Jerry Brown wins big - and so do Carpenters
Once again, Carpenters stepped up to impact elections and advance our cause. Thanks in part to hard work by members across Northern California, Jerry Brown was elected governor of California by a wide margin, and Senator Barbara Boxer won a fourth term in the US Senate.
On the final campaign weekend, Brown visited thirteen cities in three days, and Carpenter volunteers met him at every stop. UBC members helped with the organization of the events, and packed the crowd from Eureka to San Diego. Nearly every Carpenter-endorsed candidate won in state races, with the race for Attorney-General still too close to call.
UBC members didn’t limit their efforts to the top of the ticket. From legislative races to local school boards and bonds, Carpenters talked to fellow union members, and worked on campaigns that will help create jobs for union Carpenters throughout the Regional Council. California bucked the national trend in congressional races, returning almost all incumbents.
STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Several races remain too close to call as this paper goes to press. Representative Jerry McNerney in the 11th Congressional District, is clinging to a small lead, gathered with the help of UBC members, and in Fresno, Rep. Jim Costa is slightly behind, but expected to pull ahead when all the votes are counted. Costa was ahead in the polling until a week or so before the election, and UBC members jumped into the fray to help defend him from a million-dollar attack funded by Carl Rove.
In the State Assembly, UBC members volunteered to successfully defend incumbents Alyson Huber and Joan Buchanan, and helped elect newcomers Henry Perea Jr. in Fresno, and Dr. Richard Pan in the Sacramento area. Unfortunately, Anna Caballero, the Carpenters’ choice for State Senate in a district that stretches from Salinas to Merced, didn’t fare as well, although she ran a strong race.
IN THE CAPITOL
Sacramento Carpenters really stepped up this election cycle, with volunteers out every weekend in October on a variety of activities. The races included a congressional seat, several assembly races, multiple City Councils, and several key School Board races. We have done well in recent years in the region with PLAs and "responsible bidder" language in school construction, which has leveled the playing field for union contractors. The anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) mounted an attack on several key School Boards, and Carpenters stepped up to protect our friends. Although a couple of the races are close, as we go to press, it appears the UBC beat the ABC once again.
BROTHERS ON THE BALLOT
We had a couple of UBC members on the ballot this season. Brian Vlahos was elected to the Roseville City School Board. Brother Ralph Rubio is locked in a close race for re-election as mayor of Seaside, with the race too close to call at press time. Regardless of the outcome, both these Brothers are to be commended for stepping up to serve their community and their union.
Local races were a mixed bag, although Carpenter-supported candidates generally did well. In San Jose, Carpenter volunteers worked hard to win three City Council races, and it appears all three candidates were victorious. This was an important race, with suggestions that prevailing wages might have come under attack if our candidates had not won. In Contra Costa, we won key School Board races, but didn’t fare so well in Richmond, which re-elected the mayor from the Green Party.
In San Mateo County, the Carpenter-backed candidate won a key race for the Board of Supervisors over an anti-growth opponent, and two candidates for City Council in Daly City won. In Alameda, the UBC candidate for county supervisor also won, but we didn’t fare so well in local mayor’s races.
The toughest mayoral contest was in Oakland, where Don Perata was ahead on election night, but after votes were distributed by the new ranked-choice voting system, he was narrowly defeated. San Francisco also uses this system, known as "instant runoff," where the votes of losing candidates are redistributed until one candidate has more than 50 percent of the vote. In San Francisco, one candidate endorsed by Local 22 was ahead on election night, but now appears to have lost. Another endorsed candidate pulled into the lead when votes were redistributed.
NEWS FROM THE NORTH
Carpenters also did well in the North Bay, winning both key races in Solano County. In Marin, all four candidates for the Water Board were elected despite strong opposition, and most City Council candidates won their races in Sonoma County, including all three endorsed candidates for Petaluma City Council. Our endorsed candidate for county supervisor did not win, but representatives are already reaching out to the winner in that race.
PROPS AND BONDS
Candidates were not the only thing on the ballot this year. In addition to the state-wide propositions, there were a number of local measures of interest to Carpenters.
In San Francisco, voters didn’t quite get to the 2/3 majority for an earthquake retrofit bond, but turned back an assault on pension and health insurance that would have affected UBC members there.
Voters continue to show strong support for school construction. In Santa Clara County, voters passed Measure G, which will fund construction jobs at San Jose Evergreen Community College District.
In Alameda, several bond measures passed, totaling over $500 million in additional construction. In San Mateo, voters also supported a measure that will create over $200 million in new construction, putting union Carpenters back to work.
Once again, Carpenters stepped up and supported "carpenter politics," focusing on candidates and ballot measures that support our issues, protect good wages and benefits, and put Carpenters to work.
Regardless of the outcome, Carpenters proved that across the state, we are a force to be reckoned with. Thanks to all who gave time and energy to working on this election!