The Dark Side of Yard Sales (political cartoon)

Crossposted from Town Called Dobson

click to enlarge

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The Teamsters Union is letting it's own members starve and die!

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters should be ashamed of itself for the kind of activities that take place in San Francisco's  Teamster local 85, the oldest Teamster local West of the Mississippi.

Contracts are negotiated by it's principal officer, Van Bean and teamsters who must work under those contracts are denied any say in them, or the opportunity to ratify them by a vote. It's "take it or leave it" in Van Bean's local 85. Often contracts are negotiated by just the employer and Van Bean.

Local hiring hall participants recently requested to local union officials that they be allowed to participate in the San Francisco Food Bank, their average incomes are well below the poverty level.

Most hiring hall participants are unable to achieve the minimum 60 hour per month eligibility to have their Health and Welfare benefits, and they and their families are forced to go without health coverage.Some, including most recently 24 year teamster henry hall have even died from this abuse neglect!

The local union hall doesn't even have a water fountain for it's member participants. The water dispensor is in a locked room, and only union officials are allowed to drink from it. the members of local 85 are forced to drink by bending over to use the water from a bathroom sink. Although these hiring hall participants pay 90 dollars a month in dues, they are routinely harassed and treated with contempt by officials. Secretaries in the local are rude to member's spouses over the telephone, they flip local members off when they arrive at work sometimes, and they commit federal offenses during the local union elections to make sure their boss wins.
Disagree with local officials-- they will send letters to employers accussing you of wrongdoing-- without even having been afforded the opportunity to defend yourself of these charges. Or expel you from membership meetings, humiliate and embarass you and falesly tell all those assembled "the department of labor is requiring that we do this".

Cronyism and nepotism run through the hiring hall rampantly. Often 20 and 30 year teamsters, more qualified, will watch someone's neice, nephew, son, or daughter waltz into the hiring hall and go to the top of the list, obtaining work before anyone else, and more frequently than anyone else!

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Open Thread

And I'm off to SF for three days to soak up some of the liberal.  And in that vein, here's Chris Bowers on our new conservative Congress.

This is an open thread.

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More on California Peaches...

There's a small bit of Lieberman-Lamont news, but on this Labor Day weekend I want to talk a bit about food.  I love food, and I eat a lot.  And now I'm in San Francisco, which was apparently built mostly for people who love food and eat a lot.  There's an interesting parallel to the progressive movement occurring in the agriculture industry right now, a revolt against the mass standardization and suburbanization of our food supply and a move towards local produce and sustainability.  In San Francisco, that means deliciousness, both because there's a large market for varied produce due to the high quality restaurant industry and because of the climate of surrounding areas.  Hippies like fresh veggies.

All of this is a way of telling you about my glorious day of eating.  

My girlfriend and I started out at the Ferry Building downtown, where there is a large farmer's market every Tuesday and Saturday.  I had some incredible Blue Bottle Coffee, a giant peach, and a bit of cured sausage.  We then met Dexter Carmichael, who runs the market.  I spent a bit of time talking about agricultural issues, and met to an organic farmer, Victor of Bellaviva Orchards.  Victor had no business card on him so he simply gave me a bag full of giant white peaches and delicious nectarines with the url of his orchard printed on the side.  Nice.  

The biggest problem right now for farmers in California is labor.  Farmers tend to be conservative, though the traditional Republican hold on rural areas is slipping.  Victor, a conservatively tempered and fiercely proud man who clearly takes his measure in the quality of what he produces, snickered as he talked about either party being fiscally responsible.  There's clearly a politically opportunity here, but I'm tired and I'm just starting to learn about the politics of food.  The rest of the day involved Ghiradelli's chocolate, gourmet Mexican food, fresh peach jelly, and In N' Out burgers.

I started out this post with some news from the Lieberman front, so that's where I'm going to end up.

Lieberman's campaign is starting a blog, probably so that they can grab a nasty comment and use it as a presumed example of how mean their opponents are.  Meanwhile, in reality, old Joe offices are being vacated as Lamont field takes over.  Here are pics of signs that are being left behind.

I left my camera cord at the office, so pictures of my glorious meals will have to wait until Tuesday. But rest assured that they were glorious.

Politics is going to be hot and heavy after Labor Day, so this weekend I'm going to keep it a little light.

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Peaches and California Politics

San Francisco has awesome peaches, juicy, firm, fresh, just great great peaches.  I'm a peach fan.  And now a San Francisco fan.  

This is a wealthy city, with hybrid car following sports car following luxury car, and there are techies and yuppies and hippies and freaks and homeless people all over the place.  It's incredibly diverse and super-hip, and I'm not sure I'm cool enough to be here.  Scratch that, I can be here, but I'm on probation.  You see I purchased a salmon-colored shirt this afternoon, and about fifteen minutes after I made the purchase, I was told that I'm on some sort of watch list.  San Francisco actually has fashion police.  

That last part is not true, though I did purchase clothing colored with a slightly pale and sickly color.  As ugly as that new clothing might be, and as much mockery as I might soon be getting from my friends back east, I have been eating delicious food for a few weeks now, and tomorrow it's going to be 75 and I'll have more great coffee and yummy brunch food and also I'll probably go hiking or something.  So there.

But you didn't come here to read about peaches and the ill-fitting clothing I wear.  Unless you're my Dad, who sometimes reads the blog.  Hi Dad.  

You came for the politics.  So here goes.

California politics is really really messed up.  You can tell that Reagan was here, because the place is ungovernable, full of debt, and has a completely dishonest political debate where good men like Phil Angelides run horrendous campaigns against seriously bad people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who incidentally settled a lawsuit today with a woman he apparently groped in private and then smeared in public so he could be Governor.  And he'll probably be reelected, unless Angelides finds something to run on.

California is relatively small in terms of its political structure.  It is very gossipy, horribly expensive, and gerrymandered.  The Democratic machine prevents effective progressive messaging from getting through, and so Republicans tend to control the Governor's mansion.  Los Angeles and San Francisco are massive donor and talent magnets for Democrats, but these national political centers are somewhat disconnected from the state and local scene.

Here are three names I hear again and again.  Howard Rich, a billionaire New Yorker who keeps funding ballot initiatives in California.  Gail Kaufman, a Mike McCurry-like Democratic consultant who ran the union drive against Arnold's 2005 initiatives and then sold out to big business.  And Gary South, a Bob Shrum-like figure who masterminded Steve Westly's phenomenally self-indulgent primary disaster, and is known as the king of mean.  I don't know that much about these people, but it does seem like they are gatekeepers of one sort or another.

Also, California is ungovernable.  Proposition 13 denies the government needed revenue, term limits allows government by consultants and out of state billionaires, and a two thirds requirement to pass the budget means that little can actually get done.

There are lots of initiatives on the ballot this time.  One is called proposition 89, or 'clean money', and it's public financing.  One is called proposition 90, and it would basically destroy the state and make environmental regulations, union protection, consumer protection, building new airports, off-shore drill bans, or anything else impossible.  But it sounds good because it is known as the eminent domain initiative, and it has backing from really rich people who buy lots of great PR.   Direct democracy is sweet!

In the next few years, I imagine there's going to be a sustained campaign to overturn Proposition 13.  Progressives are taking over the party, and that's going to have serious consequences down the road.  In the meantime, the stakes are low, and the infighting is grand and petty.  How very very different from Democratic DC.

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