San Francisco will enact drastic hire-locally rules

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — This city is about to enact one of the nation’s toughest ordinances requiring its officials to hire locally, over the objections of neighboring counties that say it will hurt their residents.

Under the ordinance, city contractors and subcontractors working on city-financed construction projects worth $400,000 or more would be required to hire at least 20 percent of their workers from San Francisco. The requirement will increase by 5 percent each year until it reaches 50 percent in 2017.

Contractors will be forced to pay penalties if they do not meet the requirement.

The legislation, however, exempts two major city-financed projects in San Mateo County: improvements to San Francisco International Airport and San Francisco’s water system.

Mayor Gavin Newsom declined to veto the measure Thursday, meaning it will take effect next year. Even if he had vetoed it, the Board of Supervisors had enough support to override it — they passed the measure 8 to 3 earlier this month.

In a letter to the supervisors, Mr. Newsom said the city should work with its neighbors.

More than 20 percent of construction workers and trade laborers in San Mateo County are unemployed.

Some San Mateo County leaders said they appreciated Mr. Newsom’s effort to highlight their concerns but said a veto would have sent a stronger message.

“The economic recession has no boundaries,” Assemblyman Rich Gordon, who represents much of the Peninsula and South Bay, told The San Francisco Chronicle.