Road Builders Union to Surf Industry: Fuck Off!

slawson.JPGThe Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council issued an ultimatum to the Aliso Viejo-based Surf Industry Manufacturers Association: stop sponsoring environmental groups opposed to the 241 Foothill-South toll road or face the mighty wrath of more than 100,000 union workers “who build the roads, hospitals and schools that keep our communities strong.”

The letter is not signed by the council's executive secretary, Richard N. Slawson, who is shown at a March rally in L.A. calling for an end to violence at construction sites (violence that apparently was not foisted on them by Nazi surf punks wearing brand-new Volcom tees). Instead, council rep Jim Adams got the John Hancock honors for the letter dated Aug. 19, two days before SIMA held its 19th annual Watermans Weekend fundraising events at St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach aimed at raising thousands of dollars for a variety of environmental causes.

Adams pulled a quote from SIMA'S website that said a significant portion of the proceeds from the event would be used by two recipient organizations “exclusively for litigation and legal activities battling the expansion of the 241 toll road” and “dedicated to the fight to save Trestles.”

It was not enough of a threat to sway SIMA, however, which reports more than 850 professional surfers and surf industry VIPs turned out for the Aug. 22 Watermans Ball. "The SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors are confident that the final amount raised at the event will approximately match the goal of $500,000 for oceans and surf breaks around the world," states a SIMA press release after the Ball. "... Surfrider Foundation and Sierra Club’s Friends of the Foothills campaign also received Special Recognition Awards for their ongoing battle to save Trestles and stop the development of the 241 Toll Road."

In bestowing the recognition to Surfrider, which oversees the Save Trestles group, and Friends of the Foothills, SIMA officials wrote, "They have won some courageous victories, and will continue the long-term fight to preserve our surf and environment – including the battle to stop the Toll Road extension through Trestles. Their efforts are strongly supported and valued by the entire surf community."

But apparently not by the entire labor community. Adams' letter specifically singled out those two organizations for distorting the public record and being “actively engaged in a misinformation campaign against the completion of State Route (SR) 241." He also zeroed in on SIMA members Billabong, Hurley, Nixon, O'Neill, Vans and Volcom for providing money and support to activists who have “misled the public” about the 241 and its impacts on San Onofre State Beach and Trestles.

Because such support is being used to eliminate jobs for road workers, harm the region's economic growth and reduce coastal access for working families, hundreds of thousands of labor families in Southern California will now think twice about buying surf apparel from the companies, Adams warns.

Here is the full letter:

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