Gonzalez punishes Gloria and Lightner

Tony Manolatos Tony Manolatos 11 Comments

[captionpix imgsrc=”http://sdrostra.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/lorena.jpg” captiontext=”Lorena Gonzalez”]

Politics & Media Mashup

There was a short but very telling story in Friday’s U-T San Diego. On the surface, “Labor gives ‘F’ grade to five on S.D. council” does not look like much more than a few inches on B2, but the story highlights how cutthroat politics can be at City Hall.

The piece, written by Jen Lebron Kuhney, says only two council members, Democrats Marti Emerald and David Alvarez, received passing grades. Each received a B.

Democrat Todd Gloria received a D and Democrat Sherri Lightner received an F — the same grade given to Republican council members Carl DeMaio, Kevin Faulconer and Lorie Zapf and Council President Tony Young, a pro-business Democrat.

Union boss Lorena Gonzalez says in the story the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, which handed out the grades, is not endorsing Gloria or Lightner for reelection in June. Sitting out the races was not enough of a message. A failing report card (from a credible and unbiased source) would show ’em who’s boss.

The labor council endorsed Gloria and Lightner when they first ran for office. So what did the two Democrats do to upset Gonzalez and her inner circle?

Lightner has never cozied up to labor, but Gloria has carried a ton of water for Gonzalez. Gloria is quoted in the story as saying:

“Apparently you can author an ordinance challenging super centers, be the acknowledged leader on homelessness and affordable housing and still be cast as someone who does not care about working families.”

Gloria also said his score suffered because the rubric used for grading featured some issues, including the San Diego Convention Center expansion plans, multiple times.

I was shocked to learn labor’s scoring system was skewed.

Gloria fell out of favor with Gonzalez in January when he voted to move forward with the financing plan to expand the convention center. Emerald and Alvarez were the only two council members who voted against the financing plan.

Gloria also voted recently to shift sales and marketing from the convention center to ConVis, a move hotel owners requested. Alvarez cast the lone “no” vote. Gonzalez and convention center employees fumed. The U-T’s story put it this way:

Lorena Gonzalez, secretary-treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, blasted the shift as “a terrible, terrible example of government not working. It was a clear, huge giveaway,” she said.

Lightner’s lukewarm support of the Comprehensive Pension Reform measure on the June ballot was among the items that soured her relationship with Gonzalez. Ray Ellis, an impressive coastal Republican running against Lightner, could benefit.

Gloria is running unopposed. My guess is things between Gonzalez and Gloria will improve when she finds she needs him for something important. When that happens, maybe Gloria will take a page from Nathan Fletcher’s book and tell Gonzalez he’s not interested in playing games.

Rostra broke the news this week that U-T Metro columnist Tom Blair was no longer with the paper. We’ve asked Jeff Light, the newspaper’s executive editor, to fill us in but he hasn’t responded.

I like Blair. He’s affable, he knows a lot and he has good sources. But I have wondered how long the U-T would keep him and Diane Bell because they basically wrote the same column – light news and notes from around town.

Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis wrote a smart piece this week about Fletcher and the controversial midnight deal he brokered in Sacramento a couple years ago. It’s worth a read.

Lastly, former San Diego City Council member Donna Frye pointed me to a letter she wrote to Voice of San Diego Friday about a recent council decision that might not hold up. In another letter Frye wrote earlier this month to Voice she wryly noted the differences between two financial outlooks at City Hall.

I always enjoy hearing from Professor Frye. That’s what some of us called her when I worked at City Hall because her understanding of policy and politics was often unmatched.


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Tony Manolatos is a communications strategist. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedInYou can hear Tony talk politics and media with KOGO’s LaDona Harvey every Friday at 2:35 p.m. on AM 600 and FM 95.7.

Comments 11

  1. It reminds me of the time that the Labor Council refused to endorse Susan Davis after her vote for Fast Track. Of course, Davis still won with 70% of the vote and the only lesson she learned was that she didn’t need Labor’s support. This is a very bad decision that won’t hurt Gloria or Lightner, but it will hurt the Labor Council.

  2. Wow, those unions seem awfully rigid. You know, sticking to their principles and all.

    Interesting how the media isn’t asking unions to compromise and be more “reasonable.”

    Someone should form an organization to demand government unions move to the middle.

    Call me crazy…

  3. I would argue that Todd and Lorena’s split started during Redistricting. The map labor put out didn’t even keep Todd in his own District. Todd was none too pleased about that.

  4. A+ to Hugh Akston for catching that vital detail. Making a Man pull up stakes will drop the ambient air temperature 30 degrees in any political party.

  5. Tony,

    The Labor Council is a special interest group whose sole purpose is to protect workers’ rights. This is similar to other special interests groups like the NRA (gun-ownership rights), CALA (preventing law-suit abuse and the Sierra Club (environmental protection). I would expect any one of these groups to be single-minded and only support candidates who are with them on their one issue. Political parties, on the other hand, are focused on a number of issues and can’t afford to discourage people from supporting them just because they disagree on one or more of those issues. Or perhaps you are satisfied with the fact that only 28.2% of the registered voters in the City of San Diego are registered as Republicans.

  6. For the Record:

    3 of the 5… Members of Congress in San Diego county are REPUBLICAN
    4 of the 7….. State Assemblymen in San Diego county are REPUBLICAN
    5 of the 5…..County Supervisors in San Diego County are REPUBLICAN
    4 of the 4….Countywide electeds in San Diego County are REPUBLICAN

    How bad a job is the Republican Party of San Diego doing, Alger?


  7. Alger, you are wrong about one point. The unions have little interest in workers RIGHTS — they are almost exclusively interested in worker COMPENSATION (which is fine, in and of itself). A related interest it so force more people to JOIN their unions, and to pay ever higher dues TO the unions.

    But worker RIGHTS?? Nahhhhh. Especially the right to choose.

    Unions are all about coercion — the implied if not explicit use of legal and sometimes illegal force against both workers and employers. “Card check” is but the latest example.

    This is quite different than the NRA. The NRA does not use force to get people to join, nor do they use force to make people buy guns. Indeed, the NRA, UNLIKE the labor unions, IS all about worker rights — the 2nd Amendment right to “keep and bear firearms.”

  8. Richard,

    As usual you completely (intentionally or otherwise) missed my point and are attempting to change the conversation. I have no intention of enabling your attempt at deflection.

  9. Richard, in all fairness, Alger is correct.

    Alger wasn’t trying to compare unions with the NRA. He made a point about how special interest groups make political decisions based on their particular agendas, while political parties are of necessity coalitions.

    On another topic, I think it’s not correct to say that it is Gonzalez who “punishes” Gloria and Lightner. Gonzalez isn’t a dictator. She reports to the Labor Council’s board, and wouldn’t take such a step unless the board wanted it.

  10. Jim,

    I was referring to the City since we were talking about members of the City Council, but fair enough; the Republican Party has been very dominant in County elections for many years. However, it was not that long ago that they were equally dominant in the City.

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