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Pipe fitters' gift swells governor's war chest
Recent ban on plastic is what union wanted

- Greg Lucas, Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writers Tuesday, May 14, 2002

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Gov. Gray Davis picked up a $260,000 contribution during the weekend from a trade union that won a key ruling this month in its fight to keep plastic water pipe from replacing copper pipe in homes.

The governor's weekend fund-raising activities -- punctuated by lengthy conference calls with his staff about the state's potential $22 billion budget shortfall -- also included a Monterey County golfing event that netted Davis more than $400,000.

Law enforcement groups sponsored the Ninth Annual Gray Davis Classic, a $5, 000-a-head golf tournament at a course partly owned by Clint Eastwood in Carmel Valley.

Davis told supporters Saturday that his participation in the budget discussions prevented him from playing golf with them.

The day before, however, Davis collected the $260,000 check from the California Pipe Trade Council, which was meeting in Half Moon Bay, according to sources who attended the event.

Earlier this month, the union secured a ruling from the Davis-appointed Building Standards Commission that prohibits the use of a type of plastic pipe for carrying water in homes until a complicated environmental review can be completed.

Sources close to the pipe fitters' union said the contribution had nothing to do with the Davis administration's rulings on the use of plastic pipe. Less than 10 percent of residential housing work done under union contracts in California involves plumbing, sources said.

Efforts to reach a representative for the pipe fitters' union for comment about the latest contribution were unsuccessful Monday.


MOST STATES ALLOW PLASTIC PIPE

The union opposes using plastic pipe in homes because it is cheaper and easier to install than traditional copper pipe. California is one of only two states that do not allow plastic pipe in homes.

The union, meeting at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, had already given Davis $1.3 million....


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