Labor Party Knows How to Party

“Please, just don’t talk to Cindy, OK?” begged a public relator at the South Bay Labor Council’s Election Night party when she spotted our operative. As people scarfed down tri-tip and fried chicken and frequented the open bar, U.S. Congressman Mike Honda kicked into an impromptu karaoke performance. The mood was decidedly festive as SBLC CEO Cindy Chavez led cheers.

Not only did President Obama hang on to his job, San Jose voters approved an increased minimum wage, the union-targeted Prop. 32 failed and all liberal legislators at the state and national levels won with ease. There were labor losses at the school board and council levels, but after getting trounced in the June primaries, there seemed to be an overall mood in the building of: Wait, we’re still here?! We’re still here!

The county’s sales tax hike was approved, which seemed to lift the spirits of supervisors Dave Cortese and Ken Yeager, as well as County Executive Jeff Smith—who tossed aside administrative decorum by attending the partisan political party. Supervisor board president George Shirakawa was notably absent, which is a shame because he would have loved this type of party. (Did we mention there was chicken and beer?)

Meanwhile, over at Obama headquarters on San Jose’s Market and Santa Clara Streets, club lighting illuminated the room that just a few hours earlier was filled with tables and volunteers calling voters in swing states.

“I’ve been here since 5am and up since 3am,” said Heather Quintal, staging location director and volunteer. “It’s all blurring together.”

Volunteers danced to Rihanna and a small group clustered around bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum in the back kitchen as they waited for Obama’s victory speech. Over the last two months, volunteers at the office called voters in Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada, which were all won by Obama.

“We won every single state we phone banked,” Quintal said. Proving once again that the wheels of democracy are kept running with food, beer and sleep deprivation, volunteer Emily Ramos was ready to switch gears at the drop of a swing state. “Once CNN called it, we put everything away, cleaned it up and started celebrating,” she said.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. He should be absent permanently from all political circles.  He obviously gets that he has shamed himself and his family by his immoral and now criminal behavior.  Shirakawa should resign and go live under a bridge somewhere.

    Very disappointing to see Dave Cortese equally as obvious in courting the labor support for his Mayoral bid.  Hey Dave, didn’t you see how your extra campaigning for Martinez-Roach and then Nguyen didn’t make a difference in unseating Herrera?  Didn’t you notice that 70% of your home district voted for Measure B pension reform?  You are cuddling up to the wrong crowd so I hope you’re not too surprised when your mayoral ambitions are dashed once again.  Shirakawa’s stink is already all over you and the other Supervisor’s for not speaking up and condemning his overspending and disregard for taxpayer money.

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