Veteran Reporter Blasts Legislative Beat-Down of Honda Center

When government is only limited by the appetites and goodwill of those who run it, there are really no limits at all.

Veteran political reporter Dan Morain, now an opinion columnist for the Sacramento Bee, has published a column calling out the Legislature’s tyrannical targeting of the Honda Center, done so at the behest of the militant UNITE-HERE union. Some excerpts:

The California Legislature has decreed that it is within its rights to approve legislation that specifically targets one particular business.

No matter your political persuasion, this ought to be of concern.

The business in question is the Honda Center, the arena in Anaheim where the Ducks hockey team plays. Orange County billionaire Henry Samueli, a regular donor to Republican politicians and an occasional donor to Democrats, owns the National Hockey League franchise and operates the arena.

Earlier this year, Samueli decided to replace Aramark, a Philadelphia-based conglomerate that provided food service at the area, with an in-house concession operation. That’s his right, or ought to be.

The issue surfaced in May when Assemblyman Tom Daly, a Democrat and former Anaheim mayor, tried to block the Honda Center from hiring workers to replace Aramark employees and collecting state enterprise-zone tax credits for the new hires.

After Honda Center operators responded to Daly by saying they would forgo seeking the tax credits, Assembly Democrats responded by inserting two paragraphs into Senate Bill 71, a 100-page tome that includes scores of provisions implementing many aspects of the new state budget.

The language is something to behold.

California has something called the Displaced Janitor Opportunity Act, a remnant of Gray Davis’ tenure as governor. The janitor act protects unionized cleaning services by requiring that building owners who replace janitorial services retain the janitors themselves for at least 60 days.

SB 71 seeks to extend that act to apply to “every contractor, as defined, that provides food and beverage services at a publicly owned entertainment venue.” The language would expire Dec. 31, 2014, ensuring that the provision applies to Honda Center and no other California arena.

You can read Morain’s entire column here. If anything, I think he understates the gravity of this action.

Now, keep in mind that the Legislature, at the behest of a private organization (UNITE-HERE), is coercing another private organization into paying individuals who were never its employees.

If the state government can do that, there are truly no limits to its power and we are being ruled by raw political muscle. Talk about absolute power corrupting absolutely. While this legislation targets a single business, it is really an attack on all private enterprises by leaving them vulnerable to similar state-sponsored racketeering.

It’s also helpful to keep in mind that only half of Aramark’s Honda Center workers chose to apply for food service jobs with Anaheim Arena Management (AAM) – and now corrupt bargain between UNITE-HERE and the legislature is forcing AAM to offer jobs to specific individuals – who were never its employees to begin with.

I would encourage Anaheim Arena Management to paraphrase President Andrew Jackson and announce, “The Legislature has made its decision; now let it enforce it!” I don’t believe this act could survive a court challenge by the Honda Center, and by prevailing AAM would be create an obviously needed firewall around the over-reaching ambitions of our legislative masters.

No comments

  1. Sick of politics

    If this legislation does prevail, I hope the Honda Center fights it. This is a gross abuse of power by our Democrat controlled legislature.

  2. Colony Rabblerouser

    I’m waiting for Ryan Cantor to keep ignoring this issue and try to hijack the thread for his GardenWalk rants.

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