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A look at candidate endorsements – Labor

I think that a good way to gauge how a candidate will perform in any aspect of their job is to look at whom the real stakeholders in the community are backing. I’ve been looking at the endorsements each candidate for Oakland Mayor has received, and I found the results quite striking. (Lists of endorsements are from their websites – Ron Dellums, Nancy Nadel, Ignacio De La Fuente.

**As I was writing this, I realized that it was getting insanely long, so I’m going to break this down into a series of posts focusing on specific areas of concern. See previous posts for my reflections on endorsements involving education, public safety, and business**

Labor & Jobs
I’ve often said that I think the fact the Ignacio De La Fuente is known as a friend to both the business community and to unions speaks to his fairness. His support of union workers and their appreciation of that support is reflected in his endorsements of several unions – the United Farm Workers, and the local chapters of the AFSCME, the Carpenters Union, the Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Laborers International Union of Northern California, the Communications Workers of America, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics, & Allied Workers Intl. Union.

Nancy Nadel receives no union endorsements. Ironically, Nancy Nadel loves to talk about her mission to preserve and foster industrial and union jobs in Oakland (while at the same time decrying the industries that provide them as environmentally unfriendly), but when it comes down to it, the actual people she talks so much about helping believe that her opponent, Ignacio De La Fuente, will be the candidate who best serves their interests in Oakland.

Ron Dellums has the aforementioned Oakland Educational Association, the California Nurses Association, the ILWU, and the local SEIU – which represents our city employees. The city employee’s union was the initiator of the Draft Ron Dellums campaign, infuriated at Ignacio De La Fuente over the closing of the city jail, which led to layoffs. The alternatives to closing the jail and redirecting inmates to the county jail, (which, unlike the city jail, receives state money for its operation) were either for union members to make small contributions from their pay towards their health care or for Oakland to lay off most of its Head Start teachers. Since the union was utterly unwilling to make compromises, even though personell costs represent 75% of the general fund budget and increase 20+% per year, forcing us to cut funding from other city resources to pay for them, they decided to recruit a candidate who is happy to take sides, rather than work towards a compromise.

NOTE: Ron Dellums has updated his website since I wrote this. I will ammend the post soon to include his new additions.

Stay tuned for reflections on endorsements involving neighborhood groups, other elected officials, and more.

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Posted in cityworkers, delafuente, dellums, elections, endorsements, nadel, oakland.

4 Responses

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  1. Anonymous says

    maybe nancy “loves to talk about her mission to preserve and foster industrial and union jobs in Oakland” because it’s the right thing to do. i think it shows even deeper commitment to the issue that she’s not deterred from talking about its importance when (questionably objective) union endorsements come out. just a thought.

  2. V Smoothe says

    anonymous –

    Oh, I don’t doubt that she believes that preservation of industrial jobs is important. I know she’s sincere.

    My point is that while this is one of her pet subjects, I think that you can gain a lot of perspective on a candidates’ ability to deliver in certain areas by looking at who the people with the most at stake are backing, and they aren’t backing her.

    Nancy Nadel’s proposals to ammend the city charter so the she can transfer money away from the Port (whose existence fuels much of our industrial base) and her desire to restrict the truck traffic the Port depends on for its functioning will ultimately prove detrimental to industry not just in Oakland, but in the entire East Bay. Although her heart is in the right place, her policies are, unfortunately, short-sighted if the preservation of industrial jobs is indeed one of her primary goals.

  3. Anonymous says

    i think the Port trucking example is a poor one. nancy’s focus on the port is not in contradiction to her values and actions to preserve industrial land and jobs in oakland. she focuses on the port because it’s a multi-million dollar agency with almost zero accountability to the people of oakland whose lives are daily impacted by environmental hazards caused by truck traffic.

  4. V Smoothe says

    anonymous -

    The Port of Oakland is the economic engine that generates our industrial jobs! The Port already initiated an incentive-based truck replacement program to reduce emissions, but when Nancy Nadel speaks, she suggests that she wants to place additional restrictions, and reduce total truck traffic. This would prove absolutely disastrous to our Port, our economy, and the industrial jobs that depend on the Port. If we impose severe restirictions that are absent at other ports, businesses can and will easily transfer their operations to LA/Long Beach or Tacoma. Nancy Nadel constantly complains about the environmental problems caused by the port, yet neglects to acknowledge, that in a year-long study by the Natural Resource Defense Council and the Coalition for Clean Air of environmental protection and sustainability in the 10 largest US ports, the Port of Oakland was ranked the best.

    In speaking with her, I have found Nancy Nadel to be woefully unimformed about the Port’s operations, especially considering the degree she complains about them. For example, I was speaking with her not very long ago, and discovered that she was not even aware that our Port has more export traffic than import! She complains about how the Port has too much money, but vastly overestimates their profits, often randomnly throwing out figures in the hundreds of millions, when last year the Port posted only a $27 million profit, all of which goes directly back into capital improvements and debt service towards our airport expansion.

    What form of accountability do you propose from the Port? Port Commissioners are currently nominated by the Mayor and appointed in 4 year terms by a vote of the City Council. The Port’s operations are strictly governed by State law. Our primary competitive Port, the Port of LA/Long Beach, operates the same way, except that their terms are longer. To change the Port’s relationship with the city, in the ways Nadel proposes, would require not just a city charter change, about also overturning State law. How is she going to do that?

    As usual, Nancy Nadel’s heart is in the right place, but her head remains firmly and impractically planted in the clouds.