March 11, 2005
Wasting Money Against Pro-Labor Candidates
The Los Angeles mayor's race is ending up a repeat of four years ago, with a runoff between James Hahn, now the incumbent mayor, and Antonio Villaraignosa, a former state Assembly speaker and now City Councilperson.
One big difference is that while the unions backed Villaraignnosa, a former union organizer, four years ago, labor has largely switched to supporting Hahn this time around.
Why are Los Angeles unions spending hundreds of thousands of dollars telling union voters to ignore what they spent $1.5 million saying four years ago?
I don't know local LA politics, but I don't have to buy Marc Cooper's view that it's bad "backroom deal making" to think this is the wrong use of union money. Maybe supporting Hahn is the better choice, but is it that MUCH better?
In a political race like this, wouldn't it be a better approach to tell union members, these two guys are both good, then spend the money running organizing campaigns against employers who deserve to be trashed with union money? This is in many ways just a miniature version of the larger national debate on whether to give priority to politics over organizing.
Now, I'm hardly a fundamentalist on the issue. The LA unions seems to have extracted good treatment of municipal and other workers. But having spent so much money four years ago telling members how great Villaraignosa is, it just seems especially wasteful to spend so much trying to tell members the unions made the wrong choice back then.
Posted by Nathan at March 11, 2005 08:54 AM