Herrera May Need Help of Civil Unions

District 8 Councilmember Rose Herrera, whose seat comes up for renewal in 2012, has suddenly gotten popular with the union leaders representing the city’s public employees. She dined at Flames restaurant last week with Nancy Ostrowski, lead negotiator for three bargaining groups. Over the past several weeks, she’s also met with Jim Unland, the police union VP,  and Tony Alexander of Local 5, the food workers union (which could also soon be representing the bud-dispensers of the city’s marijuana collectives).

Her sudden popularity might be due to the fact that Herrera could be fighting for her political life. Chuck Reed and his budget-hawk buddies have never expected the backing of the union bosses, but Herrera may need their help.

Steve Preminger vowed that any further support of Reed’s move to reform public employee pensions at the ballot will result in an official rebuke—mere sticks-and-stones to the termed-out mayor, but which could nevertheless hurt first-termer Herrera.

Preminger is president of the local Democratic Central Committee, whose members recently voted to censure the mayor and his majority crew: Herrera, Sam Liccardo, Madison Nguyen, Pete Constant and Pierluigi Oliverio. The reprimand was purely for show—and somewhat surprisingly excluded Councilmembers Donald Rocha and Nancy Pyle, who also supported the proposal.

The city’s biggest union, AFSCME, followed suit by sending out flyers branding each of the mayor’s supporters a “hypocrite.” Liccardo responded that he won’t bow down to “union cronies” like Preminger, who in his day job serves as the executive director of Working Partnerships, a non-profit wholly controlled by the South Bay Labor Council.

The unions will most certainly continue hammering Herrera, who cast the swing vote to declare a fiscal emergency, until the next council session in August. Meanwhile, there is talk that Pattie Cortese—wife of county supervisor and likely 2014 mayoral candidate Dave Cortese—covets Herrera’s seat.

Herrera says she won’t support the mayor’s pension reform proposal without an accompanying tax increase, so she may have something to trade for labor’s helping hand in election season.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

35 Comments

  1. Rose supported Reed, Chamber and downtown businesses against city unions voting for pension reforms

    Rose now needs union votes for reelection

    Ops Rose, voting with Reed may cost you union election votes but not get you any Chamber votes or endorsement

    Who is Reed and Republican Chamber going to support? 

    Democrat Rose unlikely or Republican Pete Constant’s Republican buddy Pat Waite who has been strangely silent lately

    Will unions endorse Rose or run someone for Rose’s Council seat ?  Daily Fetch, last Thursday asked if Pattie Cortese is running

    Interesting , veeeeeery interesting

  2. Steve Preminger is not the executive director of Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA). He is the director of Union Community Resources, a union-funded social service agency that assists union members dealing with financial and social problems.

    WPUSA is not “wholly controlled by the South Bay Labor Council” but rather is an independently funded social change organization founded by labor and community groups in 1995. It works in four broad areas of concern to working people: civic engagement, government accountability and reform, expanding access to health care and economic research. Among WPUSA’s funders are the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

    In addition to the factual corrections, I would suggest that this article’s headline referring to “civil unions” misleads readers, who may think it is about gay marriage.

  3. In my opinion,

    There are two reasons why Councilmember Herrera is fighting for her political life. One, is that she should not have been elected in the first place and two,it is getting harder and harder to convince District 8 voters otherwise.

    There are several “speeds” at which Councilmembers thought processors work. Extremely “backstabbingly slow” could describe the District 8 representative’s internal cerebral clock.

    As Chairperson of the Community and Economic Development Committee (CED), Councilmember Herrera never holds the very highly paid and non-performing staff of the Office of Economic Development (OED) accountable.

    The overpaid cheerleaders of OED just blow smoke all over this Councilmember, continue to draw fat paychecks as the economy of San Jose tanks. It is the responsibilty of the Office of Economic Development’s to perform and improve San Jose’s economy or face the administrative headsman. Only frivolities and gayities are at play at CED. The entire Community and Economic Development Committee should be either reformulated or just abolished since their main source of funding, the debt machine known as the Redevelopment Agency is all but dead and buried.CED meetings are not worth attendence by the public.

    The public display and commentary from Councilmember Herrera with reference to her position to spend $1.5 Million of the “Catalyst Fund” on enticing corporate CEO’s to move their businesses to San Jose reflects the state of fiscal knuckle dragging which characterises the District 8 representative. Coupled with the foolish vote by Councilmember Herrera, et al, to fund the Mercado Suvianda fiasco which cost the taxpayers $500,000 from the same “Catalyst Fund”, should be enough for the District 8 voters to push the “eject button”.

    [The “Catalyst Fund” was an experiment,which turned out as a gambling away of taxpayer revenues. The initial “Catalyst Fund” was a $2 Million allocation.]

    Let us not forget the “backstabbing of union members” that have been all to commonplace. Supporting the Mayor’s “botched fiscal emergency” (which Mayor Reed helped to create in the first place), Councilmember Herrera has been nothing short of a catastrophic failure.

    City employees, union dues paying members, are walking around city hall with District 8 knives sticking out of their backs. But now, with the ghost of elections future beckoning to Councilmember Herrera that her political soul may be required of her, behold, a change of heart towards the unions is observed. Don’t be fooled,it is really the same old heart and not to be trusted.

    But, the aforementioned issues are just what the San Jose Mercury News decides to print.

    The main issue with Councilmember Herrera is that from Day One this Councilmember has been “overwelmed” with the complexities and nuances governing city operations. To be fair, she is not alone in this regard, but the record setting degree of the wishy-washiness of vacilation is all to characteric and unique of the District 8 Councilmember.

    There are some Councilmembers that should not have been elected. Councilmember Herrera is one of them. There are several others.

    David S. Wall

    • > The public display and commentary from Councilmember Herrera with reference to her position to spend $1.5 Million of the “Catalyst Fund” on enticing corporate CEO’s to move their businesses to San Jose reflects the state of fiscal knuckle dragging which characterises the District 8 representative.

      . . . .

      > [The “Catalyst Fund” was an experiment,which turned out as a gambling away of taxpayer revenues. The initial “Catalyst Fund” was a $2 Million allocation.]

      Would the CEO’s that the Catalyst Fund is trying to entice to San Jose be the “millionaires and billionaires who ride around in corporate jets” that President Obama so disparages?

      I understand from the President that corporate jets cause children to starve.

      If Councilmember Herrera is in favor of starving children, I probably won’t vote for her.

  4. Ain’t happening. Herrera is out! We need fresh blood. Someone who is not looking for a political career but who REALLY cares about this city. That is the ONLY way we are going to turn this mess around. No more of the same. Out with Herrera.

  5. Civil Unions?  Nice title Fly. 

    At first I thought Herrera was seeking help from the BLT’ers to get reelected.  But then I read the rest of your drivel and now have the following questions:

    – Can Pattie Cortese “Si se puede!” as good as Dave? 
    – How does Pattie look in Vietnamese Tet apparel?
    – Is Pattie afraid of the police too?

    Fly, if you would be so kind to help us out with these burning questions.  Inquiring minds et al.

    Mayoral candidate and Councilman Dave Cortese tried to convince a jeering audience that he was on their side.

    “There are many times I learned the hard way to be afraid of the police,” he said.

  6. “Let us not forget the “backstabbing of union members” that have been all to commonplace. Supporting the Mayor’s “botched fiscal emergency” (which Mayor Reed helped to create in the first place), Councilmember Herrera has been nothing short of a catastrophic failure.”

    Very well stated and so true. What a turncoat.

      • WD,
        I have no reason to lie about this. We spoke at Police Chief Moore’s swearing in. Ask her yourself. Oh that’s right, we aren’t supposed to know who you are so I guess that means you can’t ask her or she’ll know who YOU are…hum…

        • Kathleen, whether you know it or not, you know me. We have met before, had respectful and interesting conversations and often found common ground in our beliefs and perspectives. However I submit to you that the right and ability to post anonymously is an essential part of our exercise of free speech. That we choose to do so in no way invalidates the merit of our comments. Indeed, I further submit that, with the constant threat of possible retaliation and in light of Debra Figone’s reputation as a vindictive petty dictator, anonymous posting of comments by those who may be vulnerable to retaliation by the City Manager is the only prudent course.

          I don’t believe that I or anyone else should be put in the position of having to make a chose between the free exercise of my First Amendment rights and my ability to continue to provide for myself and my family. If I am going to continue to speak my mind, offer alternative perspectives, and advocate for worthwhile solutions that don’t screw over San Jose’s citizens or rand-and-file employees, if I am going to be able to point out the rampant hypocrisy, avarice and institutionalized failure that exists in City Hall, I have to be able to post anonymously.
          Perhaps not everyone is in the same position as I am. Perhaps one day, I will find that my position has changed and I can post or comment in a way that identifies me, but that day isn’t now. I am sure many others feel as I do or have legitimate reasons for concealing their identity. Others may not. Regardless of the reasons, though, I believe that each and every comment out to be evaluated on its own merit: its basis in fact, its logical sustainability, its thoughtfulness, and its tone. I don’t think that any of these factors are at all influenced by the attachment of a readily identifiable name.

        • OfficerD and Kathleen,

          I agree with OfficerD’s thoughts. Look at the policy of talk radio stations – they explicity do not want full names of callers for a host of reasons unless they have actually verified that is the same person they are speaking with. What has bothered me about posting using a real name is that there is no easy way to actually verify that is the same person, and a post could be attributed permanently to that person’s name and potentially even get that person in trouble.

        • When you post your full name, anybody…crazies and otherwise, can find out where you live. Some people are quite unstable. I certainly would not want them being able to know where I live. Kathleen, would you want defendants or plaintiffs (depending on which team you are on) knowing where you live? What’s your last name?

        • No…. “I’m just a “bystander” tired of seeing it.”
          Too bad. I have the same right to express my point of view as you do. Feel free to skip my posts, as I skip others.

        • And another thing…
          My last name is Flynn. I stand by everything I say, and I am not afraid of “the crazies” as you put it.

          BTW- In a court situation, you cannot testify or file a complaint anonymously! Everyone has a right to face his or her accuser.

        • Officer D,
          Thank you for explaining your need to remain “unknown.” I do understand the fear of reprisal from an employer. (I’ve been a mediator and arbitrator for 28 years now, and have heard cases like this before.) I don’t agree with it, but I understand it.

          If others stood by their convictions then may be the world would be a better place, and employers couldn’t retaliate on people like you who deserve to be heard and valued. I personally always speak my mind, and yes I take heat for it, but I don’t care. 

          I want to address my comment to WD. WD runs a blog and chooses to remain “anonymous.” That is fine with me, but he/she came on this blog and basically challenged my statement about my conversation with Pattie Cortese. I have no reason to lie. I don’t think it is fair for the media to spread misinformation about someone. I think Pattie is owed the decency of being asked and quoted “honestly.” Since WD has not talked to Pattie, the commentary he/she made was ignorant. Having said that, I think if someone is going to refute my truthful statements, well then they better be ready to back up their mouths with the facts.

          On a side note: I remember that the author of “San Jose Revealed” was beaten up by this blog and in the media for wanting to remain anonymous. I guess for some reason remaining anonymous wasn’t okay for that blog but it’s okay for the Watch Dog to! Hum. I smell hypocrisy don’t you? 

          Back to your post. You said, “However I submit to you that the right and ability to post anonymously is an essential part of our exercise of free speech.”

          I agree with what you say here to a POINT.  Way too many people use this “right,” to unfairly bash and ruin others reputations, to exploit children, commit scams on the vulnerable, and to commit grievous harm to others through bullying and other such actions. Because they do this anonymously, it is very hard to catch them and hold them accountable. As a person in law enforcement, you know this to be true.

          Therefore, I restate my belief that posting anonymously is most certainly your right, but I don’t agree with it. (And by the way, I think the 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech was geared toward allowing us the freedom to speak, think, and write what we want, but I have never understood it to include anonymous posts that attack or creates harm for others, hence the reason for us being entitled to face our accusers in a court of law.

          Also, the right to Free Speech is limited. You cannot scream “fire” in a crowded theater unless there is fire, you cannot make false, hateful racially motivated, or slanderous statements about others. That is illegal.)

          You said, “ I don’t believe that I or anyone else should be put in the position of having to make a chose between the free exercise of my First Amendment rights and my ability to continue to provide for myself and my family. If I am going to continue to speak my mind, offer alternative perspectives, and advocate for worthwhile solutions that don’t screw over San Jose’s citizens or rand-and-file employees, if I am going to be able to point out the rampant hypocrisy, avarice and institutionalized failure that exists in City Hall, I have to be able to post anonymously.” 

          I disagree with that. I go before the Mayor and Council, the City Manager, the Chief of Police, and anyone else I feel the need to, and express my opinion in person. I put my name on emails I send to our decision makers, and feel strongly that others should too.

          I find that decision makers are much more willing to move toward change and fairness when people of their convictions stand firm, out in the open, and confront them on their behaviors publicly.

          Every great leader faces opposition when taking a stand on an issue. They take the heat, and usually win because they had the courage of their convictions, and the integrity to be held openly accountable for their beliefs, or they get blackballed, or killed. Please name me one great leader who won change “anonymously.”

          I think the bottom line for me here is this, too many of you hide behind the 1st Amendment to escape accountability for your behaviors, and when you’re called on it, instead of respecting my right to feel this way, you attack me. I find that to be cowardly, and disrespectful. We can agree to disagree and move forward, I’m cool with that, but I won’t be bullied by “anonymous” posters who want to defend their right to be heard without being held accountable for what they say.

          Thank you for your service and commitment toward our community, and please, stay safe out there.

        • I’m 100% with you on this one OfficerD.

          We’re not required to sign our names to our ballots when we vote. That makes our elections MORE meaningful, not less.
          In fact, it is precisely this guarantee of anonymity that allows citizens to voice, without fear, this ultimate expression of their opinions.

        • John Galt,

          I guess you’ve never worked for a campaign. We may not have to sign our ballot when we vote, BUT they do know whom we are, how often we’ve voted, what party we are associated with, and HOW we voted!

          There’s nothing that is kept anonymous about us in this country any more.

        • I have not been posting here on SJI nearly as long as most of the regular commentators. I chose my nom de plume as a means of indicating my profession and decided on ‘D’ because ‘X’ seemed to be taken already. I knew from the outset that readers would (rightfully) understand that I was speaking based on my knowledge and experience as a member of SJPD and that therefore my comments would reflect on myself and the Department in general and for this reason, among others, I have attempted to exercise my voice in a way that is thoughtful, grounded and factual. I have done my level best to avoid fallacy, jingoism, or personal attacks, regardless of my absurdly low opinion of many of the political players here in San Jose. I believe that this is the surest way to establish one’s credibility and, hopefully, bring others around to your point of view. Obviously not everyone subscribes to this ethic and, just as obviously, I am not perfect at it either. Nonetheless, I think that professional, thoughtful, meaningful dialogue with civilized comportment can more than offset the writers anonymity. Furthermore, I submit to you that people such as myself are far more vulnerable to retaliation from those in power at City Hall than you are.

          Next, I would like to address your assertions with respect to anonymous speech and the Constitution (“And by the way, I think the 1st Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech was geared toward allowing us the freedom to speak, think, and write what we want, but I have never understood it to include anonymous posts that attack or creates harm for others, hence the reason for us being entitled to face our accusers in a court of law.”) and your challenge to me to identify one great leader who won change anonymously.

          The tradition of anonymous speech and particularly anonymous, dissenting – even revolutionary – speech goes all the way back to (roughly)Revolution-era American History. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, publishing under the *pseudonym* ‘Publius’ together wrote 85 articles which eventually came to be compiled and called The Federalist Papers. An historian named Richard B. Morris stated that they are an “incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer.” (The Forging of the Union)

        • With respect to their leadership, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_papers) notes that “Hamilton, who had been a leading advocate of national constitutional reform throughout the 1780s and represented New York at the Constitutional Convention, in 1789 became the first Secretary of the Treasury, a post he held until his resignation in 1795. John Jay, who had been secretary for foreign affairs under the Articles of Confederation from 1784 through their expiration in 1789, became the first Chief Justice of the United States in 1789, stepping down in 1795 to accept election as governor of New York, a post he held for two terms, retiring in 1801.” Clearly, these gentlemen – framers of and apologists for the Constitution – were great leaders who understood the value and importance of free speech, dissenting speech, even anonymous speech, and were loathe to see it limited, trusting that Americans could or should be astute and involved enough to be able to sort the verbal chaff from the wheat. This tradition – not an unlimited one, certainly – has been upheld time and again in our nation’s courts and I pray it never is diminished.

          Finally, I have noted with dismay the personal attacks on this website, some of which have been authored by people whose thoughts and opinions I had previously come to respect. While these ad hominem attacks diminished their standing in my mind, I am unwilling to completely dismiss all of their writing based solely on the handful of instances of these attacks. Each statement, each comment ought to be evaluated on its own merit, and I believe that merit exists apart from anonymity. Finally, there is a degree of built-in anonymity in the blogosphere. Pretty much anyone can post anything as anyone. If I were of a mind to (and I never would be) I could have posted this comment as ‘Kathleen’ just as easily as ‘OfficerD’, and readers would marvel both at your knowledge of American History and your positional about-face. Absent the establishment and requirement of unique, password-protected usernames, pretty much anyone can post as anyone they want, which completely removes any semblance of accountability.

          Kathleen, I know you personally, and respect you deeply. Though I don’t always agree with you, I truly appreciate your unwavering advocacy of public safety and my commitment to protect your right to speak your mind in whatever manner you choose is unshakeable. My commitment, my vow, to protect and uphold the Constitution is my most solemn professional duty. Unfortunately, I feel that my ability to do so would be jeopardized by posting with my actual name. It isn’t a lack of courage on my part; simply a pragmatic acknowledgment of the present political climate. If that puts me in such rarefied company as Hamilton, Jay or Madison, then I am more than content.

        • John Galt, thank you. Once again, you’ve shown that even those who find themselves positional opposites in most respects can find common ground sometimes. I think it’s just as important to acknowledge these instances as it is to express dissent in a civil and logical manner.

        • Officer D,
          We can agree to disagree. Regardless of your stand on this issue, I enjoy your comments and do find them credible most of the time. Stay safe out there.

        • Officer D.,
          Thank you for understanding that we won’t ever agree on this issue. As you have shown, NO ONE ever remains anonymous! Not even those in past history.
          wink

          As to speaking out and risking your job, I found the comments Jeff Smith made about the airport and the Sheriff’s Office, and Fire Chief William McDonald to be prime examples of men of their convictions. They are two men that have garnered my deepest respect because they caught heat from their superiors for speaking their truth, and chose to do it anyway.

          Again, I do understand your need to remain “unknown.” It is a sad commentary on how we as a society don’t protect the rights of workers to express themselves freely without reprisal. I’ve lost a job or two for doing it myself, so I completely get the risk involved. I guess it is more important to me to speak my truth than work in conditions that harm the very people I’m supposed to serve.

          Having said that, I wish you the best, as I know the sacrifices you make for us everyday. I have deep respect for all of our public servants, and will always fight to make things better for you.

  7. I ran an honest, but admittedly underfunded campaign in 2008, and came up short finishing 3rd after Rose Herrera and Pat Waite.  Losing is not fun, but I must give credit where credit is due. The SJ Chamber of Commerce triangulated with the precision of a well-trained assassin. They did their polling, discovered my strength and were ruthless and relentless in their political ‘hit pieces’ against my candidacy with the hope that the race would ultimately come down to the only two choices they could possibly live with; the honest Republican Pat Waite and the ‘DINO’ (Democrat in Name Only) Rose Herrera. At the end of the day, the SJ Chamber of Commerce prevailed with their candidate Rose Herrera. Don’t be fooled, their tool – Councilmember Rose Herrera- merely holds the seat on behalf of the SJ Chamber of Commerce.  She is their representative to the city council, the people of Evergreen (District 8) don’t really have one – at least for now. 

    Craig Mann
    Member, Santa Clara County Board of Education

    • “The SJ Chamber of Commerce triangulated with the precision of a well-trained assassin. They did their polling, discovered my strength”

      Let me get this straight.

      In 2008 the SJ Chamber, led by Lex Luthor-esque Pat Dando and her triangulating ninja minions, had somehow come to possess Kryptonite and were able to steal the 2008 election?

      I’ve seen Jimmy Olsen of the Daily Planet post here once in awhile.  Jimmy, can you confirm?

    • > The SJ Chamber of Commerce triangulated with the precision of a well-trained assassin. They did their polling, discovered my strength and were ruthless and relentless in their political ‘hit pieces’ against my candidacy . . . .

      The SJ Chamber of Commerce did that?!!!

      Really!

      I thought they were just a bunch of Depends-wearing geriatric old foofs.

      It’s hard to imagine them slithering around on their bellies assassinating the political prospects of a third tier political wannabe.

      Maybe they should change their name to the SJ Rambo of Commerce.

    • Its rarely just about money or an interest groups involvement that determines an election.  If you think you’d be a better representative, try again and walk more precincts this time.

      Another tip, ask people about their concerns one-on-one during the precinct walking, and listen.  Don’t assume they are wrong if you don’t agree with them, but instead find a way to address their concerns through public policy.  Do enough of that, and you’ll become a good representative, elected or otherwise.  Spend some time with advisory groups and pay your dues again, even though it feels like you shouldn’t have to.  Just being seen at groups and talking/listening over time builds credibility.

      I met council member Herrera at a vet center bbq and she appeared considerate and empathetic, which counts for a lot in my book.  She’s also a veteran of the Air Force, so she joined and did her civic duty while most folks did nothing.  That also counts for a lot in my book.  All in all, I’d say she probably won her her strengths and stood out as the best representative from the short list of candidates.  While unions or others concerned about pending policy might target the seat the way Republicans targeted Harry Reid’s Senate seat in Nevada as a key turn-over, things don’t always work out the way the interest groups want.  It comes down to the folks in Evergreen.

  8. She is not to be trusted. I completely agree with David Wall. This is one of the many who are not competent enough to hold that position. Every time she speaks she sounds confused herself. I don’t care if union leaders are meeting with her. I will do everything I can to make sure she is done! It will be nice to get someone in there with at least 1/2 a brain. It’s going to be a very long year.

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