his fellow Republican's vote. He wants the party to remove Becnel.
"The California Republican Party (has) always opposed PLAs and supported free enterprise ... " Handwork wrote in an e-mail to Contra Costa GOP Chairman Greg Poulos.
DID I SIGN THAT? A hired signature-gatherer for the anti-Neiman Marcus team forged the signatures of at least two Walnut Creek residents.
It is apparently a common tactic in a line of work where people are paid
As you may recall, mall operator Taubman Co. is pursuing in Walnut Creek two referendums and a growth initiative. The measures target the city's approval of a Neiman Marcus store at Broadway Plaza.
To Taubman's credit, the consultants caught the forgeries before they were submitted. Spokesman Al Abrams says they check all petitions for "irregularities."
Interestingly, the forged names belong to supporters of the Neiman Marcus project — Save Mount Diablo Executive Director Ron Brown and his wife, Sharon.
"I'm glad they caught it," Ron Brown says, "but it does make you wonder."
Indeed, it does.
GOT POLITICS? Read the Political Blotter at www.ibabuzz.com/politics:
So much for a summer break from politics.
AND FINALLY: More than a year after an ugly Pinole recall election stripped two council members of their seats, bitterness continues to surface in the pages of an anonymous Web site.
The Cowpoke Roy Rogers Blog directs most of its obscenity-laced vitriol at Councilwoman Mary Horton but the author whacks others, too. The blogger's identity is the subject of considerable speculation at City Hall and among folks involved in Pinole politics.
But no matter who is behind it, recall supporter Jeff Rubin — belittled on the site as the "Rubinator" — is exactly right when he says the content tells us more about the character of the blogger than its intended targets.
And what might Roy Rogers say about the use of his name?
Here's one: "Today they're making pictures that I wouldn't want Trigger to see."