Tag Archives: cwa

Keep the Momentum Going!

Just a few minutes ago, the California Nurses Association (CNA) endorsed my campaign for Mayor of San Francisco!

The endorsement from CNA, which has over 5,000 members in San Francisco, follows major endorsements in the last few weeks from the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)and Communication Workers of America Local 9410.

I am deeply honored to have their support.

Will you help us build on the momentum by joining our 20/20 advisory group today and donation $20 or volunteering 20 hours of your time to the campaign?  Donate.  Volunteer.

I will continue to work to ensure San Franciscan has affordable health care.  Our city has led the nation with important health reforms.  As insurance companies across California continue to raise rates and limit care – it’s essential that we do more, especially for our children and families.

To make these policy goals a reality, we need your support.

I’m inviting you to join our 20/20 advisory group.  Here’s how it works:

We are asking supporters to volunteer 20 hours of their time or donate $20 to help build a clear vision for San Francisco’s future.  Donate. Volunteer.

You’ll be invited to a small coffee conversation with me to discuss issues we all face as San Franciscans.  How do we improve our schools?  Make it easier for people to raise a family in the city.  What are the best ways to grow our economy?  How do we improve Muni?

Will you help us build on the momentum of the last few weeks and join our 20/20 advisory group?  Donate. Volunteer.

Thanks for your time and support.  I hope to see you on the campaign train for a cup of coffee!


Leland Yee

What Happened at the Convention, Once and for All

Two weeks may have passed between the Democratic Convention and today, but that hasn’t stopped us from speculating over what actually happened during that weekend. During these two weeks, everyone seems to have developed a theory on who knew what ahead of time, who was conspiring to silence the progressives, and who was really behind the mysterious quorum call. Two weeks have passed since then, and I’d like to do my part to end all the speculation NOW.

Last Thursday, I hopped on over to OC Drinking Liberally. John Hanna, Co-chair of the Resolutions Committee, also happened to be there. Pretty soon, hekebolos showed up, and we all went to the back room of Memphis to discuss what really happened at the convention. Later on, we also talked about what we can do better next time, but I’ll talk about that part of the discussion another time.

Right now, I’m inviting you to follow me after the flip to find out WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO ALL THOSE RESOLUTIONS. I have been collecting information from a few brave individuals for quite some time now, and my meeting with John Hanna on Thursday put an end to my own speculation on all these rumors. So why not join me after the flip, so that you can also toss the speculation and just find out what happened?

OK, let’s start out by going through all those wild rumors. Here’s what true, and here’s what’s just wild.

Rumor #1: There was a deal made between PDA and party leadership on impeachment- TRUE! Yes, PDA did meet with party leaders before and during the convention. A friend of mine involved in PDA told me that the party leaders knew about PDA’s plans for San Diego, and they did not want the convention to turn ugly. PDA agreed to soften the language on impeachment of Bush, the leaders agreed to tough language on Cheney, and everyone agreed to fold all the resolutions into one.

Rumor #2: There was a grand conspiracy among the party leaders to “appoint” a delegate to make the quorum call- FALSE (well, kinda sorta)! Neither John Hanna NOR Art Torres had any advance knowledge of the quorum call. This makes sense, as Torres really did look bewildered and genuinely frustrated at the podium. However, other folks that I spoke with earlier did drop me a hint. They’ve called Bob Mulholland a “street fighter”, and they have suggested that he wouldn’t hesitate to pull a stunt like this. Hmmm, so does this mean we have a culprit?

Rumor #3: John Hanna conspired to silence the true antiwar voices who wanted to “stengthen” Don Perata’s Out of Iraq Resolution- FALSE! He wanted the Perata Resolution clean, but he didn’t block the amendments by Karen Bernall (deauthorize the war) and the Hull-Richters (defund the war). John Hanna wanted to ensure that the Perata’s Out of Iraq Resolution ended up looking like what Perata wants to put on the ballot next February. However Garry Shay, of the Rules Committee, urged him to come up with a way to allow Bernall and the others (even the Hull-Richters) to be heard. So they worked out a deal. The rules would be temporarily suspended, so that the amendments could be split off from the Perata measure, and they could become their own resolutions. All the delegates can then vote on each proposal separately, and all sides can get a fair shake. John seemed sincere when he said that he thought the perfect deal had been struck, and everyone could get what he/she wanted… Until Karen Wingard stepped in.

Rumor #4: John Hanna conspired with AT&T and CWA to kill the net neutrality resolution- ABSOLUTELY FALSE! Unfortunately, John Hanna and the party leaders weren’t as familiar with net neutrality then as they are now. So out of good faith that Jim Gordon would work out a fair agreement with CWA and AT&T on net neutrality, the Resolutions Committee agreed to refer it to the Labor Caucus. But now, John Hanna regrets taking Jim Gordon’s word when he promised John that he’d come up with a resolution in the Labor Caucus that “the net neutrality folks will like”. John told us that he didn’t know about the CWA/AT&T deep hostility toward net neutrality. And yes, he wants our forgiveness, and he wants to make it up to us. That’s why he’s willing to give us another chance to get net neutrality passed. (And I’ll talk more about this in a future story.)

Basically, John Hanna regrets what happened with many of the resolutions. He now says that he should have just allowed Karen Bernall to do a petition drive for her own “Out of Iraq” resolution, even though her resolution had been “gutted and amended” to make way for Perata. He says that he might change the rules to allow for this next time. He has also said that we weren’t given a fair chance to clarify what was about to happen to net neutrality. And yes, this might inspire some changes in the rules as well. I know that we were all let down by what happened two weeks ago, but let’s not allow these disappointments to stop us from doing better next time.

Now we know how the internal politics are played. And now, we have a better grasp of the rules that we need to follow. So let’s follow the rules (including whatever new ones that might actually make our jobs easier), and let’s get our agenda accomplished. And now that we have made amends with the past, let’s get back to making a better future. : )

Labor Firmly Supports the Fair Elections Now Act

Since the introduction of the Fair Elections Now Act, the labor community has thrown its substantial weight behind the measure, which would create a voluntary system of publicly financed congressional elections.  No doubt, labor’s support was instrumental in winning Republican co-sponsorship from Arlen Specter (R-PA), a strong labor advocate.  Support for the bill comes from the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, CWA, and SEIU. 

While labor’s position on California’s Clean Money and Fair Election Act (Prop. 89) was spotty due to a number of factors that had little to do with the actual merits of public financing, it is clear that labor stands firmly behind the Fair Elections Now Act.

Remember, this is a bill that is designed to curb the influence of special interest money on the political process.  Though labor unions contribute to political campaigns, they are simply outspent by business.  In fact, by some estimates, business outspends labor 6 to 1.  According to opensecrets.org, labor has contributed $585 million to political campaigns since 1990.  Compare that to the more than $1 billion that business has contributed in the same time period.

None of that would matter if our system wasn’t so influenced by money.  But the reality is that important labor reforms, such as a drastic increase in the minimum wage (and by drastic I mean more than the “hike” made in the Democrats’ first 100 hours) and the Employee Free Choice Act are at risk of being overlooked by representatives who fix their eyes on the green of large contributions from groups sympathetic to business interests.

Another reason for labor to support the Fair Election Now Act is that labor unions, at their core, are about organizing people and allowing those people to have a fair shot at being heard by the powers that be, regardless of their inability to make large contributions.  If the influence of money is eliminated, labor unions remain strongly influential due to their organizing power. 

Ultimately, however, our representatives should vote according to their constituents’ wishes, many of whom are not represented by business or labor groups.  If we want legislation that serves the broadest public interests, then we need to eliminate the destructive influence of special interests, be they business or labor.