From Cat Food to Caviar: Solidarity Ends at Retirement

Guest Column Guest Column 70 Comments


Guest Commentary
by Derrick Roach

Recently, Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council AFL-CIO, delivered a can of cat food to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders claiming that is all union members will be able to afford if voters approve pension reform measures for city employees.

While Gonzalez’s concern for the plight of union members is laudable, it seems that as head of the Labor Council and a member of two unions, she will not share in the solidarity of her unionized brothers and sisters as she lives a life of luxury sipping gourmet coffees and snacking on caviar like one of the “fat cats” that she so regularly criticizes.

Tax records for the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council AFL-CIO show that during fiscal year 2009, Gonzalez received compensation in the amount of $117,561, which is nearly five percent of the organization’s total revenue. That equates to approximately $1.00 from the union dues of every member that she claims to represent.

Based upon the organization’s report to the Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service, one might think that Gonzalez is already living a lifestyle reserved for the rich and famous as she lounges around her exclusive Mission Bay residence in a million dollar neighborhood while sipping cups of gourmet coffee imported from an organic environmentally friendly plantation that did not exploit indigenous laborers.

Information reported to the IRS by Gonzalez indicates that her function as Secretary-Treasurer of the organization is to “offer an avenue for local unions to come together as one group” as is the stated purpose of the Labor Council. Gonzales further claimed that the Labor Council is not involved in any direct or indirect political activities and one can only assume that with an annual compensation package well above that of other union members, Gonzalez is living the life of luxury and has joined the ranks of the corporate “fat cats.”

As one of those fat cats, it will be interesting to see if Gonzalez will be found sipping her gourmet coffee and snacking on caviar or engaging in her signature partisan politics – contrary to what she reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

NOTE: On August 3, 2011 Dale Cundiff with the Whistleblower Office for the Department of the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC confirmed in a written statement that a formal complaint has been referred to the Informant Claims Examination (ICE) Unit in Ogden, UT to investigate tax fraud allegations that have been filed against the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council AFL-CIO and Lorena Gonzalez who serves as the organization’s Secretary-Treasurer.


Derrick Roach is a California licensed investigator with eleven years experience in performing fraud investigations. His expertise has lead to some of the largest criminal prosecutions of their type by law enforcement in California history. From 2002 to 2006 he served on a local school board and in 2010 he was the Republican nominee for the State Assembly to represent California’s 79th District.

During 2009, Roach received national media attention appearing on Fox News to talk about his involvement in exposing the document dump scandal at a San Diego area ACORN office that was under investigation by the California Attorney General. Since that time he has worked to expose political corruption at all levels of government.

Roach currently serves in a volunteer capacity as Secretary for the Republican Party of San Diego County.


Comments 70

  1. I’m excited for part two, when an officer of the Republican Party tries to make the case that $250,000/year is middle class and the Bush tax cuts should be extended again. Also that oil companies need more tax breaks.

  2. I second Bastinda’s call for linking to the tax forms. No excuse for not doing that on a blog.

    Dave, that is indeed interesting. The juxtapositions of “independent thinking” and “conservative core values” is jarring”. Just because one is not affiliated with a party doesn’t equal independent thinking.

    Lucas’ feeble attempt at deflection is noted.

  3. The technical difficulties to which Derrick refers is simply that T, TA and GL are all on vacation. Bad planning, but we aren’t paid enough at Rostra to be that sophisticated. Thanks, Derrick, for providing the link…we are working to get it in the original post.

  4. I thought the more interesting thing is the number of PUBLIC sector board members. For those a bit long in tooth they will remember Jerry B getting up every time he could that he represented 300,000 PRIVATE sector working families. As Bob Dillon would sing, “the times they are a changing”,

  5. Well if I know Thor like I think I do, then I am going to guess that TB stands for Thor’s Bitch.

    So I have to ask, if that is correct, is there a TAB as well?

  6. We have a winner. Red Ryder, good guess. What we don’t have is a response to the TAB question.

  7. Conrats, SDRostra. Your story inspired some weenie to go throw a brick thru Lorena’s window last night. Her children were especially impressed with this. Can we have Roach’s address now?

  8. Don’t even go there, Doug. We are sorry if that is the case. Political differences should never amount to threats or violence. Do we even need to say that? But, please, our story inspired it? — With several hundred readers, as opposed to the several thousands that saw the UT story on Gonzalez several weeks ago? Did you see the nutcase comments online for that story? We may have sharp political differences, but we believe in sharp debate and political action, not physical harm. The obvious aside, you seem to imply that Mr. Roach provided an address. Where exactly is that in the story? How do you know this was anything but a common beach drunk or, even if political in nature, some wacko that doesn’t read Rostra? You don’t. Lastly, unacceptable, criminal behavior and free speech often don’t mix, but when you are ready to tone down your opinions at the OB Rag so as to ensure some idiot doesn’t go too far, please let us know.

  9. Speaking of deflection, quite a stretch there by the OBRag! IRS Form 990 is a public record, available to anyone that requests it.

  10. Nice try, Doug. Either you do not really know much about unions or you are so blinded by your membership in one that you don’t realize your organization is full of thugs.

    To prove my point I did a search on the Internet for “union brick and window.” Turns out the first story that popped up was one from about a month ago. Someone threw a brick through the Fresno POA window and they blamed the local newspaper because of an editorial. Must be SOP for the unions to blame the media.

    Of course, it is much more likely that one of the union’s own goons actually threw the brick and luckily they did not hurt anyone. See the person would have to know where Ms. Gonzalez lives and that is much more likely to be a fellow union member. Maybe someone is not happy with how much of their union dues she pockets.

    Now just in case you do not really know much about unions and their thuggery take a look at this article which documents numerous incidents of it.

    Might I suggest you start looking at the union hall for your culprit? I bet if you look close at the brick it might even have a union bug on it.

  11. Derrick Roach might be a licensed investigator, but he clearly isn’t much of a writer. What I do take away from the story is that he has a pretty significant problem with gourmet coffee, loves to use the term fat cats, seems to have complete disdain for Lorena, organized labor and anyone who claims to speak for workers, and clearly thinks that the salary for the lead officer of a membership-based organization in San Diego should not exceed 5% of the organization’s budget (although I am pretty certain that the CEOs of every local chamber of commerce and industry association would completely disagree). So let me see, if I pull some public tax records, hurl a bunch of insults at someone I don’t like, repeat myself over and over and string together some poorly written sentences, can I be a guest writer for SDROSTRA as well? I’m guessing with the quality and professionalism that I associate with so many of your other writers and guests that the bar must be set a little higher than this, no?

  12. nobody threw anything at Ms. Gonzalez’s house back in April. It happened right after Roach’s droppings appeared here. plus san diego’s right wingers have a long history of getting away with vandalism and even acts of terrorism.
    google “Secret Army Organization San Diego”… i’m quite familiar with y’all’s ‘the left must have done it for sympathy routine.’ That’s what got published in the local fishwrap when my home on Muir Street got shot up and my room mate was wounded.

  13. Remember when this community spent a week freaking out about an offhanded tweet about Tony Krvaric’s diet?

    But someone points out that this Rostra post is contributing to and encouraging an atmosphere of bringing politics to the personal homes of your opponents is inappropriate? It shouldn’t take a proven, direct link to be deeply concerned by just the coincidence of these two events, but I suppose nothing says moral leadership quite like grasping for technicalities.

  14. We repeat: We assume the info is true. What happened is unacceptable, then. We agree with Mr. Fikes — we are sorry for the Gonzalez family.

    We see nothing in the Roach piece that encourages criminal behavior. Yet, even if some yahoo was ticked off by public information and decided to cause harm, such is the act of an individual.

    Yes, we are well aware that the oft heard liberal tact is to blame society, blame the manufacturer, blame the publication, blame the opinion maker — instead of the individual.

    So, just so we’re straight — are the OB Rag and Two Cathedrals actually arguing that reasonable free speech should be limited, to ensure someone doesn’t see it and do something criminal?

  15. I’ve spent the last 15 minutes reading this post / comments while sipping my non-gourmet coffee.

    I completely agree with Bradley Fikes that whoever threw the brick through Gonzales’ window is a criminal whos actions should not be tolerated.

    Erik calls on those of us who are long in the tooth to think back to Lorena’s predecessor. Jerry Butkiewicz. During the time of Jerry B. opposing points of view were no different than they are today, and he fought just as hard to represent his members as Lorena does today, but it seems (at least to me) that there was a greater level of civility during debate and discourse. I am by no means implying that this is Lorena’s fault. In fact, it is all of our faults. From San Diego to Sacramento, from Wisconsin to Washington DC, there wasn’t such bitterness and hatred. The choice is ours, we can either continue driving ourselves further apart or we can sit down like adults and engage in discussions in a dignified manner.

    Getting off my soapbox now and going to get a refill of non-gourmet coffee. To all the editors and publishers, I apologize for the writing errors, run-on sentences, etc. I am not a writer and I still need more coffee.

  16. Honestly, I don’t think SD Rostra has that much influence — unless the crime was perpetrated by Derrick himself. If it wasn’t Derrick, he was probably at the scene of the crime with his binoculars, so he could probably point us in the right direction.

  17. Are you serious Doug? You pull up an organization from 30 years ago and try to compare it to the union thug tactics of today? The fact is that organized labor and the Democratic Party are at the least domestic partners if not married to one another.

    At least I am honest about what I state. I could try to make the claim that the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front are also part of the donkey brigade, but I doubt many of their members are actively involved in its day-to-day political machine.

    Suppose someone did read an article on SDRostra and then decided to toss a brick through a window, does that automatically prove that the perpetrator is a member of the GOP or even conservative? Obviously people from the other side of the aisle read this blog as well.

    You just make an assumption that the two are connected and then decide to post it on SDRostra with no proof other than an article critical of Ms. Gonzalez was posted shortly before the incident? Do you know all the other things going on in Ms. Gonzalez’s life so well that you can legitimately rule out all other possibilities? Are you certain there is not someone within her organization that is not angry at her? Do you know for a fact that on the night of the incident she did not unknowingly cut off another driver?

    Seriously Doug, get a clue. The OB Rag asks its posters to be truthful so why don’t you extend that same courtesy to SDRostra when you post here?

  18. no, we’re arguing that you ought to use a little common sense.
    Mr. Roach’s post was not a one time thing. When you inform someone that you “know what they’re eating for breakfast” and “you’re watching them” via twitter it tends to have chilling effect on their rights also.

  19. Also, I love that this:

    “sipping cups of gourmet coffee imported from an organic environmentally friendly plantation that did not exploit indigenous laborers. ”

    Basically equates to “I dug through Lorena’s trash.”

    Oddly enough, the thought of Roaches scuttling in trash doesn’t seem too far-fetched to me.

  20. Fortunately I have it on good authority that labor union officials would never think to throw a brick through a labor union boss’s window — so that the loony lefties (who have a FAR greater predilection to violence) could indignantly claim that the “other side” did it.

    Nope. That could not possibly happen. It HAD to be right wing nut balls.

    Granted, it is far more likely that labor folks know where Lorena lives than the crazies on the right. Not that it matters, of course.

  21. This is the best part of this post:

    “she will not share in the solidarity of her unionized brothers and sisters as she lives a life of luxury sipping gourmet coffees and snacking on caviar like one of the “fat cats” that she so regularly criticizes.”

  22. I’d love to see you point to where anyone has tried to limit free speech. Nobody’s suggested that anything should or shouldn’t be said. Rather, with free speech comes responsibility for the consequences of that speech.

    If you think that expecting people to take responsibility for their words, even if the consequences are unintentional, is a restriction of free speech, that’s fine I guess. But it says more about your relationship with personal responsibility than any invented condemnation of free speech you care to hurl around.

  23. I agree with TA. It’s anyone’s guess on what happened, and it certainly shouldn’t cause people to restrain from engaging in political dialogue.

    But let’s not pretend that this only happens to conservative opposition. I believe Tony Kravic’s car has been vandalized a couple times in the past two years (perhaps it’s time for a more subtle license plate TK).

    Bottomline, no vandalizing is okay. Hopefully they catch whoever hit the Gonzalez vehicle.

  24. Are unions still prone to violence, or are “the good old days” behind us? Let’s check the latest labor strike — against Verizon.

    From my friend Allen Hemphill’s blog:

    Union Thuggery
    10 August, 2011

    I note that the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in New England have not only gone on strike against Verizon’s landline phone system, but they are actively engaged in sabotage of Verizon’s systems.

    Union thuggery is not so prevalent as it once was because it is more difficult to hide with modern communications, and there is less public support for it, but the CWA has always been a thuggery-tinged union, and in fact back in the bad old days carried a lot of Communist supporters.

    It is particularly easy for communications workers to sabotage things, because it is our culture to hide wiring underground, and in closets, and in dark hidden places.

    In this particular case, the union is really committing suicide, because land-line, wired communications are a thing of the past – much like the Post Office going on strike. Who would notice?

    The union is a minor percentage of the employees of the Verizon landline business anyway (about 45,000 out of 196,000), so the phone subscribers will notice little diminution in their service. I suspect that those who do can instantly find another provider, like their cable company, but I could live without landline service at all except for my alarm system. I have landline for my Luddite wife, cable phone for my business, and a perfectly good cell phone that negates the need for either of the first two.

    The CWA Verizon strikers, who are visible on TV shouting with the bullhorns at the non-strikers continuing to work – by far the largest number of employees, are bucking reality because the CWA holds a losing hand.

  25. Attacking Lorena Gonzalez for making less than most executives of any local organization (public or private), and impugning her commitment to union values for drinking gourment coffee is to flash the reddest of herrings and meaningless drivel. I expect better of so-called conservatives.

    Let’s see, you can go after the unions, whose membership has been in constant decline, whose power has been widely overstated and mis-credited for financial mismangement by the public sector, and who are clearly not to blame for current social ills — debts, deficits, pension problems and joblessness.

    Or, you can start to examine the choices of your own readership and like-minded fellow travelers whose actions have bankrupted the public sector, disinvested in local job creation, tax cut their way to plutocratic proportions, and partisan blockaded the public discourse into sound bites and misinformation.

    Hmmm…I’ll take the courageous no-nonsense hard working representatives of our working people any day!

  26. Folks, please don’t rise to the bait from the likes of the
    OB Rag types (Doug Porter) . The reference to the
    “Secret Army Organization” has to do with things that
    happened, literally, 40 years ago!

    And do we have ANY PROOF that any vandalism happened,
    or are we just “taking his word for it”? I’m not seeing
    any story about it on the U-T website right now, and it
    would be major news if it had happened.

  27. A salary of $117K including benefits is one which is very commensurate with what one should expect for a position of this type. In industry, similar positions which have similar minimum qualifications and similar duties seem to range between $75K and $300K annual salaries, which does NOT include benefits. It appears to this casual observer that Ms. Gonzalez has a salary which is at the lower end of a standard deviation south of the mean. I certainly don’t see how this type of salary equals “fat cat means” or “caviar dinners”. Unless, that is, you’re extremely biased.

    She makes more than I do…but so do lots of folks. What’s the point? Should I be more bitter about this woman making a little less than twice what I make (for what would seem a much higher level position), or that the average S&P company CEO makes about 200 times what I make?

    I notice a few respondents in the comments saying other viewpoints are “deflection”, but it would appear that deflection is the entire purpose for this article. It’s a bit hypocritical if you ask me.

    Articles such as this one, which tend to come from both the Repugnantkin & Democrappy sides of the spectrum, are the reason more and more people have come to conclude that all of you are a bunch of self-serving goons, who seek nothing more than to sow further division and hatred into the world in which they mooch.

    This kind of BS “journalism” (to use the term LOOSELY!), we don’t need.

  28. So Gonzalez, a graduate of UCLA law pulls in $117,000 including benefits (so that’s probably what, 80K in actual pay?)

    Meanwhile, the median FIRST YEAR SALARY for a UCLA law grad is $145,000 as cited here

    That’s only first year, once people with the aptitude of Gonzalez move into partner the sky is really the limit.

    So Gonzales is foregoing probably upwards of a few million dollars (on the low end) or more every decade in pay in order to stand with the workers of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

    To re-iterate, Gonzales foregoes millions of dollars and makes less than a classmate would make fresh out of law school – and she endures threats and violence – all to stand with workers,

    If that’s not solidarity, I don’t know what is.

  29. Ben you are assuming that Ms. Gonzalez is only making $117,000. I know many union leaders get paid from multiple branches of the organized labor octopus (e.g. Teamsters, PACs, labor related non-profits). I would not doubt if she has additional sources of income, which may or may not be union related.

    So you are arguing that simply because Ms. Gonzalez studied and worked hard to get a law degree and pass the California State Bar she is entitled to make that much or even more? Does that same logic apply to those who work and start their own business putting in 60 hour weeks and make $175,000? That is probably only $115,000 after the IRS takes out more from that one taxpayer than most people gross. And shouldn’t they be entitled to employee people at their business who do not have union thugs intimidating them to join a union?

    The best argument I ever heard against unions was from someone who sat through one of the public employee union presentations. After the presentation she was asked to sign a card. She replied “if this place is as bad as you claim, I don’t think I will be working here very long.” She of course did not sign the card even though she was continually intimidated. By the way, the organization that employees her is the IRS.

  30. Thanks for giving conservatives an even worse rep. Go pray away the gay with Michele Bachman’s obviously gay husband. Let’s look at all the facets of your lifestyle Mr. Roach. I suspect we’ll find some pretty good stuff since you are all total hypocrites. The fun begins.

  31. I’m confused. I thought that “private investigator” meant that the person doing the investigating was supposed to remain private. It seems to me that Roach is way too eager to generate press for himself, except he doesn’t know how, so it usually backfires and the party (or in this case Rostra) takes the heat. What an amateur.

  32. Red Ryder

    “Ben you are assuming that Ms. Gonzalez is only making $117,000.” – I’m only assuming the pay in so far as I’m responding to the information in the article. You seem inclined to speculate, I’m not so inclined.

    “So you are arguing that simply because Ms. Gonzalez studied and worked hard to get a law degree and pass the California State Bar she is entitled to make that much or even more?” – Not at all. I am simply pointing out that she has chosen to work in a position that is far less lucrative than other opportunities open to people fresh out of her law school, presumably out of her sense of solidarity. The article wasn’t about whether she earns her pay, is was about whether her pay illustrates a hypocritical lack of solidarity.

    To your point on taxes, presumably Ms. Gonzales pays taxes on her compensation like any business person would.

    and finally…
    “Shouldn’t they (employers) be entitled to employee people at their business who do not have union thugs intimidating them to join a union?” – No. Employees are (and should be) entitled to collectively bargain. We settled this question in this country nearly 100 years ago. Obviously you disagree, as did the robber barons.

  33. It’s still not clear why Mr. Roach filed a complaint with the IRS. If he’s arguing that her political activities violate the rules governing the labor council’s nonprofit statue, then he’s wrong. Right there at the top of the 990, it says “501c5.” A quick Google search took me to this site:,,id=96169,00.html

    Here’s the relevant portion:

    “Seeking legislation germane to the labor or agricultural organization’s programs is recognized as a permissible means of attaining its exempt purposes. Thus, a section 501(c)(5) organization may further its exempt purposes through lobbying as its primary activity without jeopardizing its exempt status. However, a section 501(c)(5) organization that engages in lobbying may be required to either provide notice to its members regarding the percentage of dues paid that are applicable to lobbying activities or pay a proxy tax.”


    “A section 501(c)(5) labor or agricultural organization may engage in some political activities, however, so long as that is not its primary activity.”

  34. It’s funny, but I thought the leftists were supposed to be “Socialists”? So why do roaches want to bring down a decently-paid union leader to average levels of income? Are the Republicans conveniently preaching Socialism?

    You can’t have it both ways. Either you want everyone to make the same amount, or you will accept inequity in our society. The moment you choose for Lorena’s pay to be reduced, we will agree… after we tax the wealthy more to spread out the pay more evenly first!

    No more “fat cats”, and definitely, no more ROACHES!

  35. Far more interesting than Ms. Sanchez’s salary is page 9 of the tax return — Part VIII Statement of Revenue, line 1e “Government Grants” lists $1,164,922. Why is the SD Labor Council receiving government grants totaling 1 and 1/2 times more than their “Dues and Assessments” of $744,397. Taxpayer dollars should not be funding any sort of union.

  36. Does anyone get that glass flew throughout this woman’s home where there are kids? Egregious. Plus some of the posters have it right-those who do public interest law or service make scads LESS than they would have in private arena. Get off Lorena’s back and stick to the issues at hand..not her private life. Shame on whomever did this to her. Maybe Rostra should tone down the rhetoric and personal attacks?

  37. Some of the idiocy here is beyond belief. Kids home or not, Lorena home alone or not, glass flying or not, or even NO ONE home and the rocks only hitting some plants, the action is inappropriate and CRIMINAL any time, in any instance, in any place, ALWAYS.

    The responsible party is the PERPETRATOR, the individual who committed the crime..

    The Roach post includes publicly available information and some comical references (whether funny or no) to caviar and coffee that no one could possibly take serious. Not a thing in there calling on anyone to grab torches and pitchforks. Rhetoric, yes, even lame rhetoric.

    Toning down the rhetoric and personal attacks? Wow, anyone ever see a labor hit piece on a candidate? It’s politics, none of which justifies criminal acts. Linking the two is easy scapegoating.

  38. Yes, it’s criminal conduct, kids or not. And talking about labor hit pieces, which I also do not agree with, does not make the piece on Ms. Gonzales appropriate.

  39. While I agree with the majority of commenters here that the blame for this incident falls squarely on the shoulders of the rock thrower and not on Rostra, the UT or even Mr. Roach, I do have a comment and a question:

    The comment – using the excuse that all the information was “publicly available” to justify the publication of potentially inflammatory information is a lame excuse. While many readers are attracted to popular blogs such as Rostra, I doubt many scour government websites looking for information about Lorena Gonzalez. In other words, her personal information would probably not be known to the general public were it not published by the media.

    This leads to my question – what was Mr. Roach’s goal in seeking out and publishing this information and why did the Rostra staff think that it was worth publishing?

  40. This blog should be embarrassed of itself. Derrick Roach is nothing more than a San Diego Right Wing THUG. I have to say that the Republican Party used to be a respectable opposition and civil. But like the National Republican party it has been high jacked my right wing nuts.

    This article by Roach in my opinion did cause some right wing idiot to throw a rock through Mrs. Gonzalez’s window (if the person that did, was not already connected to Roach). Is this what the members close to the SD GOP become? They try to intimidate, slander, and threaten anyone that opposes them?

    Let me make it clear like Mrs. Gonzalez did, BRING IT ON! We are not afraid of you and your ban of thugs, with your disgusting and SHAMEFUL tactics. We will continue to fight for Democratic ideals and for workers, no matter what you throw at us.

  41. Alger, isn’t it obvious why it was “worth publishing?” Roach wanted to encourage some right wing nut-ball to throw a brick through Lorena’s window! That sure helps the cause.

    Or maybe he wanted to encourage union thugs to do the same thing so that you naive progressives could then blame Lorena’s critics.

    Either way, I hope we catch the real culprits. Such violence — real or staged — has no place in American politics and discourse.

    If the brick-thrower was perchance a Lorena ally, I suspect we’ll never catch the brigand(s).

  42. Hey Columbo what actual evidence do you have that this was politically motivated? Until you have some you are just flapping your gums.

    Oh hey I think we’ll BRING IT ON with some pension reform next year.

  43. Richard,

    My question was legitimate and I still don’t know why you thought this was worth publishing. I now also don’t know why I even bother trying to have an intelligent discourse with you.

  44. Well, although you are speaking to Mr. Rider and not me, may I answer the question? Publications publish the salary of individuals all the time. Each year the Sacramento Bee publishes the salary of every legislative staff member. In fact, with the advent of the Internet they actually have a searchable on-line database of anyone employed by the state legislature. I have seen the UT publish the salaries of numerous people throughout the years.

    The UT ran a story about Dodie Rotherham who was being paid over $200,000 by the San Diego Chapter of the Red Cross and received another $50,000 from another entity affiliated with the Red Cross. Ultimately she resigned as a result of public outrage at how much she was paid.

    The CEOs of major corporations have their salaries published all the time. In fact the unions use those figures to promote their efforts and it is perfectly acceptable for them to do it.

    The IRS requires most nonprofit organizations to list the pay of their board members and staff. It is all accessible on the Internet for free and easily found within five minutes.

    I do not know why Mr. Roach put his post up on SDRostra, but he has every right to do it as do all the other publications. These people are being paid, not by private organizations but by entities that receive money from people who either donate it or in some cases have it taken out of their paycheck even though they do not want to be part of the organization i.e. unions).

    Part of the reason for requiring public disclosure is to protect against corruption, of which there is a vast history when it comes to unions in the US. If you need a history lesson on that, maybe someone can suggest a good book.

    And as I pointed out in a previous post, I would not doubt that Ms. Gonzalez gets paid by more than one union entity. I have seen several union leaders who were paid from various organizations or branches, just as Dodie Rotherham did at the Red Cross. Maybe it is because they are doing legitimate work for the other entities or maybe it is an attempt to mask the total pay the person receives.

    In the end it is all public information and ANYONE has the right to see it and use it as they see fit.

    And here is a handy link to looking up labor salaries and figures courtesy of the United States government:

  45. One last thing, Mr. Roach points out that the 2008 tax return for the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council claims that the organization does not engage in direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office (Part IV – Question 3 on the tax return).

    Well the organization does have a PAC called San Diego Works! Sponsored by San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council AFL-CIO and technically I suppose that is a separate legal entity. The campaign disclosures for the PAC lists the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council as a recipient of at least $215,331 for “campaign workers to support the Democratic Party.” I wonder what sort of non-political work the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council did for the Democratic Party that they had to be reimbursed by their PAC?

    And the PAC also received numerous non-monetary donations from the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council.

    Maybe it is all legal, but it sure does not sound ethical to me.

  46. Alger, I’ll give a try at your question.

    The piece was considerably weakened by the lack of any specific examples of alleged fraud. Drinking gourmet coffee and snacking on caviar don’t suffice. If that’s criminal, than I’m also guilty.

    I’d like to be photographed drinking gourmet coffee and eating caviar (or sushi) with Lorena, David Rolland, Richard Rider and Barry Jantz. We could then post the photo here. That would really cause comment!

  47. Red Ryder,

    Thanks for your reply and explanation. However, you still haven’t answered my question of why Rostra would think this was newsworthy or what Mr. Roach was trying to achieve with his investigation and post.

  48. Bradley,

    Thank you. In other words, this wasn’t worth posting. I thought; no, I know that Rostra is better than this. Although I don’t often agree with the opinions posted here, this is a great blog run by truly first-class people. There is no reason to stoop to this level, even if others often do.

  49. Alger,
    You’ve got a misconception: Rostra doesn’t decide if a piece is newsworthy. The individual bloggers decide that on their own — no permission is required to publish.

    There is no central Rostrafarian hive mind imposing orthodoxy and censoring politically incorrect views. (A better place to look for that enforced orthodoxy is at sites like OB Rag).

    As for what Roach intended with his post, it’s pretty plain that the intent was to attack Lorena as a hypocrite, and imply (with scant evidence) that she and the Labor Council had broken the law by performing political activities in violation of tax law.

    Speaking for myself, the hypocrisy charge doesn’t resonate against Lorena. While Mission Bay is certainly a desirable part of San Diego, it’s no La Jolla or Del Mar, or Rancho Santa Fe. Her salary is hardly egregious, and she’s not getting her money through the taxpayers.

    The beauty of free speech is that while it allows misinformation to be spread, it’s also the corrective. Obviously, Roach’s post is controversial and has generated a large number of comments for and against. People can make up their own minds by judging the evidence. That’s the First Amendment in action.

  50. Bradley,

    Thank again. I didn’t know Mr. Roach was one of your regular bloggers. I assume, and maybe I am wrong again, that Rostra wouldn’t allow just anyone to post any item.

    I do agree that free discourse is allways preferable to censorship. This just seemed like a non-story to me that was published for the sole purpose of personal attack. And as you pointed out, Rostra is not the OB Rag.

  51. Derrick Roach sought to show hypocrisy with Lorena Gonzalez living a life style considerably above that of the many rank and file union members in San Diego and Imperial Counties. She is doing this while castigating “the rich.” Sure, that is hypocritical. Rich people are bad, just not herself. Do the rank and file care if she lives like that? No, not so long as she is able to deliver a better life style for themselves. The article says of the $117,561 she receives,”That equates to approximately $1.00 from the union dues of every member she claims to represent.” I think most will agree, that all things aside, $1.00 to help increase wages and benefits is a good investment.

    Is the article inflammatory? No.
    Did it work? Yes, look at all the Lorena Gonzalez supporters who felt the need to attack the article, author and anyone else who does not agree with them.

    And Alger, if you want to be chief editor and censor why don’t you start your own blog?

  52. Alger,
    I’ve a correction: Roach posted under the “guest column” moniker. So he’s not a regular columnist. I’m sorry about the mistake. I don’t know the circumstances about how it was posted.

    Re: the OB Rag — have you noticed how much of it is not even original? The recycled press release is far from an egregious example. There’s also a column by Robert Reich that appeared on his blog, (did the Obrag get permission to republish it?) an article about Watts, and about how Obama is purportedly neutralizing the left.

    While SD Rostra’s blogpen features many writers whose views range from Libertarian to moderate conservative to arch-conservative, the Obrag’s rainbow is monochrome lefty fanboi.

  53. Thanks for being a Voice of Reason, MOLE, and rightly
    saying an, “Editor and Censor” is what some people on
    the Left want (not all of them, by the way, but many)….

  54. Bradley,

    Despite the way others may wish to characterize my beliefs, your last paragraph sums up exactly why I spend so much time reading Rostra and none reading the OB rag. Perhaps unlike others on this blog (but I hope not too many), I want to open my mind to new ideas and beliefs that may be contrary to those I hold today.

    As for this particular topic, I wasn’t supporting Ms. Gonzalez per se, I was just unable to see hypocrisy in someone making a decent living by fighting so others can also make a decent living.

  55. Alger,
    And I likewise welcome your questions. It’s boring when one only talks with true believers. Diversity in perspective is good for helping the public make informed choices, — long may SD Rostra support such diversity!

  56. It’s honestly hard to believe that anyone blogging on Rostra wants to hear from anyone who isn’t a right wing tea party type.

  57. The more I think about who is more prone to violent acts, the less likely (though still possible) it seems that some “tea bagger” tossed a brick through Lorena’s window. The unions seem to be far better at such acts — and therefore at staging such acts.

    Many think of labor union violence as ancient history. Sadly, it’s not.

    Here’s the latest recounting of labor union violence (including a shooting) — this time in Ohio.

    This is a developing story as police are still investigating the shooting of a non-union business owner, John King, by what appears to be a union assailant.

    With around 25 employees, John King owns one of the largest non-union electrical contracting businesses in the Toledo, Ohio area. As a non-union contractor, his business happens to be doing well at a time when unions in the construction industry are suffering. This, it seems, has made the usual animosity unions have for him even greater, making him a prime target of union thugs. So much so, that one of them tried to kill him last week at his home.
    John King didn’t plan on being an enemy of unions. In fact, he says all he’s ever wanted to do is work at something he loves doing and be successful at it—something that most normal Americans would call ‘The American Dream.’
    After high school and some college, Mr. King briefly worked for an IBEW contractor before being drafted into the military. Following his service in the early 70s, King became his own boss by going into business as the youngest electrical contractor in Toledo.
    Over the years, King Electrical Services had always been a small business. However, during the Great Recession, King’s business has actually improved as his union competitors have priced themselves out of work.
    Unfortunately, being a non-union electrical company, King has always been on the radar of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). In fact, in 2006, he won a significant case against the IBEW at the US Court of Appeals , after the union had improperly promised his electricians jobs on union sites if they voted the union into King’s company.
    Since he’s been in business, in addition to the legal battles and verbal abuse, King’s company has been vandalized and threatened on numerous occasions.
    “Back then, it was nothing to have to regularly buy a new set of tires.” King said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “The ice pick was the weapon of choice.”
    Until Wednesday, the worst of the union attacks on King and his business came in the mid-eighties during the UAW strike at AP Parts . During a lull during the lengthy strike, King’s business was picketed by more than 50 IBEW picketers. This was at a time when he only had eight or nine employees. One of his employees, whose car was trashed by the union picketers, was also beaten up by IBEW thugs.
    Unfortunately, the vandalism has never stopped. This year alone, he’s had to report three incidents of damage to police. This doesn’t include the incidents of stalking he and his men have to go through while they’re working.
    In one incident earlier this year, rocks were thrown through the front windows of his shop, one of which had the word “kill” written on it.
    Last Wednesday, however, the attacks on Mr. King became much more serious when he was awakened late in the evening at his home in Monroe County, Michigan and saw that the motion lights in his driveway had come on. When he looked out his front window, he saw a figure near his SUV and went outside.
    As soon as he got outside his front door, King yelled at the individual who was crouched down by King’s vehicle. As soon as King yelled, the suspect stood and, without hesitation, fired a shot at Mr. King.
    Luckily for King, as he yelled, he also stumbled. If it weren’t for that, however, John King’s injuries might have been much, much worse. In fact, he might have been killed.
    Upon scrambling back into his house, King got to his cell phone and called 911. However, due to the pain in his knees and shoulder from falling, King was unaware that he had been shot in the arm.
    At first, King thought that his assailant was merely trying to break into his vehicle. Little did he know, however, that the perpetrator was targeting him–because of his non-union company.
    The night of the shooting, police recovered a shell casing from a small caliber handgun. In addition to the shell casing, police also found a Swiss Army knife that police say was likely going to be used to slice the tires on King’s SUV.
    While neither the police, nor Mr. King can say which union was behind the attack, it is very clear by the word ’scab’ scrawled on his SUV that it the attack was union-related.
    “The police have been very thorough,” King says. “I cannot praise the Monroe County Sheriff’s department enough.”
    The Monroe County Sheriff’s office is encouraging anyone with information to call 734-240-7530.
    In addition, Mr. King is offering a $10,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

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