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Which candidates have the support of organized labor?

by fredo
on 10/17/2009 @ 9:22am
If you're like me, you want to know which council candidates are supported by the labor unions. I'd hate to vote for someone who didn't have some affiliation which might help them later on in labor contract negotiations. I've only included contributors in excess of $1000. Here they are:

Strickland- IBEW, Police, Joint Labor, Teamsters
Woodards- IBEW, Police, Joint Labor, Teamsters
Campbell- IBEW, Joint Labor, Firefighters
Fey- Joint Labor, Police, Firefighters
Rojecki- Firefighters
Kirby Summers- IBEW, Joint Labor, Police Firefighters

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/17/2009 @ 1:03pm
Thanks, fredo, now I know who to vote for.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/17/2009 @ 5:30pm
Disclaimer: I am proudly a member of the USW. Just because someone is supported by a union doesn't necessarily mean good or bad...

BUT I really caution anyone against voting for someone who is supported by police and fire unions.

If anyone wants to know why, I can sum it up in two words:
Pension Plans.

by fredo on 10/17/2009 @ 11:07pm
The unions gave Jake Fey thousands...even though he's running unopposed!

That proves incontrovertibly that the donations are not given to assist in the election of the candidate but as an honorarium provided to influence the elected candidate's decision making.

It's not too late for candidates who don't want to compromise their ability to govern to give back the labor donations.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/17/2009 @ 11:55pm
Everyone with money wants influence when it comes to government. I think it is fine to vote against people that take money from certain groups but at the end of the day all politicians will take money from those that are willing to give it to them. I suspect if they didn't get any results for their contributions they wouldn't make them in the first place. fredo doesn't like union money, maybe I don't like developer money, still the money is going to go to the politicians. I have a feeling that the politicians that take money from unions tend to be more honest than those that take money from developers.

by fredo on 10/18/2009 @ 8:59am
"...if they didn't get any results for their contributions they wouldn't make them in the first place."

Crenshaw, thanks for making my case for me! I didn't find any records of campaign funds from developors or I would have called that out as well. Of course there are more powerful ways to get to a candidate for office. The would-be contributor can provide employment for some of the candidate's relatives and this will never show up in the PDC reports. That's just an example.

What's ironic about these "donations" is that some of the candidates who accepted them are shoe-ins. They're going to win the seat they desire regardless of the contribution so why would they want to begin their term with this potentially problematic affiliation?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/18/2009 @ 9:58am
It is very unlikely any developers will be making political contributions this election cycle. I think most of them are studying up on Chapter 11. They say that money is the mother's milk of politics and these politicians like to have a lot of mother's milk. I'm sure a lot cf people that give money to politicians also provide employment for their cronies and family members. It is also true that supporters of politicians get some pretty cushy government jobs. For the most part the law allows for all of this. I kind of like it when the common person ends up being the beneficiary of these political contributions instead of huge corporations that end up making billions off their political investments. I'd rather see a fire fighter get a better pension or wage increase than an industry group walk away with millions of dollars of tax breaks. Business and industry always seems to get more bang for their buck.

by fredo on 10/18/2009 @ 10:32am
"I'd rather see a firefighter get a better pension or wage increase than an industry group"

From a taxpayers perspective it makes no difference which entity gets a benefit that its not entitled to. I'm not in favor of industry groups getting any deals and you neglected to site any. I hope you will tell us what business and industry has donated to Tacoma political campaigns and subsequently received a sweetheart deal.

I hope that the political candidates listed above will remember that if a matter involving labor relations comes before them they will need to recuse themselves from all discussions and voting. It
would be unfair for them to weigh in on a matter involving a party with whom they enjoyed a prejudicial relationship.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/18/2009 @ 12:22pm
If every politician abstained from voting on a matter where they received money from an interested party I suspect government will grind to a halt. Probably not a bad thing but it will never happen.

by fredo on 10/18/2009 @ 12:37pm
Voting on a matter when you have a vested interest in the outcome is the very definition of corruption.

There's a great scene in Michael Moore's documentary film Sicko where senators are meeting to discuss some medical legislation. Moore places a large dialogue balloon over every senator describing the amount of money each senator had taken from the industry.

Here in Tacoma we have little control over what happens at the federal level but we enjoy huge control over what happens in Tacoma. Why not use this opportunity to strive for transparency in our leadership?

by jenyum on 10/18/2009 @ 1:50pm
Re: Firefighter support

It should be noted that Keven Rojecki is a firefighter. (In UP) If the firefighters union didn't support him, that would be a red flag. You can't look at these things in a vacuum.

by Erik Hanberg on 10/18/2009 @ 2:45pm
I don't think that political contributions should be seen as suspect by default. If a candidate stands up and says I believe in protecting the environment, and then got backing and financial support from environmental groups ... they're getting support for what they said.

If a candidate says, "I want to see strong labor unions," and then gets money from labor unions ... seeing that as a case of a labor union buying a vote by default doesn't seem right. They're giving money to a candidate that is similar to their interests.

Now if that pro-environment candidate took twice as much from developers and suddenly changed their mind and decided to cut down a protected forest to build strip malls, clearly that's a different story.

I guess what I'm saying is that organized groups look for people who already have a platform they're all right with, and then fund them. How is that any different than me giving my money and support to a candidate I like or you giving your money and support to a candidate you like?

And, as it happens, I very much agree that you should judge a candidate by who gives them money. Candidates can always turn it down if they don't like the group it's coming from. So if you don't like unions, and a candidate has a lot of union money, then the candidate probably supports unions. If the candidate is funded by the tribes, that tells you something. If they have major donations from Tim Eyman that tells you something too.

It's not about corruption or being in their pocket, but who you get money from as a candidate is a pretty good measure of a) what you stand for and b) how effectively you communicate that.

by NineInchNachos on 10/18/2009 @ 8:43pm
I agree with Mr. Hanberg.

It's nice candidate trivia fredo, but if this is all the information you need to decide who to vote for I suggest a less superficial, and more enlightened means of selection. Perhaps this information in tandem with your bold font voter pamphlet analysis.

Anyone catch the WILL BAKER personal statement ? So awesome.

by fredo on 10/18/2009 @ 9:40pm
There's a big difference between contributions from private sector lobbyists and from municipal labor unions. The distinguishing factor is that the pay and benefits provided to municipal labor unions are set by the elected officials who received the campaign contribution. This is entirely too cozy. People who elect candidates who are bought and paid for by the municipal labor unions should never complain about potholes or any other infrastructural deficiency. In effect, you've told the candidate that you want them to lavish as much as possible on union pay and benefits.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/18/2009 @ 10:55pm
"I don't think that political contributions should be seen as suspect by default"

I disagree. All politicians and those who fund them should be seen as suspect until proven otherwise.

by Erik on 10/19/2009 @ 12:18am
I think we need a Fredo v. Crenshaw text to movie web episode

similar to : CaptiveYak vs. Mofo From The Hood

by tacoma1 on 10/19/2009 @ 8:06am
Great post Eric H.
I know that I donate regularly to pro transit and pro environmental candidates. I never expect anything in return but that they continue to champion the pro transit and pro environmental agendas that they have already worked on.

For that matter, I have donated not only to local and national candidates for whom I do vote for, but I've also donated to Seattle candidates that share my same values, but I can't even vote for. My only expectation is that I help them fund their campaign so that they can get elected. I would never ask or expect a "favor" in return.

by fredo on 10/19/2009 @ 9:18am
"I would never ask a favor in return" tacoma 1

And you'd never get one. We're talking about contributions from organized labor. I think there's a clear expectation of a favor. You give money so that the candidate you favor "can get elected". The labor movement is unconcerned with this distinction. They are giving money to every candidate that will take it, even if they are running unopposed! They are "covering their bases."

City council members have an obligation to the voters to recuse themselves when matters come before them which involve a group they are affiliated with, be it a developer or a labor union.
We complain about congressmen who take money from pharmaceutical companies and then vote sweetheart deals with the same companies. The influence of organized labor is no different.

by NineInchNachos on 10/19/2009 @ 11:36am
fredo, you may enjoy the last 15 minutes of the exit133 interview where the candidates talk exclusively about labor vs. developer donations...

by fredo on 10/19/2009 @ 12:21pm
Nachos, thanks for the link.

I hope every commentor will listen to the portion of Dominic Black's fine interview that you've alluded to. Both candidates seem keenly aware that the people who contribute large sums expect a seat at the table. Nothing said in the interview refutes my position whatsoever.

by NineInchNachos on 10/19/2009 @ 12:46pm
spoiler alert...

Joe Lonergan :: developer/master builder money
Becky Summers-Kirby :: worker/union money

by Robert Joseph on 10/22/2009 @ 2:43pm
I am a local union member and understand Fredo to a point. We must also look at these issues with a bigger net and not assume things that are not fact. My union isn't supporting Rojecki and was curious why they wouldn't so investigated a little to find out. While second or almost third hand information, my union and 3 others in Tacoma didn't even give him the benefit of an interview and endorsed Woodards. Considering he represents his union, and supports and advocates basic employee rights, Fredo's point about corruption is logical.

I am trying to find out why they wouldn't give him an interview, but this stinks of back room deals. I want to support my unions candidate but this one really seems interesting since Rojecki has the support of state union leaders and a diverse group of people in Tacoma. I am till at odds, but will try to get more information.