As David Kalb, our Wednesday question-and-answer columnist for the Daily Pacific Builder (the Northern California DODGE bid newspaper), delves into contractor licensing issues, we always find satisfaction knowing there is someone in Sacramento who knows what to do no matter what the problem.

But recently, Kalb, who is president of Capitol Services Inc., found a subject that is definitely sensitive to all California contractor firms and has an overall solution that is going to be extremely difficult to get to.

Here’s part of his recent column:

“Who is and who isn’t a ‘real’ American citizen is one of the top issues of our day. As a nation largely founded by immigrants how we share our freedom with people who dream of coming here, legally or not, is not easy to answer. We often need people for many jobs our citizens can’t fill or don’t want. Contractors often find themselves confronting these issues and questions of citizenship as they hire laborers. Is a non-citizen, here illegally, able to become a licensed California contractor?

It has come to my attention that the Contractors State Licensing Board approved a man who is not even in the states legally. This is a real problem for me because I am a legal citizen with my contractor’s license who is fighting the economic recession. I can’t understand how this can happen. He was deported for the third time and now is back in the states, and still his California license is valid. I would like input on how this could possibly happen?

According to the CSLB, ‘Licensing Boards do not have citizenship or residency requirements for applicants, but do require every applicant to supply his/her Social Security number for tax and family support purposes. In addition, the Contractors Board requires all applicants to undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks.’

“I was advised that you could submit a complaint to CSLB’s Enforcement Division for investigation to determine if the licensee has violated any laws under the board’s purview.

“I also ran your question by an industry leader who pointed out that there is a fundamental question of fairness to those in our industry who try to practice their trade and follow the rules of the game. The other side of the issue is whether driving undocumented immigrants, including undocumented business owners, back underground is the right thing to do.

“He also rightly and astutely points out that ‘it would be a far better world if we had a rational immigration policy in this country.’” 

… I don’t know if you noticed, but on the website this past week, six out of seven of the news stories under “More Headlines” were about projects breaking ground. The top left photo box also has a story about the groundbreaking of the big $810-million Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension project in L.A. Good news is better than, well, you know.

… Speaking of groundbreakings (or groundbreakings-to-be), San Francisco got some good news too with the planning commission approval of the CityPlace redevelopment project at Market Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, and the board of supervisors okay of Lennar’s Hunters Point Shipyard project’s EIR. More approvals to come, but these are important steps in the course of these two very important projects.

… And finally, it’s summer and thoughts about swimming are common. Except, if you’re like me, you’d think twice about swimming in an infinity pool 55 stories above downtown Singapore. Check out this photo of the newly opened Marina Bay Sands; topping its three towers is this Olympic-sized pool. No way…

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