Friday, September 7, 2007

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

The GOP is up to their dirty tricks again! The CA Republican Party‘s "Presidential Election Reform Act" is nothing but another right-wing power grab. If you can’t hijack an election by having a Kathryn Harris or a Kenneth Blackwell, then use the techniques perfected by the good ole Tom Delay/Karl Rove School of Election Theft. Their goal, of course, is to hijack the White House on June 3, 2008 — five months before the general election.

This dangerous initiative dictates that California divide up its electoral college votes by congressional district, allowing Republicans to rob 20 electoral college votes — the equivalent of Ohio. If these dirty rotten scoundrels really want reform, they should propose national change — not cherry-pick California's electoral votes to, once again, steal the executive branch. May I suggest we begin with Texas?

Editorials by the New York Times and the L.A. Times called this ballot initiative an "elaborate dirty trick" designed by a "shadowy group" to "do serious damage to our democracy."

Unfortunately, this initiative has cleared the first hurdle, and they will start the signature gathering process to qualify for the June ballot. Sponsors will have until Christmas to gather 434,000 valid signatures. No doubt, their hired guns will be out in full force in front of every Wal-Mart. PLEASE remind your family, friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers not to sign this petition when they see those paid signature gatherers.

The Courage Campaign, headed up by Rick Jacobs, is uniting with the netroots and the grassroots to build a people-powered online infrastructure in California that will defeat this dirty trick. Check out their web site at:

Personally, I would prefer to derail them in their signature gathering effort. We can start by educating people and publicizing what this initiative is all about. We need to take action now! Having a Rudy McRomney in the White House scares the heck out of me!

Coronado City Workers Given the Shaft

Earlier this week I attended the City of Coronado's City Council meeting in support of the City's 45 blue collar workers who were in negotiations for a new three-year contract.

Both the workers, represented by AFSCME Local 127, and the City had issued their last, best and final offer, leaving them at impasse.

The workers offered to take lower pay increases than the City was offering. In return they asked that a plan be put into place that would allow a couple of members who were nearing retirement age to retire in dignity.

Imagine that. These workers were willing to go against what was best for them individually, to do the right thing.

The difference between the two proposals was $23,000 spread over three years. The City's response was to offer a one-year contract that would punish the employees' by reducing their pay from the three-year contract proposal.

Due to the parties being at impasse, the Coronado City Council had three options:

1. Implement the employees' proposal
2. Implement the City's one-year proposal
3. Force the parties back to the bargaining table

The Council voted 4-0 to force the City's lesser one-year proposal on their employees.

Coronado, a city that is actively searching for a way to build a tunnel that would travel under the bay, was not willing to work at closing a $23,000 gap that would allow their employees to continue to be compensated at the market rate, and at the same time allow loyal employees to retire in dignity. Shame on the Coronado City Council.

Labor 101 Again Offered

In June the Labor Council hosted an event designed to increase awareness in union-related issues. Due to overwhelming demand, and great positive feedback, we will be again hosting this free training course. Details are below.

Labor 101 – A Basic Course of Labor Issues

Saturday - October 6th, 2007
8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

San Diego Electrical Training Center
4675 Viewridge Avenue
San Diego, CA 92123

This is a free, 4- hour class perfect for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of union issues.

This course will cover the basic issues that are important for public servants to understand about organized labor, including card-check, PLAs, prevailing wage, big-box bans, outsourcing, retirement security, healthcare and livable wages.

For more information, or to RSVP, please respond via e-mail to Anthony Saavedra at, or call 619-228-8101, extension 5.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Friday’s Menu Special: Honey-glazed Chicken served over Rice Pilaf

I don’t know if anyone caught last night’s GOP presidential debate from New Hampshire on Fox. Personally, I have better things to do with my time such as: getting a root canal rather than listening to these clowns drone on about “who is tougher on terrorists.” But I have to give it up to our own 52nd Congressional Representative, Duncan Hunter. In response to a question from Wendell Goler regarding the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and their indefinite detention:

The last time I looked at the menu, they had honey-glazed chicken and rice pilaf on Friday. That's how we treat the terrorists.

They've got health care that's better than most HMOs. And they got something else that no Democrat politician in America has: They live in a place called Guantanamo, where not one person has ever been murdered. And there's not one politician, one Democrat politician in America, that can say that about one of the prisons in his home district. We've got to keep Guantanamo open.

Hey Duncan you forgot to mention that there are no Labor Day drunken beach riots there either!

Kevin gets an Ass Chewing

Check This out: Kevin Faulconer getting hammered on Roger Hedgecock yesterday, especially near the end of the hour. Personally, I could care less about the alcohol ban, but you have to love when the Establishment Republicans eat their own.

Profiles in Courage?

It appears Councilwoman Donna Frye has decided to take a mulligan in regards to her vote this past Tuesday regarding the "friend of the court" brief endorsing same-sex marriage. According VOSD Councilwoman Frye stated that she will vote "yes" this time when it comes back up for a vote on September 18. I guess you can't have both labor and the LGBT community mad at you if you want to run for mayor?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Marti Makes it Official

Just got a call from a friend who confirmed that Marti Emerald has officially filed papers to run for City Council, District 7. I am sure ethically-challenged April Boling is peeing her pants about now. I anticipate an UGLY campaign, since the downtown establishment will spend ever last cent of their developer money to try to attack the true-reformer Emerald. But, if anyone saw the 22-year retrospective on Marti that aired last night on KGTV, I doubt there is any about of money that can undo the fact that people know all of the positive change she has already made in San Diego.

Score one for the good guys.


For those who missed KGTV farewell to Marti click on the [Link] to watch it.

When Leadership is Lacking ... Part II

Here’s a What If question. Suppose Councilman Kevin Faulconer had actually shown some real leadership early this year with the Alcohol Beach Task Force and tried to forge something more than the bland consensus that they ultimately came to regarding more restrooms and police patrols? Imagine if a trial alcohol ban for holiday weekends was proposed and put into effect. Then the unfortunate events on Monday, might have been avoided.

Alas that didn’t happen, and now the Councilman Faulconer proposes an alcohol ban on all city beaches. Wow, nice reversal Kevin! You have gone from an uninspiring ineffectual City Councilman to an overzealous opportunistic politician. For a person who made a career at Public Relations prior his election to City Council, I have to wonder if he was any good at his previous career in PR?

Councilman Faulconer you can hold all the press conferences you want. Even with your new friend the City Attorney Mike Aguirre about an alcohol ban. But when you had the opportunity to lead back in June you failed!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Et tu, Donna?

Well, what a surprise, maverick City Councilwoman Donna Frye provided the NO vote to prevent the City of San Diego from joining an amicus brief to the California Supreme Court in support of marriage equality. Democrats Toni Atkins, Scott Peters and Ben Hueso, were joined by independent-Republican Jim Madaffer in voting for the resolution. Frye made some comments about process to explain her vote. But, true blue progressive democrats have to wonder: whose side is she on anyway? This was not a shock to many activists who saw a similar betrayal a few months ago when Frye reversed her position on the Wal-Mart ban and voted to sustain a mayoral veto at the 11th hour. Is Frye plotting a run for Mayor? And if so, who does she plan to attract to her camp with these votes?

On another note, who would think that the progressive block on the City Council – on any vote - would be Atkins, Hueso, Madaffer and Peters?

It must be the heat wave!

When Leadership is Lacking....

You can’t smoke at the beach, but it is okay to get drunk and start a riot. Courtesy of the UT today: “A melee broke out on the beach yesterday afternoon as people started throwing plastic bottles and cans at police officers who were called to break up a large fight.” Here is my favorite part, “Councilman Kevin Faulconer came to the beach and, after speaking with police officials, said he will re-examine the city's policy governing alcohol consumption at the beach, including restricting it or possibly banning it.”

Too bad, Councilman Faulconer didn’t show any real leadership earlier this year with his Beach Alcohol Task Force. Maybe, yesterday’s unfortunate events could have been avoided had some leadership been demonstrated. Councilman the voters elected you to lead! Not just to show up for photo ops and quotes in the UT after the police had to quell a riot.

Keeping on the Labor Day Theme

Jerry Butkiewicz, secretary-treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, wrote a great op-ed piece about the continued need for workers' rights to organize in Sunday's U-T.

Of course, they refused to run it on Monday and burried it in the Insight section, but at least they printed it.

Some Food for Thought on This Morning After Labor Day

VIA Altercation: Here's a letter to the editor from this morning's New York Times discussing what the bare minimum to achieve the "American Dream" actually costs today’s economy. Note the person who wrote the letter lives in Wisconsin. Now image what that cost is for a person living here in San Diego.

To the Editor:

Yesterday I was offered a tech-support job for a publicly traded company. It pays a paltry $9 to $10 an hour. When I squawked that this is not a livable wage, I was hesitantly offered $11.75.

There are no benefits, other than the fact that this is a “great company” and would look “good on my résumé.” Oh, did I forget to mention a company picnic each summer?

I added up the cost of the two-hour-a-day commute, a mortgage on an average home, health insurance that kicks in only if I am at death’s door, home and auto insurance and utilities. The break-even point was $10.35 an hour. Take into account laundry, groceries, clothing and other basic expenses and I am working at a deficit. No more movies, concerts, sporting events, family or friends because I simply cannot afford them.

Why are some in this prosperous nation of ours so challenged when it comes to comprehending something as simple as paying workers a livable wage? Pay workers sufficiently and they will be loyal and dependable. Stiff them with low wages and they immediately begin to look for something better. Workers are this nation’s greatest asset.

Or is this all a ploy to hold workers hostage between their low-pay jobs and debt so they don’t interfere with the lifestyles of those who have more?

Charles McEniry Stoughton, Wis., Aug. 29, 2007 [Link]

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day, A Day To Reflect

According to Wikipedia, Labor Day began in 1882, originating from a desire by the Central Labor Union to create a day off for the "working man". It is still celebrated mainly as a day of rest and marks the symbolic end of summer for many. Labor Day became a federal holiday by Act of Congress in 1894.[1]

What does it mean to you/us today?