Contra Costa Labor Endorsement Redux
One of the most disturbing episodes that I have witness in this campaign was the machinations by which Steve Filson was able to secure the Contra Costa County Central Labor Council’s endorsement. I bring this up today because last night I was able to talk with a officer of one of the SEIU locals who told me some of the salient details about the endorsement process that make it look even fishier.
Importantly, this SEIU officer (I’ll refer to him as XY from now on) told me that Steve Filson would “have never received that endorsement” if things had been done on the up and up. When I first wrote about this I had thought that the big problem was the appearance of impropriety and the rift that such an appearance might cause between the Democratic Party grassroots and Labor. But now it looks like the process was rigged in a way that actually altered the outcome. And XY agreed with me that all of this was most likely a gift to Steve Filson from his number one backer, Ellen Tauscher.
XY told me last night that the Contra Costa County Labor Central Labor Council’s (CCC-CLC) endorsement vote occurred before SEIU had decided on which candidate to back. (Incidentally, XY told me that the local and statewide SEIU council had voted to endorse McNerney, so that an endorsement by the international is virtually pro forma). In any case, since SEIU on the local level had not yet voted, their delegates to the CCC-CLC were not empowered to cast a vote one way or the other the night that the CCC-CLC endorsement vote was taken. Had they voted, and voted for McNerney, he would have received the endorsement. But since they abstained, the endorsement went to Filson.
Of course, there would be nothing wrong with this per se if it were SEIU’s fault for not endorsing before the CCC-CLC endorsement meeting.
But here is where it gets fishy. SEIU officials had, like me, heard that the CCC-CLC was going to take a vote on the endorsement the night Filson came to speak. And like me, they had heard that Jerry McNerney would not be invited to the endorsement meeting. So someone in SEIU (representing the union in a professional capacity) called the Chair of the CCC-CLC, Pam Aguilar, and told her that a) the CCC-CLC shouldn’t only invite Filson to the endorsement meeting, but b) the endorsement vote should be delayed until SEIU had their internal endorsement vote for CA-11. The person who called was told by Pam Aguilar not to worry, that this was simply a meet and greet and that no vote would be taken.
This was NOT a regularly scheduled endorsement meeting. There was no expectation that SEIU would have already voted. In fact, XY believes, and I think it’s plausible, that the vote was taken that night precisely because SEIU had not voted internally.
In any event, when a vote to endorse Filson was taken after the “meet and greet,” SEIU was effectively disenfranchised from the voting process.
Needless to say, this did not engender any sort of good will between SEIU and the people who were responsible for ramming Filson through the CCC-CLC endorsement “procedure.” And when I asked XY why Filson’s backers would do this given the ill-will it generated, he said it almost certainly had to do with Ellen Tauscher.
It’s something to think about.