I titled this blog posting the way I did because Nancy Pearlman takes her title of Trustee very seriously. Wikipedia begins defining “Trustee” as:
Trustee (or the holding of a Trusteeship) is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another. Although the strictest sense of the term is the holder of property on behalf of a beneficiary, the more expansive sense encompasses persons who serve, for example, on the Board of Trustees for an institution that operates for the benefit of the general public. [Emphasis added]
Unlike her opponent, David Vela, Nancy has never held another political office than Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees nor was she ever employed as a political staffer (those of us with degrees in Political Science frequently refer to professional staffers as “hacks,” as opposed to “flacks,” which are the professional Public Relations people who used to be legitimate journalists now serving as paid and hired guns; that said, it’s perfectly reasonable to utilize the same terms for me at times in different roles I’ve assumed over the years). Yet, she has a lifetime of political activism under her belt that make her one of the most qualified political leaders I have ever met.
Should Progressives Support Nancy on her record and on the issues? Hell Yes! Following is a series of great questions posed online by Green Party member Thomas Scott Tucker (no relation that I know of) and my response:
To Greens in Los Angeles,
Should Greens support Nancy Pearlman, now seeking re-election for a fourth term on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD)?
According to a recent message from Mike Feinstein:
“Nancy was originally elected in 2001, when a Green.”
Those words suggest that Pearlman has left the Green Party. Is she now a member of the Democratic Party, or some other party? Pardon my ignorance, but since we are discussing possible donations and endorsements on a Green email list we ought to have the facts spelled out.
In a memo from Pearlman dated April 7, 2013, she wrote:
“I am an independent voice who will stand up to unreasonable labor and
Presumably the unreasonable corporate demands would include the corporate undermining of Social Security, which seems to be part of an ongoing “Grand Bargain” between Democrats and Republicans. But I am curious to know what Pearlman regards as the “unreasonable” demands from labor. I hope she spells them out, soon, explicitly, and in public.
We must also consider this message from Bob Johnson:
“No where can I find her defending our Green Party platform which bolsters our Boycott Divestment and Sanction of the right-wing
regime of apartheid Israel. If she does, can someone point this out?”
If Pearlman is no longer a Green Party member, then of course she would not feel obliged to support the Green Party national program. But Johnson’s question is a good one all the same, since her positions on Palestine and Israel should be spelled out directly to Green Party members before Greens consider giving her any endorsement.
All quotes are from messages added below for reference.
Peace and solidarity, Scott Tucker
1. The unreasonable demands of labor amount to her vote on a single issue on the board, giving her a 98% COPE rating. In that vote, she chose environmental considerations over what labor wanted. In spite of the fact that AFL-CIO policy requires her to be endorsed as an incumbent with a 95% or better COPE rating–a rule cited by the California Federation of Teachers in opposing Hilda Solis for Congress and in support of then Congressman Matty Martinez–the AFT College Guild and SEIU teamed up to orchestrate the endorsement of a crony of Miguel Santiago who is a Democratic Party team player.
2. For those who doubt Nancy Pearlman’s environmental credentials, she (and I) were members of the “Fanatic Fifty” of the People’s Lobby who got the Clean Environment on the ballot for the June 1972 ballot at a time when PL was considered the tip of the javelin for the green movement.
3. If anybody wants to guess at how long Pearlman has been a feminist activist, one example alone is that she was the person who sued in 1972 for the right of women to register as “Ms” (in 1972) and secured the right of women to keep their own name when marrying in California instead of adopting their husband’s names.
4. If anybody has any doubt about Nancy’s commitment to Palestinian rights, she attended my Passover Seder of the Jewish Existentialist World Society (JEWS) on March 30, 2013. Read very carefully the Passover Haggadah and what it says about the relations between Jews, Arabs & Palestinians: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2013/03/04/passover-reversion-ceremony-3-30-13/
Let me flesh out my above commentary on a couple of points. Read my commentary about how Hilda Solis became a member of the House of Representatives, a crucial step on her way to becoming U.S. Secretary of Labor……over a tooth and nail fight led by none other than the American Federation of Teachers representatives in the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2008/12/20/for-hilda-solis-i-was-at-the-right-place-right-time/
The AFT and its local are well aware of the rules. Their representatives invoked the rules against Hilda Solis and in favor of NAFTA supporter Matty Martinez. Now they ignore their own rules against Nancy Pearlman and for David Vela; why? Especially why in light of the fact that one of David Vela’s public campaign pledges was to vote on the Board of Trustees for lower student fees (a completely incompetent pledge since he apparently doesn’t know that the Board doesn’t set those fees, the legislature does)?
Been there, done that
I’ve been around the block a few times. I know where all the bodies are buried in town because I was either on the burial detail or else I had it under surveillance. In the labor movement I’ve been on the front lines, in no man’s land, and behind enemy lines in battles against labor’s enemies and against the enemies of union democracy within the movement. I served as First Vice President of Newspaper Guild Local 69 under Presidents Gary North and Joe Segura. I was the investigator for years for Graphic Communications International Union District Council 2, the Southern California Allied Printing Trades Council and many other unions.
I was a close confidante of Miguel Contreras when he was Secretary-Treasurer of the County Federation of Labor. I used to do very special clandestine investigations for him and the County Fed just like I did for other unions. I was alone with him in his office when he got a fax (originated by another friend of mine, a high ranking Democratic politician) about the formation of a “Business Democrats” group, upon which Miguel exclaimed: “The Democratic Party is a piece of shit, but we’re going to take it over and at least then, it will be our piece of shit.”
Miguel’s point was that the labor movement was tired of being the tail being wagged by the Democratic Party dog. From his perspective it should be the other way around.
So I don’t think I’m quite the dullest tool in the shed when it comes to finding out stuff in both the labor movement and in the Democratic Party and I can be relatively objective about stuff in the Democratic Party because I’m not now and have never been a Democrat and it’s usually a battle between different Democratic Party factions where I’ve got friends in both (or all) competing camps. From everything I’ve been told, most of which has not been “for attribution” even though it’s been “on record” here is how it shakes out.
Nancy Pearlman isn’t part of the right political or social circles
I hope that my loyal readers trust my integrity on this because while most of what I’ve been told has been “on record” even if “not for attribution,” some has been told to me “off record” and for very good reasons. Ergo I’m not even going to explain what I mean by Nancy not being in the right “social circles” and even if those things had been revealed “on record,” I don’t even know that I’d make it public. The people I would have been talking about had I done so will likely know exactly what I’m talking about and guys, I just consider what you’re doing to be out of line.
As far as her not being in the right “political circles,” first, it’s true that she hasn’t always been a Democrat. Just like me, who remains in a third party (even though the leadership of my own party quite literally wants me executed). Nancy, unlike me, has arrived at being a Democrat and if the Democratic Party is as big a tent as it claims to be, the party should be welcoming her. If they don’t, then Democrats should stop telling me that I’d be welcome and stop telling me to get out of that crazy old Peace & Freedom Party that I belong to. In the past two elections, the AFT College Guild did endorse Nancy and now all of a sudden, after repeatedly telling her that they had no problem with performance, they go renegade on her.
The next point is that whereas Miguel Contreras had set in motion his goal of having labor take over the Democratic Party in Los Angeles, the labor movement’s attempt to scuttle Nancy’s re-election bid has a lot to do with the push-back of Democratic Party hacks and flacks against that takeover. Instead of being labor wagging the Democratic Party as its tail, this is a case of Democratic Party hacks wagging labor as its tail to justify getting another hack into office at the expense of a dedicated, competent, and brilliant public servant.
How the Democrats wagged Labor’s tail
An example of how Party hacks got Labor hacks to do their bidding was revealed in a leaked November 30, 2012 internal email from SEIU Local 99 leadership to its staffers. For context, Local 99 has always had notorious “issues” of corruption and mondo bizarro behavior. A former local president was indicted along with a sitting Los Angeles City Council member and sent to federal prison. When I was First Vice President of Newspaper Guild Local 69, our local (and I was directly involved) represented the staff of Local 99 against it’s own management. Some stuff the feds never even learned (if I recall, it was FBI special agent Sam Mayrose that took down the major crooks; I later was on the other side of Sam in the Golay-Rutterschmidt murder trial): (a) the son of a certain Local 99 official was heroin addicted and kept no-show employee-buddies of his on the local’s payroll who kicked back 50% of their checks to him in cash; later he burgled the office stealing all of the local’s computers and the petty cash fund; (b) one former Local 99 staffer–still on SEIU’s payroll in another local–was so crazy she once chased the student body president of an LAUSD campus around a room with a scissors trying to stab her.
The November 30, 2012 internal email indicated that the staffers should turn out “solid members” which is thinly veiled code for those who are willing to follow the leadership line on who to endorse at an endorsement “town hall” forum. The leadership had already decided who they wanted to endorse — David Vela for Community College Board Office 6 — and they needed people likely to rubber-stamp their choices to show up. The email warned that they were to keep the leadership’s decisions on who to orchestrate the endorsement of “confidential” while euphemistically referring to them as “recommendations.”
Listen to Nancy for yourself to see just how incredibly qualified and knowledgeable she is about the issues….
Political Analyst and Community Advocate Pedro Baez along with Co-Host Michelle Richardson on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, will conduct an exclusive in studio interview with LA Community College Board of Trustee’s candidate Nancy Pearlman on a special edition of “These Times w/Michelle & Pedro” at 9:00 AM PST, Noon EST, on KTYM Radio (1460 AM) and streamed globally on ktym.com.
Ms.Pearlman will discuss the education crisis facing the colleges today, student access and success, and other problems facing the colleges.
“The Los Angeles Community Colleges have under gone draconian cuts,” says Baez, “Candidate Pearlman will explain why the colleges need a grass roots approach to these problems and her remedy to fix them,” says Richardson.