hiring.jpgSan Francisco supervisors today approved legislation that would mandate certain amounts of city residents be hired for city-funded construction projects.

The ordinance, introduced by Supervisor John Avalos and approved today by eight of the board’s 11 members, will require 20 percent local hiring the first year, increasing 5 percent each year until it reaches 50 percent in seven years. A recent city study found that local hiring levels are currently at about 20 percent.

Avalos told board members this afternoon that unemployment rates in some of San Francisco’s poorer neighborhoods are much higher than the city’s overall jobless rate, which is close to 10 percent.

“We need a new deal in San Francisco,” Avalos said, echoing the economic relief initiatives of the Great Depression.

With billions of dollars in capital projects planned in San Francisco in the coming years, Avalos said more local jobs would also benefit local businesses.

“It will be the strongest local hiring measure in the nation,” Avalos said.

Supervisor David Campos noted that the ability of local government to drive economic activity is limited, but he said there has been a long-standing effort to try to promote local hiring.

“This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to come out of this body,” Campos said.

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office has previously expressed support for local hiring in principle, but it has not said whether the mayor intends to sign the ordinance.

Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said following today’s hearing that the mayor supported stronger local hiring requirements but stressed a need for “getting the details right on legislation with this much potential cost impact” on the city.

Winnicker said the mayor would review the legislation as well as certain minor amendments added to it today before making a decision.

However, today’s vote constituted a veto-proof majority. Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier, Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd voted against the measure. A final vote before the board will take place next week.

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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