Tag Archives: Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano Welcomed by Legislative Letter About UC Employees

Striking Low-income Workers Had Pay Reducing Contract Imposed While Top Earners Get Increases

by Brian Leubitz

Janet Napolitano is just moving into her new offices in the East Bay Office of the UC President. And right on her first day, she got a letter calling out the treatment of some of the lowest paid workers in the system. But let’s back it up, and give some background. From the Davis Enterprise:

The University of California this week notified the union representing about 8,300 service gardeners, food service workers and custodians that would impose its final offer after more than a year of negotiations.

“Having completed all stages of the bargaining process, including state-assisted mediation and fact-finding, the university is legally entitled to implement its last proposal,” said Dwaine Duckett, UC’s vice president for systemwide human resources and programs, in a statement. …

UC will impose a new pension and retiree health benefits program that includes an increase in the university’s contribution from 10 to 12 percent and an employee contribution increase from 5 to 6.5 percent.(Davis Enterprise)

Of course, for workers that are making an average of $35,000 per year, that increase is a big deal. According to their union, AFSCME 3299, the imposed contract is a 1.5% reduction in pay at a time when the top earners are getting 3% pay increases.

Now, Napolitano obviously wasn’t involved in that background, but she is getting a talking to from legislators about the imposition of a contract on a group of workers that represent the most diverse and lowest income of UC employees. From the letter, authored by new Assembly member Lorena Gonzales and signed by nine more legislators:

UC has applied a different standard to its patient care and service workers – 90% of whom are immigrants and people of color.  Service workers are the only ones that have been singled out for a wage freeze.  These womenand men are already the lowest-paid UC employees.

We recognize and respect that UC’s administrative staff are people of good will.  We are confident that they are not consciously singling out employees of color.  But we also recognize that most often discriminatory practices evolve from equitable theories.

Whatever the reason, whatever the recent history, singling out the University’s largest population of minority workers for the harshest treatment at the bargaining table sends a deeply disturbing message.  Nothing could be less consistent with the values you have embodied throughout your career. (Full Letter on Scribd)

Labor negotiations are never easy, whether for the top employees or for the critical employees who make the educational environment possible at UC. But it is critical that all employees be treated fairly, and that is what this letter is all about.

This is hardly the only major contentious issue facing Napolitano as she enters the office, but it is clearly one worthy of her immediate attention.

Legislators Letter to UC President Janet Napolitano

21st Century Bull Connor: Shameless Intransigence

This is from the “Have They No Shame?” department. For the past couple of months I’ve been talking about the abuses going on in Maricopa County, Arizona  (that’s where the fine city of Phoenix is located) at the hands of the local sheriff there, Joe Arpaio.  

Arpaio’s officers have arrested people who disagree with his policies just for clapping. In the face of Sheriff Arpaio’s abuses, including police brutality, forced family separation, racial profiling, slow emergency response times, unjustified arrests, inmate abuses and more, ACORN members and allied community groups recently delivered a petition to Congress asking for an investigation of Arpaio, and then we sent petitions to the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Find out Arpaio’s response on the flip.

Congress has responded.  So has the Justice Department.

So what was his response? To take a long hard look at these policies and perhaps focus on reducing crime rather than deciding who is and who isn’t an American based on their skin color or first language?


It was intransigence. He sent around a press release stating that he is “even more determined even as criticism mounts.” This is from a sheriff facing more than 2,700 lawsuits, many citing civil rights violations.  

Arizona ACORN members have been protesting his brutal police tactics, most shockingly his recent publicity stunt of separating out 200 inmates from the county jail who are undocumented immigrants and marching them in chains to a separate “tent city” surrounded by an electric fence.

But, on March 10, Acting Assistant Atty. Gen. Loretta King sent a letter to Sheriff Arpaio informing him that the Justice Department was initiating an investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).  

The very next day, U.S. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), along with three other members of the House Judiciary Committee – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Immigration; Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights; and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security – announced that they will conduct a Congressional hearing into Sheriff Arpaio’s alleged civil rights abuses.

These four representatives also have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, asking that her office investigate Arpaio’s actions too. Secretary Napolitano’s office has yet to call for an investigation.  

That’s where you come in.

We need to ask her to take a stand, the same way that Attorney General Eric Holder has and the Congressfolk listed above have.

This is why she has juice here: Sheriff Arpaio’s office boasts the largest “287(g)” agreement with DHS. This agreement outsources enforcement of federal immigration laws to local policing organizations. Sheriff Arpaio has 160 officers on the project but none chasing the 70,000+ outstanding warrants in the County.

Under this agreement, Sheriff Arpaio and his officers may demand to see the papers of anyone they apprehend for any violation, even something as small as a broken tail light.    

If you don’t have the right papers with you, you can be arrested and detained without charge for up to 10 days, even if you are a US citizen. I mean, who carries their birth certificate with them to the store?

Join us in writing to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano asking that DHS:

1.  Stop the raids in Maricopa County.

2.  Suspend Sheriff Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement.

Thousands of immigrant families are living in terror under Sheriff Arpaio’s reign.  We can’t let his racist policing continue. Please take action!  

21st Century Bull Connor Closer To Feeling Fire Hose Turned On Him

Just over a week ago, I told you about the latest affront to human dignity carried out by the 21st century’s answer to Bull Connor.  At the beginning of February, a month in which we celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio decided to bring back a staple of the Jim Crow South – the chain gang – to the Southwestern desert. He marched 200 undocumented prisoners from the County Jail to a tent city a couple of miles away. He put them in chains and paraded them through the city streets of Phoenix to the open air jail, surrounded by an electric fence.  

Well, that little stunt earned him, besides the full-throated outrage of human rights activists, immigrant rights groups, and organizations that care about the rights of communities of color, working families, and effective policing, the scrutiny of powerful members of the United States Congress. And we want you to help add your voice to this scrutiny.  

As a result of street actions by Arizona ACORN members and other pro-New American organizations, the voices that many of you raised through petition efforts like the one ACORN launched on February 5th, and meetings between ACORN leaders in DC for our annual Legislative and Political Conference and the staff of House Judiciary Chair John Conyers, Chairman Conyers issued a request today that puts Arpaio’s actions squarely in the cross-hairs.

Joining Chairman Conyers, a lion of America’s Civil Rights Movement, were Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who all called on Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to investigate Arapio’s long-running reign of terror and error.  

The Congressional leaders are also asking for an investigation of the agreements between Maricopa County and the United States Government under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. I am asking you to join with us and add your voice to those calling for an investigation of actions such as these:

A taste of the Jim Crow South in the heart of Phoenix.  

Arresting activists at public hearings for applauding calls for investigations into his actions.

Forcibly separating parents from citizen children as the result of his police-state approach to America’s immigration challenge.  

Frankly, it is about time. The people of Maricopa County deserve better, New American communities and communities of color deserve better, and all Americans deserve a better model for the challenges of immigration facing this country. The Arpaio spectacle shows that a police-state solution does not work.

With your help, Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano will listen to the request from Conyers and his subcommittee Chairs and take a second step towards bringing real justice back to Maricopa County and ensuring that law enforcement isn’t simply about “just us”.

Stand with us in helping make that happen.  

California, The West, and Barack Obama’s VP Choice

In his latest look at California’s 2010 Democratic Gubernatorial primary, Steve Maviglio writes about Dianne Feinstein:

Why she’s not being touted as a possible Veep choice I don’t know; she’d be the perfect fit.

Don’t worry SacGuy, she’s touting herself, but if her husband’s sketchy financial dealings were enough to sink her as the VP nominee in 1984, all the war profiting from a war DiFi supported means this will never happen. Plus there’s the whole problem with all of her support for Bush, specifically on the Judiciary Committee. And with news that the losers in our Party are trying to cave to the President on retroactive immunity, DiFi should be worried about another push to censure the senator. And there is the whole problem with her not just being a liability, but bringing nothing to the ticket. In short, this would be a perfect fit just like the $4 million refund from the CDP to Fabian Nunez was a perfect move (Maviglio cites, “several million dollars in his campaign account” as why the “Speaker Emeritus” may be a contender for governor).

However, the Vice Presidential pick could usher in a new era for the Democratic Party geographically. In fact, look at the states Obama wants to put in play:

Plouffe also has been touting Obama’s appeal in once Republican-leaning states where Democrats have made gains in recent gubernatorial and congressional races, such as Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota.

The problem is, the public short lists of potential nominees don’t include anyone from a state western state with mountains other than Patty Murray.

When it comes to a true perfect fit, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer belongs at the top of the list. Hands down. The Schweitzer takeover of Montana in 2004 is known as the “Montana Miracle” and set the stage to take down Conrad Burns in 2006 — giving control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats. Some potential choices put a state in play, Schweitzer puts the entire Mountain Time Zone (and Alaska) in play. OK, maybe not Utah but he would give McCain a run for his money in Idaho and Wyoming. The same reasons Schweitzer is best choice for the Denver Convention keynote speech are the reasons why he would be a perfect fit. Of course, along with Al Gore he is the only person in the Democratic Party for who VP would be a step down.

Another good fit from the Mountain Time Zone (not right now, but again by election day) is Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Sure she won as a clean money candidate, has a long and distinguished history, and “gets it” when it comes to winning in the inter-mountain west. But the best thing about choosing her is the message it would send when it comes to the 50 State Strategy. Putting Napolitano on the ticket puts John McCain on notice that we’re going to go after him in his home state. By extension, this puts every Republican on notice that we are going to go after them, also.

Or, Obama could listen to Maviglio and put California’s least popular Senator on the ticket.