Last Tuesday’s failed recall election against Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern was a clear repudiation of an attempt by labor to wrest control of the city council in one of San Diego County’s largest municipalities.
Fellow SD FlashReport blogger Duane Dichiara wrote about the results on Wednesday, in A Crushing Defeat for Labor in Bellweather Oceanside Election. Here too are several SD Rostra posts on the election.
In many (if not most) cases, local elected officials — including Republicans — are fearful of not having public safety union endorsements, as voters will often respond positively to police and fire association messages and endorsements. Yet, the outcome in Oceanside shows how the public will respond when they are truly informed about the issues at hand.
The overall lesson is that when a city is caught up in the emotion of a recall election for several weeks, with both sides focused on messaging in a very singular fashion (not your everyday run-of-the-mill ballot choices), the voters will naturally be more informed and focused themselves, resulting in weakened union messages that don’t resonate in the usual manner.
The specific lesson for labor… Continue to risk these attempts and you won’t be as sucessful as you may have thought, while even alienating the public by forcing needed tax dollars into frivolous uses (hundreds of thousands of dollars in Oceanside for the recall election). The lesson for elected officials and/or candidates… If, due to the economy and unsustainable public employee salaries/pensions, the city simply doesn’t have the money, you can’t suck more out of a dried fruit. Standing up and saying so may not be a death knell at the hands of labor, especially if you can effectively educate the public to the reality of the financial situation.
All that said, an effective grassroots effort also goes a long way in these circumstances. Assembywoman Diane Harkey paid a nice tribute to the CCRs on Wednesday for being instrumental in just such an effort…
From The Desk Of
ASSEMBLYWOMAN DIANE L. HARKEY
College Republicans Win One for Oceanside
Last night voters of the 73rd Assembly District in the city of Oceanside resoundingly rejected the union-financed attempt to recall City Councilman Jerry Kern by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. Jerry Kern’s victory, supported by the strong grassroots program implemented by the California College Republicans and led by Chairman Michael Antonopoulos, sends a strong message that the taxpayers of California are not a blank check for public employee unions.
The College Republicans organized a five week field program that consisted of phone banking, targeted absentee ballot chasing, large weekend precinct walks, and a well-oiled GOTV program that led to a 63% victory for Councilman Kern on election night.
Special recognition should go to Michael Antonopoulos and the team of California College Republican leaders including Megan Rodriguez, Clinton Soffer, Chasen Bullock, Matthew Donnellan, and Matthew Dobler who worked tirelessly to make this victory possible.
Most importantly, congratulations Jerry Kern and the taxpayers of Oceanside!
Indeed. Well stated.
Also, the following letter from Kern appeared in the North County Times…
Thanks to the city of Oceanside
I want to publicly acknowledge and thank the hundreds of community volunteers and the thousands of voters who contributed to the overwhelming defeat of a recall measure aimed at me. It wasn’t easy having to read and hear the distortions and outright falsehoods circulated by the small group that campaigned for my removal, nor was it easy for my wife and other loved ones to be exposed to these attacks on a daily basis for months.
But knowing we had the support and understanding of so many of you who took the time to call me, gave of your time to walk door-to-door on my behalf, or contributed monetarily to the campaign committee kept my spirits up and strengthened my resolve to fight the special interests which sought unsuccessfully to abuse the recall process.
The final election result, which rejected the recall by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, reinforced my faith in the thoughtfulness and fairness of Oceanside voters. I will do my best in the remaining months of my term to justify the faith and support all of you have given to me.