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Labor supports Ushka-Hall...but will these endorsements be good for Tacoma?

by fredo
on 9/20/2009 @ 11:09pm
According to Catherine Ushka-Hall's Facebook page, she has received the endorsements of both the Pierce Co. Labor Council and the Tacoma Firefighters IAFF #33. Considering the mischief that municipal labor unions have caused for public sector budget writers I wonder if it's worth discussing the ramifications for Tacoma's taxpayers if Ms. Ushka-Hall is eventually elected. Won't it be difficult for Catherine to stand up to the Teacher's Union should the need arise after receiving these plum labor endorsements?

by jenyum on 9/21/2009 @ 6:57am
School Board members make about $4800 a year (no, that's not missing a zero). What exactly is the incentive here for corruption?

Anyway, yes she has the endorsement of several unions. She also has the endorsement of Stand, which advocated for legislation the statewide teacher's union strongly opposed last year.

Both Marilyn Strickland and Jim Merritt have unions on their endorsement lists, so I suppose you'll have to write in your vote for mayor.

Jerry Thorpe's endorsement list appears to include about a dozen individuals who were formally members of the political and business establishment in Tacoma, but are now retired.

by fredo on 9/21/2009 @ 8:39am
Jenyum@ You didn't answer my questions but you did raise an interesting issue. Is a candidates potential for corruption a function of the salary which the office will pay? Stated another way, will a person running for a powerful office which doesn't actually pay much be more likely or less likely to succumb to corruption than an office holder that earns a good salary?

My posting was more to discover the reason for these endorsements. Why do the firefighters care who's elected to this position? Moreover Ms. Ushka-Hall has risked losing the votes of people who oppose the activities of unions, so I'm also curious about what's in it for her.

I'd like Stickland and Merritt to explain their union endorsements as well, but Ushka Hall is making the most notorius use of the endorsements so far. Her yard signs all have a bright red attachment noting the firefighters endorsement.

by Marty on 9/21/2009 @ 10:58am
"Why do the firefighters care who's elected to this position?"

For the same reasons many of us do: It is about quality of life.

Their children attend the Tacoma Public Schools.

They want for their Department to be able to recruit and hire the best and brightest, and that means having a city that is safe and has a high quality education system.

They want a to be able to hire qualified people from right here in Tacoma, and that requires that they be fully prepared on graduation day.

When Fire Fighters go into the public schools, will there be kids they can educate about fire and public safety or will the classroom be half empty?

Closing the achievement gap is critical to reducing the drop out rate and building a public school system we can be proud of.

by fredo on 9/21/2009 @ 11:24am
So the firefighters were polled and they were 100% behind this candidate? All of their children attend the Tacoma Public Schools? Jerry Thorpe wants Tacoma to have a low quality school system with unprepared students? I thought Thorpe was a former school teacher.

Public sector labor unions are causing a lot
of problems in our country. Look at the Kent Teachers Union. Look at the State of California. These unions certainly know what's best for them. What's less certain is whether they know what's best for the rest of us.

These union endorsements are a big turn off for me and, I expect, for other conservative voters.

by NineInchNachos on 9/21/2009 @ 11:52am
speak of the devil !

just listening to Bill Moyer's PBS podcast "The Death of Conservatism?"

basically says that the conservative movement has lost all its thinkers having been over run with nuts, and the labor movement has gotten into bed with evil corporations and lost touch with workers' quality of life issues.

A good listen!

by fredo on 9/21/2009 @ 12:54pm
Thanks for the link Nachos. I read the interview and can't disagree with the author's line of inquiry. Conservatives aren't out to ruin the country, they honestly think conservative principles will make life more prosperous for everyone at every level. And I'm inclined to agree.

by jenyum on 9/21/2009 @ 5:20pm
Jerry Thorpe wants Tacoma to have a low quality school system with unprepared students?

I am sure Jerry Thorpe wants good things for the students of Tacoma. As I said in one of our previous discussions on this topic, that's a universal goal of all of the school board candidates, and well it should be.

It's how we get to that goal, and who would best get us there that's debatable.Tacoma's problems go beyond how well discipline is enforced and whether or not cursive is taught (which it is, actually). Today's teachers and families are facing complex problems, and today's kids have to be ready for jobs that simply didn't exist 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. Getting our district up to speed even to take computerized standardized tests (as OSPI is going to dictate at the state level) is going to be a huge hurdle.

The school board needs to be ready to move fast on a number of important issues, and I know Catherine is up to speed on current educational issues, has been out there advocating for programs like Tacoma 360, and will be ready to hit the ground running.

by fredo on 9/21/2009 @ 6:50pm
Jen@ I am prepared to stipulate that Catherine is "ready to move fast," "is up to speed," and will "hit the ground running."

However, the issue up for discussion is the labor union endorsements. Isn't Ushka-Hall going to be asked to bargain with labor unions? How can she bargain with labor unions when she has relied on labor endorsements for election?

RE the firefighters endorsement. Did 100% of the members give her their support? And do the firefighters all live within Tacoma School district boundaries and pay the supporting property taxes?
If not, then with all due respect, it's none of their business who Tacomans elect.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/21/2009 @ 8:53pm
The USW gave support to Obama, and though a member, I did not vote for him. I didn't lose sleep over it.

BUT, as an organization, the unions have many similar rights to those of a non-profit and those of a corporation. Not supporting a candidate because Union X endorses them is the same as not supporting someone who took campaign funds from the Tacoma Buddhist Temple or funds from Micro$oft... it's an indicator of how they may behave. The picture is bigger than that, of course... Watch out for a candidate who is supported by ALL the monopolies & plutocrats... that is a warning, big time. Remember, whoever gives the most funds owns the politician... atomically small amounts of exceptions to that rule.

by fredo on 9/21/2009 @ 9:19pm
"remember whoever gives the most funds owns the politician"

I haven't researched the subject of cash donations to the candidates under discussion and it's a little early to do so. This discussion involves the endorsements only. Before the election I will be using this forum to provide the voters with information regarding cash donations from union organizations.

As in the case of the local MLK housing fiasco a lot of the corruption which follows political figures is hard to get a handle on. But frequently it doesn't involve cash transactions at all, but rather a more subtle form of log rolling. The provision of well paid jobs for someone elses relatives is a common tactic. I'm sure Ms. Ushka-Hall would not abuse her power should she be elected but the opportunity certainly exists.