[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
March 19
1875, 1:35PM - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez hanged in San Jose [story]

steveleeMy dad was a floor layer before he became a general contractor. Millions of tourists have walked and continue to walk on my dad’s work.

Many visitors who visit Yosemite make sure to stop off at the Ahwahnee Hotel. The floors are my dad’s work. That was long before he became a general contractor.

Once he became a general contractor, he bid on projects across the continental United States. Most of the time he got bonuses for jobs that were well done and completed before due dates – but there were a few times he had to eat unforeseen problems. He never, ever went back and asked for more money. That would be a violation of his morals and a violation of the bidding process.

The builders of the overpass at Highway 126 and Commerce Center Drive have asked for another $600,000 to finish the project (here’s the story). When the lowest qualifying bid is submitted to the county, the county accepts the bid – and that should be it. The project has to be completed within those parameters. If unseen complications arise, then it should be on the contractor. Unseen complications are always part of the bidding process.

If contractors know there will always be a bailout, then why not bid low on all projects?

All contractors should have to play by the same rules. If this project were being done for a private company, there would be no asking for more money; the contractor would have to suck up the expense and deal with any unforeseen problems.

But this is not for a private company. It is for the county, and the taxpayers will get the bill.

The taxpayers will foot the bill for a project that came directly out of the “One Valley, One Vision” plan. One Valley One Vision is the same plan that oversaw and is still overseeing the collapse of a protected ridge at the Commerce Center. The same plan that is allowing Newhall Land and Farm to destroy natural habitat in a riverbed so they can build 21,000 homes in a flood plain. This is the same plan that allows a massive landfill to ignore its contracts with a neighboring town in order to become one of the largest in North America. The same plan that allowed large building projects all over the valley that were poorly designed so that water would not be allowed, or would be severely limited to seep back into the ground. One Valley One Vision is the same plan that has eroded the natural beauty of this valley so that money can blindly expand without sustainable measures in place.

Maybe before we blindly pay for blunders and unforeseen disasters, we should revisit the One Valley One Vision plan. Make it sustainable growth without destroying the beauty that makes us the Santa Clarita Valley.

Imagine the disaster and the death toll if Interstate 5 had a massive wreck traveling southbound, before the 126. Combine that with a huge fire starting near Castaic, and the residents would have no way out. They will be sitting there in their cars in gridlock, begging for help as they watch the encroaching fire.

Yet they, too, keep building, and at the Castaic Area Town Council meetings, they have brought up the dangers of having one way out.

What happens when the 21,000 homes are established in the Santa Clara River bed, and they have the storm of the century? People will die.

The taxpayers will have footed the bill for all of these blunders, and those who made the profits will sit and watch, free from cares. The taxpayers will not only have paid for the deaths of others, but the destruction of our natural beauty, as well.

Something is wrong with such a system.


Steve Lee is a Val Verde resident.


Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. Butch Hampton says:

    Bidding is based on the discrete requirements and representations in the Bid Documents, General Conditions, Specification and Drawings for the work and are commonly known in the industry as Contract Documents. The Drawings and Specifications are prepared by Design Professionals that are regulated and licensed by the State and usually hired by the project owner. In simple terms, if there are errors or omissions in these documents which are prepared by others that result in additional cost or time to the Contractor, then the Contractor is entitled to cost and/or time adjustment. Many of the rights and remedies of the respective parties are embraced in the Public Contract Code and confirmed legal cases. However, there can be other concurrent or contributing factors that make discrete determination difficult and often require some other form of resolution.

    Contrary to Mr. Lees thoughts, unforeseen conditions are seldom the contractors’ responsibility.

    I have no stake in this matter but am merely sharing nearly 50 years of practical experience in the Construction Industry.

  2. B Sharp says:

    Butch Hampton is correct. All participating General Contractors bid on the exact same documents and unforeseen conditions are just that – something no entity could have anticipated. However, on many occasions the General Contractors, or requesting party, absorb the costs they are requesting as a good faith act in building relationships. The reason you don’t hear about requests for additional time/money on private projects is precisely because it has nothing to do with tax dollars.

  3. Jim Shorts says:

    Steve, your dad may have been a GC but you obviously know nothing about general contracting and the bidding process. Morals have nothing to do with bidding. If this were the case then let me pose this question to you: if you are a contractor hired by the county to, let’s say, dig a trench for a utility line. During this process you come across major buried obsticals e.g., other utilities lines that no one even knew existed, ancient Indian burial remains, etc. worst case scenario it creates major cost overruns in terms of labor, equipment and materials. You’re telling me that you would let your company go bankrupt and many employees losing their jobs because you would do the ‘moral’ thing? Your argument isn’t even weak it’s downright silly. Have you ever heard of contingencies? Those aren’t for ice cream and cake at the end of the job, they are for just these types of unknowns. Put another way, let’s say you can’t finish the job because you took the moral route and went bankrupt. What do you think will happen? The county would hire another contractor and pay them to finish the job. So they are going to pay one way or the other. Make sense?

  4. jimvs says:

    I concur with Mr. Hampton’s statement regarding construction contracts – as far as it goes. One issue is contract language, the domain of lawyers who usually specialize in contract law. Not all of that contract language is standardized.

    Much of the value in a low-bid contract lies in the details of the Contract Documents noted above.

    Not many large projects (especially public projects) go from contract award to completion and acceptance without significant change, in my experience. Ignoring “acts of God”, a lot of that has to do with which side has the best hired guns aka estimators, engineers, PMs, etc.

    I believe there are many large and successful construction companies producing quality projects for owners as agreed upon. There are some that seem to succeed based on other skills.

    A friend of mine with construction and CM experience across the US once told me, “Why do you think they call them Contractors? If they made their money by just building things, they’d call them Builders.”

Leave a Comment

Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Friday, Mar 16, 2018
Thursday, Mar 8, 2018
A wildfire stripped the banks of Placerita Creek of its thick, lush blanket of green – exposing thousands of shoots of the evil tamarisk.
Friday, Mar 2, 2018
In her March 2018 message, Mayor Laurene Weste outlines why Santa Clarita is a tech-savvy "smart city" and previews coming upgrades in street lighting, recycling stations and the local fiber-optic network.
Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
There was broad public support for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which struck a careful balance between lands available for large-scale renewable energy development and the environment. Now the federal government is rethinking it - putting the important and much-needed protections at risk.
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018
You can prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early. Medicare covers a glaucoma test once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma
Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter SCV Group Chair Sandra Cattell urges Santa Clarita Valley residents to contact their congressional representatives to push legislation to kill the Cemex mining project in Soledad Canyon.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Santa Clarita Valley students, teachers, families and supporters will gather for a "March for Our Lives" rally at Marketplace Park in Valencia on Saturday, March 24, starting at 10 a.m., to demand an end to gun violence in schools.
March 24: SCV ‘March for Our Lives’ Rally to ‘Demand Safe Schools’
1875, 1:35PM - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez hanged in San Jose [story]
1919 - Swall Hotel in Newhall burns down (corner Main & Market) [story]
1927 - Newhall telephone exchange, est. 1900, now serves 100 phones [story]
The 2018 SXSW Film Festival, which runs from March 9 to 18, announced its Jury and Special Award winners on Tuesday with CalArts alumni taking home some of the top prizes.
CalArtians Earn Juried Prizes at 2018 SXSW Film Festival
Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club "Youth of the Year" Lluvia Partida was among the young people vying for regional "Youth of the Year" honors at the annual County Alliance award ceremony Tuesday night.
County Boys and Girls Club Alliance Names 2 ‘Youth of the Year’ Honorees
Newhall School District administrators will host an information/enrollment meeting for families that may be affected by the possible closure of the Einstein Academy at Stevenson Ranch Elementary School on Wednesday, March 21, starting at 6:30 p.m.
March 21: Newhall School District Info Session for Einstein Families
The SCV Chamber of Commerce-sponsored NextSCV group for young business professionals ages 21-40 will tour Scorpion's new Valencia headquarters on Wednesday, March 28 starting at 5:30 p.m.
March 28: Young SCV Professionals to Tour Scorpion HQ
The Bureau of Land Management has made available for public review a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and draft Land Use Plan Amendment that aim to manage dispersed recreation visitation over an extensive area in the Mojave Desert.
BLM Issues EIR for Mohave Desert Use, Seeks Public Comment
The TMU Mustangs men's basketball team lost to Peru State College 106-104 in overtime at the NAIA Division 1 National Championship tournament opener in Kansas City Wednesday night.
TMU Men’s Hoops Team Upset by Peru State in First Round
The Master's University doubled up the University of Antelope Valley 8-4 on a cloudy and cold Wednesday afternoon in Placerita Canyon.
Mustangs Stop UAV Pioneers in Their Tracks 8-4
After standing toe-to-toe with the perennial powerhouse Freed Hardeman Lions, the Mustangs didn't have enough left in the fourth quarter and fell 71-51 in the NAIA Women's National Tournament Wednesday.
Mustangs Fall to Freed Hardeman at Nationals
College of the Canyons starter Joy Veloz struck out nine batters and the Cougars pounded out 10 hits to defeat conference rival Antelope Valley College 7-2 at Whitten Field on Thursday.
COC Softball Team Claims 7-2 Victory Over Antelope Valley
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has implemented a one-year pilot program to assist Metro-certified Small Business Enterprise, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise firms secure sufficient bonding to work on Metro construction projects.
LA Metro Launches Program for Small, Disadvantaged, Veteran-Owned Firms
The Golden Oak Adult School will host its second annual Open House at the school on Tuesday, March 27 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
March 27: Golden Oak Adult School 2nd Annual Open House
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a $2.7 million payment to the family of a man fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy in Santa Clarita on January 14, 2016.
Supes Settle Suit for Wrongful Death in Santa Clarita for $2.7 Million
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, March 20, starting at 9:30 a.m.
March 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Local developer Pardee Homes will host a grand opening paw-ty for the new Dogwood Park dog park in the Aliento neighborhood of Canyon Country on Saturday, March 17 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
March 17: Dogwood Park Grand Opening Paw-ty in Canyon Country
The nonprofit Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation will host a "Wild for Animals" benefit at Centre Pointe Plaza in Santa Clarita to raise funds for the Castaic Animal Care Center on Saturday, May 19 starting at 6 p.m.
May 19: ‘Wild for Animals’ Benefit for Castaic Shelter in Centre Pointe
2003 - Life-size sculpture honoring heroes of St. Francis Dam disaster unveiled in Santa Paula [video]
Campus Compact — a Boston based non-profit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education — has announced the 268 students who will make up the 2018 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. Among them is California State University, Northridge graduate student Lilia Gonzalez.
CSUN Grad Student Among 268 Awarded with Newman Civic Fellows
Academy Award-nominee, Angela Bassett will join Kathleen Battle as a guest narrator in Battle’s program Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey accompanied by pianist Joel Martin and the LA-based choir, The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) on Thursday, March 29 at 8:00pm.
March 29: Angela Bassett Joins Kathleen Battle at The Soraya
The next Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting will be held Wednesday, March 21, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., at the Mint Canyon Moose Lodge Family Center Banquet Room, located at 18000 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country, 91351.
March 21: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
There are a few seats left in ARTree's Junior Arts Sampler (ages 5 - 7) and our Arts Sampler (ages 8 - 12) classes which start next week.
Seats Still Available for ARTree’s Arts Sampler
Confronted with a wide range of complex challenges to enrolling residents in need of food assistance in the CalFresh Program, the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has launched a comprehensive community outreach and education campaign to address the increasing threat of food insecurity in the most populated and culturally-diverse county in the nation.
CalFresh Launches Community Outreach to Reduce Food Insecurity
After clawing its way back to within a pair a runs, College of the Canyons couldn't get any closer, instead dropping a 17-9 decision to conference rival Citrus College at Cougar Field on Wednesday.
Canyons’ 9 Runs Not Enough to Hold Off Citrus College
Thanks to Senate Bill 85 the California State University (CSU) announced the distribution of more than $2 million across its 23 universities to support student success and the CSU Basic Needs Initiative.
CSU to Distribute $2.5 Million in Effort to Fight Student Hunger
The Santa Clarita City Council recognized the Salvation Army’s Santa Clarita Valley Corps at the Council’s meeting Tuesday night.
Salvation Army’s SCV Corps Lauded by City Council
The Santa Clarita City Council invites the public to attend a demolition event at the site of the future Canyon Country Community Center, located on the corner of Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway, on Tuesday, March 20 at 10:30 a.m.
March 20: Demolition Event at New Canyon Country Community Center Site
Washington, DC - On Thursday, Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) introduced H.R. 5307, The School Training, Equipment, and Protection (STEP) Act.
Knight Legislation to Implement Specific School Safety Measures
Recognizing California State University, Northridge’s strong commitment to regional economic development, CSUN has been named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
CSUN Recognized as Innovation, Economic Prosperity University
Max Maitland hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer and the bullpen combined for over five innings of one-run ball as The Master's University doubled up the University of Antelope Valley 8-4 on a cloudy and cold Wednesday afternoon in Placerita Canyon.
Mustangs Improve to 17-10 with Win Against Antelope Valley
MORENO VALLEY, Calif. - Effective immediately, all Bureau of Land Management-managed public lands within the California Desert District shall be under Stage I restrictions and year-round fire restrictions. Recreational shooting restrictions applicable to the California Desert District, issued on May 26, 2017, have been terminated as of March 13, 2018.
Bureau of Land Management Now Under Year-Round Fire Restrictions
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Before Wednesday night's NAIA Division 1 National Championship tournament opener, Master's assistant coach Thomas Lowery and senior Lawrence Russell came to an understanding.
No. 1 Mustangs Knocked Out in First Round of NAIA Tourney
AlphaKidz International S.M.A.R.T. Academy is conducting a shoe drive fundraiser on March 19 to raise funds for their new school building.
March 19: AlphaKidz International Shoe Drive Fundraiser