Monday, May 27, 2013

LC versus the good ol' USA, Part 2

Where is the labor coming from to build the new League City Public Safety Building
Artist's rendition as screengrabbed from this concept PDF hosted on the League City website
It's a 71,000-square foot facility costing somewhere between $24 million and $33 million, depending on which updated scope or source you access on the internet.  That represents a lot of labor.  My understanding from reading the news reports is that the contract for that facility was awarded using the CM At Risk method which is not the same as competitive low bid, but it does invoke cost guarantees and presumably competitive costing has to enter into the equation at some level.  It's also my understanding from reading news reports that a significant fraction of construction workers in Texas are illegal aliens.

Screengrabbed from this NPR piece which was published just last month. 
Half of them, eh?  OK, let's accept that figure at face value as an industry-wide average.  Now, what does that mean for the Public Safety Building?  Is that an average project, or is there a foolproof administrative mechanism in place to verify that each and every one of its contracted and sub-contracted and sub-sub-contracted laborers will actually be in the United States legally? 

It's not a rhetorical question, and the reason why I ask is as follows.  After I published "League City versus the United States of America", I got strongly-opinionated and terse feedback through a diversity of channels alleging that League City's pursuit of assembled day laborers had nothing to do with targeting a particular racial or ethnic group, and everything to do with mounting frustration over the federal government's general lack of immigration enforcement.  It was yet another case of a local government making a statement by effectively taking matters into their own hands - nothing more. 

OK, let's parse that interpretation.  If League City is authentically committed to the upholding of immigration laws to the extreme of being sued for its self-assigned involvement with same, then it follows that we should expect to see that noble principle manifesting across the board, right?   If the whole thing really was about opposing illegal immigration, League City should be doubly motivated to oppose it within their own house, especially within their own police station, given that it was the police who were tasked with this alleged de facto enforcement activity.  Otherwise, wouldn't the whole situation simply amount to the ultimate in hypocrisy? 

I'm not implying that the new police station is being built using illegal labor somewhere in the contracting hierarchy.  I'm asking the question because I genuinely don't know the answer, but I sure would like to.  What awesome potential this has for some fearless investigative journalism. 
Public Safety Building, construction in progress, view looking southeast from West Walker Street. 

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