News

Labor endorsements divide council candidates

Some call union endorsements a 'conflict,' others embrace labor support

Palo Alto's heated negotiations with its largest labor union have created a split between City Council candidates who have received endorsements from labor groups and those who say such endorsements constitute a "conflict of interests."

The issue became publicized at Monday night's council meeting, when candidate Tim Gray urged three of his competitors -- Corey Levens, Nancy Shepherd and Gail Price -- to decline the support of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council and to set aside what he called "conflicted money."

The labor organization, which represents the interests of dozens of unions in Santa Clara and San Benito counties, has not contributed any money to the three candidates to date, though it proclaims its endorsement of the three candidates on its website. Gray was one of several candidates -- a list that also includes Councilman Larry Klein, Leon Leong, Karen Holman and Brian Steen -- who declined to go through the endorsement process citing a conflict of interests.

Palo Alto has been in intense negotiations since May with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents 617 city workers. City officials have proposed reducing workers' health care and pension benefits -- proposals the workers have vehemently resisted.

Gray said Monday that the labor group's plan is to get three of its choices elected to the nine-member council, which will see at least four new faces next year. Gray pointed to the labor group's 2007 endorsement of two current council members, Yiaway Yeh and Sid Espinosa, and said the labor group is looking to get a "majority" of supporters on the council.

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He said the labor group's endorsement, which he expects to be accompanied by expensive mailers and other potential campaign contributions should be rejected.

"Gail Price, Corey Levens, Nancy Shepherd -- I urge them to set aside this conflicted money and be independent," Gray said at the council meeting.

Levens, a corporate attorney who is also seeking a council seat, called Gray's statements "irresponsible" and said they only serve to ferment "the discord and the unbelievable animosity growing in the community."

Levens said the labor council endorsed him because he supports collective bargaining, prevailing-wage policies and other bedrock concepts of the labor movement. He said he did not receive any money from the organization but expects to get some assistance in campaigning.

Levens also said he supports having at least one council member present during contract negotiations.

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"They endorsed me because I'm willing to talk to them," Levens said.

Nancy Shepherd, who attended Monday's meeting, pointed out that she only accepts contributions from individuals, not from political action committees, and said she received no money from the labor organization.

Gail Price said she shares the workers' commitment to collective bargaining principles and proposed creation of a joint committee of city and labor officials that would meet throughout the year and strengthen the relationship between the two groups.

Price told the Weekly Tuesday she was surprised by Gray's comments and noted that she has received endorsements from a wide range of organization -- a list that includes the Santa Clara Valley Democratic Party and Sierra Club.

"I'm an independent thinker and I have a long record that shows that I'm an independent thinker," Price told the Weekly.

Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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Labor endorsements divide council candidates

Some call union endorsements a 'conflict,' others embrace labor support

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 6, 2009, 5:59 pm

Palo Alto's heated negotiations with its largest labor union have created a split between City Council candidates who have received endorsements from labor groups and those who say such endorsements constitute a "conflict of interests."

The issue became publicized at Monday night's council meeting, when candidate Tim Gray urged three of his competitors -- Corey Levens, Nancy Shepherd and Gail Price -- to decline the support of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council and to set aside what he called "conflicted money."

The labor organization, which represents the interests of dozens of unions in Santa Clara and San Benito counties, has not contributed any money to the three candidates to date, though it proclaims its endorsement of the three candidates on its website. Gray was one of several candidates -- a list that also includes Councilman Larry Klein, Leon Leong, Karen Holman and Brian Steen -- who declined to go through the endorsement process citing a conflict of interests.

Palo Alto has been in intense negotiations since May with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents 617 city workers. City officials have proposed reducing workers' health care and pension benefits -- proposals the workers have vehemently resisted.

Gray said Monday that the labor group's plan is to get three of its choices elected to the nine-member council, which will see at least four new faces next year. Gray pointed to the labor group's 2007 endorsement of two current council members, Yiaway Yeh and Sid Espinosa, and said the labor group is looking to get a "majority" of supporters on the council.

He said the labor group's endorsement, which he expects to be accompanied by expensive mailers and other potential campaign contributions should be rejected.

"Gail Price, Corey Levens, Nancy Shepherd -- I urge them to set aside this conflicted money and be independent," Gray said at the council meeting.

Levens, a corporate attorney who is also seeking a council seat, called Gray's statements "irresponsible" and said they only serve to ferment "the discord and the unbelievable animosity growing in the community."

Levens said the labor council endorsed him because he supports collective bargaining, prevailing-wage policies and other bedrock concepts of the labor movement. He said he did not receive any money from the organization but expects to get some assistance in campaigning.

Levens also said he supports having at least one council member present during contract negotiations.

"They endorsed me because I'm willing to talk to them," Levens said.

Nancy Shepherd, who attended Monday's meeting, pointed out that she only accepts contributions from individuals, not from political action committees, and said she received no money from the labor organization.

Gail Price said she shares the workers' commitment to collective bargaining principles and proposed creation of a joint committee of city and labor officials that would meet throughout the year and strengthen the relationship between the two groups.

Price told the Weekly Tuesday she was surprised by Gray's comments and noted that she has received endorsements from a wide range of organization -- a list that includes the Santa Clara Valley Democratic Party and Sierra Club.

"I'm an independent thinker and I have a long record that shows that I'm an independent thinker," Price told the Weekly.

Comments

NeilPatrickHaris
Green Acres
on Oct 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm
NeilPatrickHaris, Green Acres
on Oct 6, 2009 at 6:14 pm

I heard the labor union was behind Victor Frost.
Any truth to this?


R Wray
Midtown
on Oct 6, 2009 at 6:38 pm
R Wray, Midtown
on Oct 6, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I doubt if there is any truth to it. Frost is just a moocher; citizens are free to support him or not.
The union demands its perks through the city government. Individual taxpayers are not free to reject them. There is a fundamental difference between economic power (voluntary with Frost) and political power (forced with the unions).


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm

As regards the clearly obvious grandstanding and demagoguery displayed by candidate Gray I would direct readers to a guest editorial by LaDoris Cordell.

Web Link

You can scroll to the bottom and find Mr. Gray's comments again.

As regards ACORN and SEIU and ACORN and SEIU..(and Sal Alinsky and Obama and Sal Alinsky and Obama, etc.)

A...or rather as regards trying to use the current right wing assault on ACORN as ammo against SEIU...

I would direct readers to...

Web Link

and

Web Link

And for some specifics as to how the next target for the fringe right is SEIU, see this link.

Web Link

It is my hope that a fair settlement can be reached soon as regards the city workers and management. I do not hope for a strike.
However should one occur, or loom ever more likely on the horizon.
I would encourage citizens to first look at the ideological Godfather of the current intransigent stance taken by management....

Web Link

(It's San Mateo Co., but is the kickoff of the current mindset). I view this Grand Rigged Jury as an abuse of the Grand Jury process----using a grand jury in order to facilitate a group price fixing consensus. If the various managers had met and agreed to all hold a certain line as regards negotiations this would have probably been a prosecutable crime.

But in any event....getting to the meat of the matter.

While there is a recession and I can see the need for some belt tightening.....

It seems fools have rushed in and we may all be the victims of a right wing spin job. If a strike does come to pass, I ask readers to look at the above links, see the vitriolic right wing posts here opposed to SEIU (and playing the ACORN card) and ask if you wish the city management to be played by these people and to these ends? Do you want your tax dollars spent as part of a right wing national campaign against SEIU?

They targeted ACORN to get at Obama (ACORN was very successful in registering millions of people to vote and was targeted by Karl Rove back in the Bush era). SEIU was the first major labor union to endorse Obama over Hilary Clinton and is the next target.

And now candidate Gray is letting us know how he comes down on all this.


tusks
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2009 at 9:27 pm
tusks, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 6, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Anonymous, nice balanced review there!


lazlo
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2009 at 8:41 am
lazlo, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2009 at 8:41 am

what about SEIU and the recent UFO sightings in South America? Coincidence or .....


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 8:48 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 8:48 am

Please don't kill the messenger. This is a stand for Justice and Fairness and a reporting of the facts. If an anti-union organization was backing a group of candidates, I would have an obligation to the truth to call out the candidates with that conflict of interest as well.

This is not for or against labor. We simply must vigorously defend our local institutions from the undue influence of special interests. That is not supporting the Right or the Left, is simply doing what is Correct.

My comments are simply being a champion of independence. If IBM had a multi-million dollar contract in consideration before the Council, I would feel a loyalty to the truth to call out also advocate that Candidates not accept support or contributions from that source.

This is about about freeing local government from the undue influence of special interest, and is neither an anti-labor or pro-labor stand. I am simply reporting a scenario that has a conflict of interest.

Let's all rally behind a solid Principle, and not get lost in the details of whether a Just Principle favors a particular position at the moment. Justice is blind. Just say no to conflict of interest.

Let's stick to a Principle-based discussion and unite around building a better City Government where everybody wins. Cooperation is one step forward, name-calling is two steps back. Join me in forward progress, and not sweep difficult topics under the rug.

This is about building a level playing field for civil discourse.

Offered with the greatest respect and appreciation for the work provided by the City of Palo Alto emmployees.

Timothy Gray, Candidate for Palo Alto (I am not seeking endorsement or contributions.)


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 9:18 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 9:18 am

Someone appropriately pointed out that I needed to state that "I am not accepting contributions."

I have signed the Declaration of Independence.

Thanks for this subtle but important distinction.

Best regards,

Tim Gray (I not accepting contributions.)


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 9:19 am
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 9:19 am

"The Messenger"?

One message would be to not actively seek labor endorsements.

Another stepped up message would be to reject any such endorsement.

A further escalation would be to issue forth a call for ALL candidates to reject out of hand any endorsement by labor.

I guess every demagogue could style themselves a "Messenger"

Demogogue..

"a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power"

I can only end by posting some of what LaDoris Cordell wrote. If the shoe fits...

"If the candidates who now refuse to seek the union's endorsement had adopted an across-the-board no-endorsements policy, then their refusal to seek union support would be laudable.

But they have not. To the contrary, these candidates are actively seeking the endorsements of other special-interest groups, including realtors, developers, environmentalists and neighborhood associations.

The great majority of council decisions concern land use, zoning and housing issues. As a consequence, developers and realtors frequently appear before the council to advocate for their various projects.

Arguing on the other side, oftentimes, are environmentalists and representatives of neighborhood associations, of all whom are well known to council members. These interest groups are in no different a position than are the members of SEIU with respect to what they seek from our council -- to be fairly heard and fairly treated.

Therefore for these candidates to single out only SEIU's endorsement is naive at best and hypocritical at worst.

Tensions are high as the city management and union leaders negotiate SEIU's new contract. Talk of a pending strike has escalated. This is not the time for council candidates to engage in union bashing, which, sadly, is exactly what those who have singled out the union in this fashion are encouraging.

We need council members who represent all of our community, which includes our hardworking city employees. An endorsement from the union is no less an honor than an endorsement from any other group, nor is it more of a conflict of interest."


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 10:09 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 10:09 am

With all due respect and appreciation for the above post, but the assertions above need correction.

LaDoris now knows that I am the exception to her writing, and the shoe does not fit. I am not accepting contributions, and you will see from the League of Women Voters site "Smartvoter.org" (and all other campaign information) that my wife and three children (Julia 7, Michael 7 and Catherine 10).

That was a light-hearted way to say that I am free special interests. Of course, freedom of speach gives anyone the right to come out for or against my candidacy. That is an expression of opinion which I have no control.

Best regards,

Timothy Gray (The absolutely independent candidate for Palo Alto City Council)


Lois
Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 10:49 am
Lois, Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 10:49 am

What is more important than whether candidates have received contributions from SEIU members, is their gender. Women in PA have taken note of the recent actions and decisions of our male dominated City Council and are looking for competent, intelligent, women to represent our point of view on Council. It is definitely time for a gender change!!


Mike
Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 10:56 am
Mike, Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 10:56 am

LaDoris (a former council member) and some current members of the council are the main reasons why Palo Alto is currently headed down the road to becoming a life support system for unions and exorbitant pensions.

We cannot afford more council members who think this way. Bankruptcy, cessation of most services we value or both are inevitable when a city cannot pay its short and long obligations.

Why do so many residents feel it is our obligation to provide above market compensation and platinum retirement for (in the main) ordinary job responsibilities and performance expectations? Are you happy to trade off the dollars needed for infrastructure maintenance and improvements to make this happen?

I do not know Gray, but no union ties or endorsements makes him a possibility for my vote - assuming he has the other essential qualifications needed to help run our city.


Sharon
Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:09 am
Sharon, Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:09 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Wha?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:16 am
Wha?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:16 am

Candidates accept endorsements and contributions from members of the community who are realtors, developers and other "specail interest" groups all the time. Labor is one part of our community. A candidate should not take contributions from a group or individual who is part of a group that they don't support.

Candidate Gray, who are your major contributors? Have you published a list of their names and "affiliations"? How many have an interest in forwarding their businesses or agendas through you? It is part of the process, and one that needs transparency.

Labor is not the enemy.


Follow-the-Money
Community Center
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:36 am
Follow-the-Money, Community Center
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:36 am

> Candidates accept endorsements and contributions from members
> of the community who are realtors, developers and other
> "specail interest" groups all the time.

Yes .. and this acceptance of campaign contributions from people, groups, organizations not located in Palo Alto also has become common place. The current mayor, P. Drekmeier, accepted about 45% of his contributions from outside Palo Alto. Yiaway Yeh accepted most of his money from outside Palo Alto too.

Some candidates have accepted less money from real estate people, and developers during the campaigns--but sometimes accept contributions after the end of the campaign so that the money from these sources is missed by those papers that print this sort of information.

Money and politics are intertwined .. make no mistake.


Maxie
Downtown North
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:41 am
Maxie, Downtown North
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:41 am

Hooray fpr candidate Gray.
It is time we broke the heavy handed influence of this labor union. The most important criterion for supporting a candidate in this coming election is their position w/r/t the demands of this labor union. Today's labor union is the enemy of good and effective government for the people of this city.


Mike
Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:43 am
Mike, Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:43 am

What do ACORN and the SEIU have to do with this election?

Nothing would be the hoped for answer. But you may have noticed that the city is in negotiations with the SEIU right now, and that they have already gone out on strike. And SEIU locals in other locations have contributed heavily to ACORN and ACORN subsidiaries (ACORN is structured of almost nothing but subsidiaries.) These contributions have taken the form of 'loans' deemed later repaid "in kind".

So yes, unfortunately there is a demonstrable connection between the SEIU and ACORN. And if you think ACORN works only to legitimately enroll minority voters you need to get informed.


Sharon
Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:53 am
Sharon, Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

The demonization of ACORN by right wing fanatics continues. Any person and/or organization remotely associated with ACORN will be vilified. This is not new. This went on last year leading up to the presidential election. There is an element in this country that are against any efforts made to register minorities and poor people.


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:54 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:54 am

This is Timothy Gray and thank you for your request:

1. I have not requested or received any donations. Again, I have received no campaign contributions.
2. I am not requesting or accepting endorsements. While I am not seeking endorsements, one party did offer an endorsement, and I have asked that that endorsement be removed. This is the same step that I am asking the others to take.

You are absolutely right that it is part of the process and one that needs transparency.

You are absolutely correct that "Labor is not the enemy." This is about the principle of Conflict of Interest. I have great respect and appreciation for the City of Palo Alto employees.

This is about independence. Being free to stand in the middle and take positive action for the greater good of the community -- and yes that community includes the employees. We can find a win-win solution.

Timothy Gray (I am not seeking or accepting endorsement or contributions.)


Follow-the-Money
Community Center
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:55 am
Follow-the-Money, Community Center
on Oct 7, 2009 at 11:55 am


> Labor is not the enemy ..

Yes, it is!

The following is a recent editorial about the negative impact of labor unions in the Chicago area, and nationally --

---
Web Link

Labor unrest

Labor unions like to remind us that they are "the folks who brought you the weekend." These days we tend to think of them as the folks who brought us TOOT, or "time off overtime," a scam under which Cook County highway employees were able to bill taxpayers for 20 hours of work by calling in sick and then pulling an eight-hour "overtime" shift the same day.

That warm glow of gratitude toward the Norma Raes of the world is fading, replaced by a growing sense that it's us against them. A Gallup poll released this month found that nearly two thirds of Americans believe unions benefit their own members, while 62 percent believe they mostly hurt non-union workers. And 51 percent say labor unions mostly hurt the U.S. economy.

In other words, unions help their members -- at the expense of everyone else. Case in point: the U.S. auto industry.

Fewer than half of Americans -- an all-time low of 48 percent -- approve of labor unions, the poll found.
-------


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:09 pm
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I would also like to point out that Palo Alto Online is increasing showing, through it's selection of headlines, that it seeks to stoke the fires a bit here.

"Labor Endorsements divide council candidates".......

One candidate is challenging others to reject any endorsement from SEIU.


Wha?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:15 pm
Wha?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Mr. Gray,

Thank you for your quick response!

I admire your ability to run a campaign without outside money or endorsements. How do you feel about someone running who doesn't have that option - perhaps they need to raise money to run a successful campaign? How can they remain as unaffected as you by outside interests?

Most people running do need outside help to compete with people of money who can run their own campaigns.


Jo Ann
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:23 pm
Jo Ann, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:23 pm

I thank Mr. Gray for bringing up the issue of labor endorsements. I also find it interesting that none of the 3 other candidates he named took this as an opportunity to talk about reining in labor costs and raises at a time when the private sector unemployment has skyrocketed.

When we're paying a single city employee more than $90,000 in overtime, it would seem it would be time to get a handle on these out-of-conrol costs.

If Mr. Gray would post his contact information, I'd be glad to call him about a lawn sign.

I'd also like to hear from the other candidates about their position on reining in costs at a time when retail business is down and private sector unemployment continues to rise yet city workers continue to get raises and benefits most of us envy.


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm

There seems to be a big gap here somewhere. From one pole we have the headlines and the basic gist of the news story. Candidate Gray is standing up firm against evil SEIU, urging others to cast aside any recommendations. (No one has gotten any financial contributions from SEIU according to the story).

But then when pressed Candidate Gray seems to be saying that he is neither seeking or accepting endorsements or contributions from ANYBODY. And it just so happens to be that the negotiations with the city management and the city workers represented by SEIU happens to be the issue which just coincidentally highlights his righteous stand.

Does anyone really fall for this charade?

Does anyone really think that if the pressing issue before the city were some issue regarding real estate, or the envirornment, etc., that the same "play" would be seen?

Give me a break.


No name
another community
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm
No name, another community
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Good going, Gray. I suspect you would have been a "founding father" about 230 year ago! Freedom from conflict of interest, running for the real good of the community, not for the good of special interests..transparency and honesty..now THAT is change I can believe in!

Wish I could vote in Palo Alto...


Joh Galt
Fairmeadow
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm
Joh Galt, Fairmeadow
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Hi,
Thanks Mr. Gray for letting us know the candidates that the SEIU will hope to be stacking the council in their favor. Makes voting easier.


Wha?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm
Wha?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Hmm. Interesting support for Gray here. I have enjoyed the online conversation with this candidate, but is it true that there are folks here that think only those wealthy enough to not need outside help should run for public office?

Face it, everyone has an agenda. Some are easier to read, some can be hidden by money.

Grey seems outright and upfront. I hope he addresses some of the more serious comments.


Sharon
Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm
Sharon, Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm


Timothy Grays stance is admirable and he is stimulating a healthy and much needed revelation concerning conflict of interest vis a vis SEIU.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Mike
Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm
Mike, Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Sharon's knee jerk response defending ACORN by stating that anyone attaching negatives to them is a right wing fanatic or a ditto head is vacuous. If you meant to imply that since ACORN is doing 'something' right then we should accept everything else they do, then that is also vacuous.

The US Senate has for now curtailed further funds for ACORN because of the current allegations, and numerous states are also investigating ACORN. Perhaps you should see what plays out before you decide that we are all ditto heads for not wanting ACORN or an ACORN/SEIU partnership playing a role in our city. We already have enough problems.

Just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not out to get you.


Mike
Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm
Mike, Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Sharon
Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm
Sharon, Midtown
on Oct 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Follow-the-Money
Community Center
on Oct 7, 2009 at 2:17 pm
Follow-the-Money, Community Center
on Oct 7, 2009 at 2:17 pm

> No one has gotten any financial contributions from
> SEIU according to the story

Labor unions have a history of filing late in the campaign, or after the campaign is over. The fact that SIEU hasn't written any checks at this time means nothing.


Deep Throat
another community
on Oct 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm
Deep Throat, another community
on Oct 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Tim Gray is repeating the tactic of successful 2003 City Council candidate LaDoris Cordell who began her campaign by announcing that she was not accepting any contributions. People with the names "Tim Gray" and "LaDoris Cordell" are posting opposite opinions on this thread, but I confess that I've never seen the two of them in the same place at the same time. Are they really two people or just two names for the same person?


Bob Woodward
Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm
Bob Woodward, Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I'm very tired of hearing about conspiracy theories, especially some of the more ridiculous ones about Obama and Gray/Cordell multiple personalities. Don't you care about their birth certificates? Feh.


Seriously, I thank Gray for bringing up the important issue of controlling the rising costs of city government when so many of the rest of us are suffering from rising unemployment.

It would be nice to hear from the other candidates about how and if they'll control costs and benefits. For most of us, pensions are small French hotels with an "e" added to them.


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I posted a link to LaDoris Cordell's comments in an earlier Op piece, then also pasted in some of the text.

I am not LaDoris Cordell.

Just in case anyone is confused.

The issue isn't that Gray (or Cordell in earlier campaigns) isn't accepting any donations, or accepting any endorsements.

The other candidates aren't being "challenged"--either here by PA Online or by candidate Gray (hard to know the boundaries heh?) to not accept any donations/endorsements from anyone and anything. The SEIU is being targeted specifically. Apparently all the other canndidates could fill their coffers full of cash from every realtor and developere, every other political party, etc., and that would be all fine and good. Just join Gray in his 100% rule by removing SEIU from any endorsement acceptance.

Is this some type of political spin learned at Stanford? I recognize the style.


Mike
Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm
Mike, Crescent Park
on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Take a look at what the New York Times has said about the connection between SEIU and ACORN:

From the New York Times:

“S.E.I.U. has a good deal of its finances tied up and entangled with Acorn, and since 2006 it has given nearly $4 million to Acorn,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Republican Party of Virginia, which has asked the Democratic candidate for governor, Creigh Deeds, to return contributions received from the union. “Their activists work together, their directors and senior members are intertwined. With what we know about Acorn’s and the S.E.I.U.’s symbiotic relationship, it seems only right that this money should be returned.” [...]

Acorn’s founder, Wade Rathke, who has been forced out because of an embezzlement scandal involving his brother, helped found the service employees union’s local in New Orleans and long belonged to the parent union’s board. The union’s president, Andy Stern, belongs to an advisory panel created to help straighten out Acorn’s finances.

Or the Washington Post:

From the Washington Post:

The SEIU’s parent organization has paid ACORN for training, voter registration and other organizing work, and SEIU locals have paid ACORN affiliates for their services, according to union reports. ACORN founder Wade Rathke was a top member of the SEIU’s board until last year and founded two SEIU locals — in Chicago and New Orleans. SEIU President Andy Stern serves on an advisory panel that was supposed to help ACORN fix financial problems after an embezzlement was discovered last year. Other leaders have served both ACORN and the SEIU, including Keith Kelleher, who headed SEIU Local 880 and also held an ACORN staff position, and whose wife ran the ACORN office in Illinois.


Sharon moran
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 6:40 pm
Sharon moran, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2009 at 6:40 pm

So mike seiu and acorn are forbidden to have any kind working arrangement? This demonization of acorn and seiu is ridiculous. So there may be some bad apples in acorn. Which organization does not have probls sometimes? Maybe we should shut down the catholic church. Just because helps poor people and minorities vote this has become a problem for certain white people in America-- that and the fact we have a black president has pushed some people over the edge and they chooseto vilify not only acorn but any group that is working with acorn


A Noun EA Mus
Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 1:53 am
A Noun EA Mus, Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 1:53 am

Yeah imagine if ACORN had 5% of the Pedophilia that can be attributed to Priests and the Catholic Church (or for that matter the Boy Scouts)! Not just some guy hired to staff an office suggesting to some supposed pimp to list the girls as dependents.

Of if ACORN had even 1% of the actual convictions and fines (not just media hokus pokus) that so many defense contractors and drug companies (Pfizer being the latest billions of dollars in fines).

I really have to chuckle at the attempt to smear SEIU with the ACORN brush. While ACORN has it's internal problems and deficiencies, the frenzied and crazed attacks are way over the line past any basis in reality.

Now on this thread, as Candidate Gray seems to be almost piously begging off the stance ascribed to him by the somewhat hysterical PA Online Headlines, the "SEIU/ACORN is a sinister duo" folks continue to back up my observations that any engineered strike will only bring out the worst. What a polarity! "You take the high road and I'll take the low road, we'll see who can hoodwink before ya."

For all the fanfare and media frenzy, ACORN as an organization hasn't been fined or found guilty of anything. The past President of ACORN did resign after a scandal involvning his brother. And there is an effort underway to address why/how that happened. And then Andy Stern gets blasted because he is part of that effort!

Some of the people ACORN hired to do voter registration forged some names. But ACORN informed that this had happened. No fraudulent votes were ever cast. And then ACORN got blamed. The "problem" with ACORN isn't fradulent voters, it's the legitimate voters they do register---why Karl Rove fired Republican Attorney Generals unwilling to go along with an earlier attempt to bring in false and bogus indictments.

A right wing for hire service sent in the couple pretending to be a pimp and a prostitute. After being turned out of many ACORN offices they did manage to shoot some footage of people hired to staff their offices saying some pretty bad or stupid things. BUT, again, no crime has been documented to have been committed. Unless stupid speech is a crime.

So a big straw house attack is underway against ACORN---one fed by and tied to the most fringe right wing elements and drawing in the entire right like a Black Hole.

Then atop the straw house they attempt to place SEIU. One of ACORN's deficiencies is that it was too laid back and not truly organized enough to fight the big fights. So it was an easy target.

SEIU is different in that regard. And there is a strong and steady developing awareness that what has been done to ACORN is plain wrong and outright despicable. So SEIU will have more defenders at the ready.


Truth
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:11 am
Truth, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:11 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:41 am
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:41 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:52 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:52 am

Let's bring the conversation back to Palo Alto and stay on the point of "Just Say No" to conflicts of interest.

I know of no other Special Interests that have declared that they are aiming to gaining a majority control of our City Council, but if I did, I would offer the same disclosure, and request to any sponsored candidates to set aside the special interest.

If anyone else discovers large (greater than $5000 or some reasonable level) endorsers and supporters that have an interest in influencing a council action, we should discuss it in this same forum. Bring on the democracy and candor -- just keep it civil. We may discover other conflicts of interest. Remember, the predominent sentiment is that government is controlled by special interest -- it is time to start naming names. Let your intellectual honesty separate the observations of conflicted interest from your personal sentiments of the underlying issues. Let's skin this onion!


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:54 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:54 am

My contact information is:

Timothygray@sbcglobal.net
www.Vote4gray.com
650 493-3000

Best regards,

Timothy Gray


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 8:59 am
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 8:59 am

Being endorsed equals being controlled?

Accepting an endorsement equals accepting control?

What is being called for, under guise of rejecting any endorsement, is a denouncement. Again, the op ed by LaDoris Cordell explains it, despite the attempted wiggle out.

It seems Candidate Gray wishes to have it both ways. Garner the support of the most rabid right wingers, yet also smooth talk it such that the liberal or progressive people think it's just a principled stand.

I have a better idea. Instead of playing an "ACORN game" via SEIU and endorsements, why not describe what each candidates position is as regards the city workers, their union, and the city management?

Do you (or other council candidates) favor pushing this to a strike, as which seems to potentially be the strategy? (and what at least a vocal minority are egging on).

Or do you support continued TRUE negotiations with the goal of coming to a solution?

The city workers/SEIU have clearly indicated that they are willing to work on ways to reduce expenses. But management has held firm on their draconian agenda. And a complaint has been filed.


Resident for reason
Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:02 am
Resident for reason, Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:02 am

OK ask this...so the righteous canidates are not endorsed by Developers. Realtors, Neighborhood Groups, Police, Fire? What is the Post but an endorser for Public hysteria...To follow:

LaDoris Cordell wrote.
"If the candidates who now refuse to seek the union's endorsement had adopted an across-the-board no-endorsements policy, then their refusal to seek union support would be laudable. But they have not. To the contrary, these candidates are actively seeking the endorsements of other special-interest groups, including realtors, developers, environmentalists and neighborhood associations. The great majority of council decisions concern land use, zoning and housing issues. As a consequence, developers and realtors frequently appear before the council to advocate for their various projects.
Arguing on the other side, oftentimes, are environmentalists and representatives of neighborhood associations, of all whom are well known to council members. These interest groups are in no different a position than are the members of SEIU with respect to what they seek from our council -- to be fairly heard and fairly treated.
Therefore for these candidates to single out only SEIU's endorsement is naive at best and hypocritical at worst.
Tensions are high as the city management and union leaders negotiate SEIU's new contract. Talk of a pending strike has escalated. This is not the time for council candidates to engage in union bashing, which, sadly, is exactly what those who have singled out the union in this fashion are encouraging.
We need council members who represent all of our community, which includes our hardworking city employees. An endorsement from the union is no less an honor than an endorsement from any other group, nor is it more of a conflict of interest."


Resident for reason
Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:28 am
Resident for reason, Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:28 am

If you look across the board at the candidates they are bound by two things...they are majority over 45 and they are in a position of independence from economic constraints. Thus your candidate base is swayed by independent wealth, or economic support (partner/family/own business) and age. The ability to look across the economic range of Palo Altans, and be inclusive is an attribute.
The "common good" should be for all participants in the community.
How ironic Palo Altans who want reduced developemnet are endorsing canidates who are supported by real estate and developers.


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:32 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:32 am

Here is the answer to a previous question:

QUESTION: "How do you feel about someone running who doesn't have that option - perhaps they need to raise money to run a successful campaign? How can they remain as unaffected as you by outside interests?"

ANSWER from Tim Gray: Candidates who choose to raise money can remain independent by setting some reasonable contribution limit to assure that any one contributor does not have the appearance of undue influence. Contributions from a broad base of supporters is honorable. I have just declined contributions and endorsements to assure that my advocacy for Independence cannot be questioned.

All candidates should avoid contributions greater than $100 (or some reasonable amount) for ANY interest that will have business before the council. That specifically includes the Labor Union endorsements and in-kind promotions, donations from large corporations that have contracts, or will have contracts with Palo Alto, and Developers who conduct land and building issues in the City.

These are standards that would allow any person to fund the message of their campaign and still stay free from conflicted special interests. Please join me in applying these standards to the Fair Political Practices Campaign Disclosures and lets keep naming names.

Voters could then decide for themselves if the support or endorsements represented a benevolent gesture of community support or Influence Peddling. We report the objective facts. Dig up some facts and join the "news" team.

Timothy Gray www.vote4Gray.com (I am not seeking or accepting contributions or endorsements)





Most people running do need outside help to compete with people of money who can run their own campaigns


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:52 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

Dear "Resident for a Reason"

As noted earlier, LaDoris now knows that she overlooked my campaign when she claimed ""If the candidates who now refuse to seek the union's endorsement had adopted an across-the-board no-endorsements policy, then their refusal to seek union support would be laudable."

I adopted an across-the-board no-endorsements policy starting with first campaign in 2007. I have since talked to LaDoris in my neighborhood and told her that I am not accepting endorsements, so she has the corrected information.

There is no GRAY area (please pardon)in this overvation of conflict of interest. Once this is understood by the other Candidates, they can decline endorsements and return donations. Several Predidential candidates returned "tainted" or "conflicted" (real or in appearance)donations once it was brought to their attention. It is an opportunity to come clean.


bill
Barron Park
on Oct 8, 2009 at 10:42 am
bill, Barron Park
on Oct 8, 2009 at 10:42 am

Interesting that Mr. Gray seems to be trying to make points in a reasonable fashion while most other posters modify or twist his statements to serve their often irrelevant positions.

And some write in such a convoluted manner that it's hard to follow their arguments as they bounce from one point to another and back again. Oh, well. I hope and expect most readers can sort the wheat from the chaff and reach intelligent decisions about the controversy.


tusks
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 8, 2009 at 11:14 am
tusks, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 8, 2009 at 11:14 am

Bill, I'd disregard Anonymous' posts. He's shown his bias on numerous occasion (much like Sharon).

SEIU == ACORN
San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury == Rigged Jury
Really?

Mr. Gray's stance is to be admired even if you don't agree. It is odd that Anonymous feels so challenged by it.


Resident for reason
Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 11:19 am
Resident for reason, Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 11:19 am

Why is SEIU the focus of Mr. Grays statement and not developers and realestate interests? Caniodates not endorsed by SEIU are also accepting endorsement and donations from other interest groups including those of developers...a consideration for those citizens against further development.

Also the arguement that SEIU is now involved in negotiations is obtuse considering the candidate for city council office...Larry Klein is currently involved in negotiations.


Wha?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm
Wha?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Mr. Grey,

I have a concern about this statement:

"Most people running do need outside help to compete with people of money who can run their own campaigns"

Money to


Wha?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm
Wha?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Please disregard previous post.

Your point about limited contributions is sound. Many who run need money to help them get elected.

I know San Mateo city has really good restricitons on the amount an individual or group can contribute to help get folks elected but not owned.


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Tusks wrote

"Bill, I'd disregard Anonymous' posts. He's shown his bias on numerous occasion (much like Sharon).

SEIU == ACORN

San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury == Rigged Jury

Really?

Mr. Gray's stance is to be admired even if you don't agree. It is odd that Anonymous feels so challenged by it."

So if you advocate ignoring my posts why are you then rehashing them?

Have I shown "bias"? Are you saying that a certain predictable "bias" doesn't also come through on your posts?

Looking over the Grand Jury Report I get the distinct impression it was all concocted and spoon fed to the citizens on the panel. In order to provide area-wide cover for an agenda pre-planned. It also seems to me, if not in letter violation of the law then in spirit, to be a violation of price fixing law. Or a way around such.

It is not that I am "so challenged" by Mr. Gray's stance. I just find it hypocritical and obsequious (if in an inverted way). A kind of "have your cake and eat it too" as regards spinning the current negotiations for political effect.


Darwin
another community
on Oct 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Darwin, another community
on Oct 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm

To Timothy Gray-

It is probably in your best interest to stop posting here. I'd say the more you post, the less likely you'll win.

Furthermore, if your campaign is simply to spread a message rather than win, then I think your message gets further dilluted by your continued posts here.

Just my 2 cents.


Resident for reason
Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm
Resident for reason, Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm

My earlier comments about the lack of economic diversity and the commonality of those available to run...does go along with what Mr. Gray is asking...yes, it would be nice if you didn't have to be economically self sufficient to run for office. Or consider who will stay home with the kids. It is about money.

It would be nice to think that developers, real estate interests, and private business interests are not canidate supporters now...but they are primary supporters.

Why is SEIU the focus of Mr. Grays statement and not developers and real estate interests? Candidates not endorsed by SEIU are also accepting endorsement and donations from other interest groups including those of developers...a consideration for those citizens against further development.

Also the arguement that SEIU is now involved in negotiations is obtuse considering the candidate for city council office...Larry Klein is currently involved in negotiations.

I strongly support a more reasonable playing field for the candidates and the transparency about what is considered conflict of interest.


Kim
Downtown North
on Oct 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm
Kim, Downtown North
on Oct 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

This is typical right wing shenanigans- labor unions are bad and un=American, corporations, speculators and big developers are good and American. No one is whining about the massive influence of Stanford land, real estate developers and Valley big honchos on the city council. No one is trying to curb their influence, only big-bad-labor, the representative of people who actually work for a living instead of ripping others off and speculating in virtual, non-existing money is supposed to banned from any access to elected officials. I noticed how Gray never asked anybody to reject the endorsement of high-tech executives, real estate developers or the chamber of commerce. I wonder why..


tusks
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm
tusks, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Anonymous,
You're confusing fact with opinion.

When wheels start falling off a story, most people start questioning the story.

Cordell's opinion piece has started to fall apart. She has been shown not to have done her research. She, herself, has recanted on one account. Yet you continue to believe the whole of her story even after it's been pointed out that "elephant seals don't have tusks".

Now that shows bias!


Sharon
Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm
Sharon, Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm



High-tech executives, real estate developers create value, tax revenues and employment for Palo Alto residents.

SEIU members do not live in Palo Alto, do not provide tax revenues or employment for Palo Altans.

SEIU/ACORNs agenda, from reading their deceptive flyers and this blog, is to redistribute wealth and demand unrealistic wages and benefits at the expense of Palo Alto residents and tax payers.

Any council member who takes money/ endorsement from SEIU has a clear conflict of interest.


Sharon moran
another community
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:06 pm
Sharon moran, another community
on Oct 8, 2009 at 7:06 pm

ONce again Sharon pollutes a thread with her demonization of acorn and seiu. She is fixated on this issue. I am not sure why she dislikes hard working Americans and is against minorities and poor people voting. Sharon provides no proof for claims regarding seiu members--just innuendo, lies and discredited smear tactics.


Sharon
Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 8:13 pm
Sharon, Midtown
on Oct 8, 2009 at 8:13 pm


Timothy Gray--- We suggest that you organize a meeting in Mid Town a large part of the Asian community support your agenda
We usually go to the Mid Town Cafe but a larger meeting can be organized with no problem

We need real change


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 10:23 pm
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 8, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Sharon,

What do you think candidate Gray's "agenda" is? He has stated that he's not anti-labor, but instead just sticking up for a principle for it's own sake.

And somehow it seems you have a vision of him standing up in front of a mob of Asian Americans in Midtown, give a rousing speech, and they all march (pitchforks and torchlights in hand like the villagers in the Frankenstein movie) on the SEIU castle.

Don't you want a candidate who is anti-labor? Is your perception of candidate Gray that he is indeed anti-labor? Despite the words he posted here. If you really think candidate Gray is anti-labor don't you find his lack of candor troubling?

Is Sharon imagining something which doesn't exist? Or seeing through the smokescreen?


Cherche l'argent
another community
on Oct 9, 2009 at 2:38 am
Cherche l'argent, another community
on Oct 9, 2009 at 2:38 am

Sharon says: "High-tech executives, real estate developers create value, tax revenues and employment for Palo Alto residents."

They also cost jobs for PA residents without giving up their own salaries. Look at the mess created by Palo Alto's very own Page Mill Properties, losing multiple millions, laying off employees. For realtors who are deep into speculation, it will cost the city and county in tax revenues, job loss and so on, with a domino effect.


tusks
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2009 at 8:58 am
tusks, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2009 at 8:58 am

Anonymous, as ye sow, so shall ye reap: Web Link

"city officials intend to take a fresh look at the programs and services that were on the chopping block during the spring and summer but remained intact. The report identifies a list of "Tier 2" reductions, which include eliminating the current disaster-preparedness program; scrapping the city's shuttle service; contracting out parks and golf-maintenance work; and eliminating the Police Department's four-officer traffic team, a school-resource officer and a crime analyst. Cutting the Tier 2 items from the budget would result in elimination of 21 positions, 20 of which are currently occupied.

"Layoffs could result with these recommendations, which the City has sought to avoid,"


Resident for reason
Midtown
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:23 am
Resident for reason, Midtown
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:23 am

The city has 70 FUNDED positions that are frozen and unfilled...the city has almost 60 retirements this year. 4.5 million dollarws worth of potential money YEARLY would be saved.
IT'S THE ELEPHANT IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS.
Why aren't the frozen funded positions withdrawn? Why won't the city reorganize around these positions?
And why would you threaten to lay people off? If not for fear and the organizations inability (to function) to reorganize?

But back to our original topic..yes Mr Gray...there would be a more even playing field and inclusion if there was availability for people to hold city council positions who were potentially younger, had small children (day care), or were economically disadvantaged. It is hard for some progressive Palo Altans to recognize exclusion.


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:28 am
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:28 am

Are you trying to say "tusk tusk"?

Seriously do you think I caused the recession, the drop in property tax revenue, local businesses to close and relocate, etc.?

I live in Palo Alto and will suffer along with everyone else if TRULY NEEDED services are cut. But I'd rather live with that than go along with a campaign designed to break the union.

In the web link you posted one portion caught my eye...

"Palo Alto's budget difficulties are further compounded by its inability to win concessions from its employees.

The fiscal year 2010 budget, which the council approved in June, banked on saving $3 million through reductions in employee salaries and benefits -- reductions that have failed to materialize because of intense opposition from workers. City officials have been mired in contract negotiations with the Service Employees International Union since May."

It is somewhat astounding to me that a budget would be drawn up, approved, when predicated upon the city workers agreeing to what management has (so far) been steadfastly holding to, not negotiating at all really.

Is this evidence of extreme naivete, extreme deviousness, or a bit of both?

I also have to wonder at the timing of this "story". Last negotiation session was Wed. (I believe) and no news still forthcoming one way or the other. While I don't doubt the fundamental problem described exists, I also sense a big bit of "spin for effect".

Further, from the above linked story...

"Vice Mayor Jack Morton said city officials will have to more effectively communicate to the residents the severity of the city's economic predicament. The city, he said, is looking at a grim future and "massive cuts" unless it manages to both control worker compensation and find new revenue sources.

"We're trying to negotiate with, I think, a labor force that does not really understand the predicament the city is in and we're trying to get the community to understand the importance of asking for a business-license tax that every other community needs," Morton said at Monday's sparsely attended discussion. "We're dealing with a crisis the city is facing and there's no audience."

The city workers have demonstrated that they are willing to play some ball as regards saving revenue---no COLA, Furlough Days, a bunch have retired recently and no replacements, etc. But when a simple thing like a business-license tax causes dread and shock among the very people so eager to cast the city workers into modern day serfdom.......why is it that labor is the only section expected to sacrifice?

I mean really....some layoffs, some services curtailed or eliminated, no COLA and some furloughs as city workers have already agreed to, pass the friggin' business license tax, and come up with ideas to increase business and revenue. If everybody rolls a bit with small punches things should be do-able. (Instead the city workers are expected to take full on heavyweight punch. And smile.)

Or we can drive the bus over the cliff in an anti SEIU/ACORN whipped up frenzy.


Crux of the matter
Greenmeadow
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:40 am
Crux of the matter, Greenmeadow
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:40 am

Reading this thread, it strikes me that the crux of the local issue around the union is whether they are, as Mr. Gray and only Mr. Gray has asserted that he's been told, "seeking to control the council by getting five votes."

First, we have no evidence that this discussion actually happened. But even if it did, how does an endorsement of a candidate become control of that candidate? In what twisted Machiavellian universe have these five members and candidates been "bought"? I just don't understand the fundamental claim that by endorsing someone the union now "controls" them. I think this whole thing is grandstanding and "hooey."

I looked through my mailers and Mr. Gray has not sent me one. I looked at candidate websites and Mr. Gray's has not been touched since his failed 2007 campaign. I think Mr. Gray's goal here is purely free publicity. He's achieved that goal admirably, but his fundamental premise is laughable.


tusks
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:41 am
tusks, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:41 am

Check out the survey: http://www.paweekly.com

"Should the City of Palo Alto reduce the health care and pension benefits of its employees to help close the $10 million budget gap?"

No: 24.92%
Yes: 75.08%

Total votes: 313


Jo Ann
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 9, 2009 at 11:27 am
Jo Ann, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

I again thank Mr. Gray for surfacing this issue.

And I'm still waiting to hear from the other candidates about how they plan on reducing management and labor costs in this city.

Their silence is pretty deafening.


Wha?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm
Wha?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm

High-tech executives, real estate developers create value, tax revenues and employment for Palo Alto residents

What a strange way to say the public employees don't create tax revenue in PA. First they make too much money here, then they don't spend money here that would raise revenues.

With this type of thinking, only those who live here should work here? Fire them all, and Sharon, you can be first in line to take one of the high paying SEIU positions. Keep the money here. WHA??


tusks
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 8:42 am
tusks, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 8:42 am

Percentages have remained constant. Shows the lack of support that SEIU really has: Web Link

Should the City of Palo Alto reduce the health care and pension benefits of its employees to help close the $10 million budget gap?


No: 25.07%

Yes: 74.93%

Total votes: 375


Darwin
another community
on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:18 am
Darwin, another community
on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

Tusks-

To be fair, that question isn't really telling of anything. You could ask a bunch of other questions that would receive the same percentage of yes votes (Or MORE) if you asked these questions...

Should the City of Palo Alto stop buying city managers (who often stay less than a handful of years) million dollar homes to help close the $10 million dollar budget?

Should the city of Palo Alto close the two underused libraries of the FIVE libraries in Palo Alto (a city with a population under 60K) to help close the $10 million dollar budget gap?

Should we stop giving the same lifetime health benefits to city council members to help close the $10 million dollar budget gap?

Should we stop expensive and uneeded projects like "revamping" California Ave by putting in "better" trees and listening to the crying College Terrace residents by putting in expensive and UNEEDED (and now unwanted) traffic calming circles to help close the 10 million dollar gap?

Should the City of Palo close one of its EIGHT fire stations to relieve the need for costly firefighter overtime to help close the 10 million dollar budget gap?

Should the City of Palo Alto, its residents, and its council quit bickering like children with their constant NIMBYism so that we can finally draw big retail business that will help with our 10 million dollar budget gap?

I would wager you'd see far greater percentages than the question you posed.

Of course you're going to get that result about SEIU because there is no other information given about other cost saving moves or mismanagement by the city. SEIU is not the problem. The culture of this city is the problem.


tusks
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm
tusks, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm

But, Darwin, those questions weren't posed by the Weekly so all you have is your wishful thinking.

What you can surmise from the percentages is a significant lack of support for SEIU's position.


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 11, 2009 at 11:05 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 11, 2009 at 11:05 am

The following is copied (without comment) from the South Bay Labor Council web site:

STEP 4: CAMPAIGN
Once a candidate is endorsed by the South Bay Labor Council's Committee on Political Education, a campaign follows that includes at least one if not all of the following components: direct mail to voters in support of the candidate, door-to-door voter education, voter education via phone, and financial contributions.


Timothy Gray
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 11, 2009 at 11:29 am
Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 11, 2009 at 11:29 am

Please read Fred Balin's very objective comments on the Town Square posting about how the Big Dollar mailers received by the endorsed candidates circumvents fair play in campaign spending.

Web Link

My observation is that this is a clear end-run manipulation of Campaign spending limits that the community has agreed upon, and is a sabotage of Democracy. I would call out any party that abused a campaign spending loophole, so this is not about the message, but is simply about a behavior that is a contempt for long-held community standards of fair play.

As Mr. Balin points out, it is essential that we get previously proposed rules in place so we can preserve and protect a level playing field, which is a foundation of Democracy. We must unite around this very ethical call to action.

Timothy Gray, Candidate for Palo Alto City Council


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