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Here is the revision to a Previous Letter to the Editor by Ron Moody!

Nov 03, 2014 06:06PM ● Published by Paul Spear

rom Ron Moody

IB Citizen and Voter

Former 2012 City Council Candidate


In the interest of accuracy, consideration, and JUDGEMENT- I have re-worded a post published on this site on October 31, 2014, and offer this retraction and clarification along with an apology for any harm such inaccuracies may have caused Serge Dedina, Elizabeth Saldana, or Unite Here TIP, or their respective campaigns.

All candidates and their supporters deserve at the least, an accurate portrayal of the facts and was neither my intention nor desire to knowingly or unknowingly, post any information not factually accurate.  My comments implied that Serge Dedina and Elizabeth Saldana and their respective campaigns, were the DIRECT recipient of funding in excess of $110,000, $37,000 being ”accepted” by Saldana’s alone, from Unite Here TIP. That was a factual inaccuracy. It is my understanding that Unite Here TIP’s reported campaign expenditures ON BEHALF of the two candidates were not made directly to nor “authorized” by either of the candidates or their campaigns with the exception of a $1000.00 contribution to Elizabeth Saldana. 

The widely questioned  motives of Unite Here with whom even Mr Dedina stated to the U.T. as having  had no discussions with them, appears to be, if nothing else, conducted to ensure a massive campaign overspending effort that Jim Janney’s campaign could not hope to match and so, IMO, effectively buy the outcome of the election. To his credit, Council member candidate-Ed Spriggs-who was also included in Unite Here’s campaigning efforts, recognized the potential for an appearance of impropriety and distanced himself from the labor organization. What follows is a revised version of my original post.

“Many hotel and convention center employees are displeased by Unite Here! and SEIU’s hardball tactics. About 30 workers recently delivered a petition to the mayor blaming the unions for the loss of thousands of dollars in salary and tips”. "This Ordinance Has No Merit." TheHartford Courant August 30, 2006

Today I made phone calls. I spoke with owners, managers and staff at our local restaurants and hotels-the South Point Marriott, Sand Castle Inn, Super 8...I spoke with Filippis, Jalisco’s, The Forum, K Pasta, and virtually every other business that serves the community and together comprise the Imperial Beach hospitality industry. I introduced myself, by name with the assurance that I was speaking on my own behalf and was neither aligned with, campaigning for, or had a personal grind against either of the two mayoral candidates. I then asked this question, “Are you a union shop?” “No, nor do we want to or will allow ourselves to become one”, was the common answer from the businesses I spoke to. I then informed them about the seemingly unlimited flow of cash-over $110,000 to date-pouring into the election by the SUPER PAC (super political action committee) UNITED HERE TIP.

United Here Tip is a New York based LABOR ORGANIZER, with a tumultuous, history that includes accusations of employing hardball tactics, mismanagement, election influencing, and accusations of campaign improprieties in it's organizing efforts. 

The simultaneous resignation of the majority (5) of the Executive Board members from San Diego Local 30, on October 11, 2012,  cited what they considered a lack of representation for the union members in their letter of resignation, "However, we see (San Diego) Local 30 members being least represented among all our years in the Union. Being elected officers, there is nothing that we can do to help our Union and the members. Therefore, we are all hereby submitting our resignation as Union Officers." 

In the July 2014 Honolulu elections the super PAC-Aikea-founded by Unite Here Local 5, was accused of running a smear campaign against incumbent City Cuncil candidate Carol Fukunaga, who was running against a strong union supporting opponent. "If this is the way campaigns are going to be operated, it really takes away from what democracy is supposed to be about," Fukunaga said.  Daysog, Rick. "Exclusive: Hotel union's negative campaign targets councilwoman."  Hawaii News Now  July 25, 2014.

Unite Here TIP  is currently waginga massive spending campaign right here in Imperial Beach on behalf of Mayoral candidate Serge Dedina and Council Member candidate Elizabeth Saldana. The alleged tactics of UNITED HERE TIP consists of attempting to influence the outcome of elections therby garnering valuable political clout used to gain a foothold in the community, whereby, they then begin organizing workers at local businesses to unionize...in the hospitality and transportation, and food services industry. UNITE HERE is well known for initiating walk outs, boycotts, and secondary pickets, which can eventually lead to shut downs of local businesses, forcing them to cave into demands which force the businesses to pay wages their operations cannot afford to pay, (with a share going to union dues.) This will lead to increased prices throughout the city. The businesses loose, and the community loses in the way of lost tax revenue, and business shut downs, not to mention the warning off potential investors who recognize the loss of control they have over their operations once unions begin running them.

A candidate with a PhD, would hopefully recognize how an organization contributing over $110,000 (now approaching $140,000) in an independent campaign that augments those of the candidates themselves, has a tremendous investment and will almost certainty expect something for it in return . As of yet, though, no one admits to knowing what that return is. Neither Dedina nor Saldana seems to be able to see how this unprecedented spending by a special interest labor organization aimed at assuring them a victory, might have the appearance of influence peddling and so call into question the ethics and judgment of each by the public. Either way, they maintain their positions that no impropriety has occurred, a position clearly contrary to a large number of still as yet uncommitted voters.

The question I have is “why would a mayoral candidate who presents himself as being “FOR IMPERIAL BEACH” allow his name to be used in campaigning efforts backed by such deep pockets of a special interest that is in COMPLETE OPPOSITION to the stated interests of the local community business I spoke to in the course of just a few minutes over the phone? If Mr Dedina is so unsure about the true position of our local businesses regarding labor issues, then it seems unlikely that he has spoken or listened to them, if he does know their position, then he is acting in complete disregard of them.

Either way, in my opinion, hometown boy or no, the position of Mayor holds too much responsibility for inconsistencies like these to be occurring in a campaign, when the true nature of the candidates themselves is being previewed before the public. The “authorized” campaign literature I’ve received from both the Dedina and Saldana campaigns consist of boilerplate promises-better law enforcement, schools, community involvement… yet are completely devoid of any specific actions either will employ to achieve their promised goals; meanwhile, my mailbox is jammed with a plethora of literature putting their names in front of me while focusing my thoughts on the hospitality industry represented by the UNITE HERE labor organization. There is too much inconsistency.

Perhaps the best answer is found in quotes made to the San Diego Union from Mr Dedina and Ms Saldana, “I’m too busy with my own campaign to worry about anything else”, Dedina says, and Ms Saldana, “Any labor group that wants to get my name out there that’s fine with me. When these different groups wish to contribute to my campaign it is an opportunity for me to go and purchase the things that I need so I’m not spending out of pocket”.  Even if it calls into question your ethics?

The average city council campaign costs around $7,000. To date I've seen reporting that states that campaign spending favorable to Ms Saldana’s election bid from Unite Here, total over $37,000. One would think such an amount might preclude her from ”spending out of pocket”, but will the city benefit in the same way if our businesses are boycotted and forced to close as a result of our council paying homage to a labor organizer?

Ron Moody
IB Citizen and voter
Former 2012 City Council Candidate

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