Bruce Blog

Dick Meister: The billionaire's bill of rights


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Billionaire corporate interests and other well financed anti-labor forces are waging a major drive to stifle the political voice of workers and their unions in California that is certain to spread nationwide if not stopped – and stopped now.

At issue is a highly deceptive measure, Proposition 32, on the November election ballot, that its anti-labor sponsors label as an even-handed attempt to limit campaign spending. But actually, it would limit – and severely – only the spending of unions while leaving corporations and other moneyed special interests free to spend as much as they like.

Unions would be prohibited from making political contributions with money collected from voluntary paycheck deductions authorized by their members, which is the main source of union political funds. Read more »

Stop the presses: Elaina is back and stands with Ross at a noon rally today at City Hall!


Here is the latest advisory from the Stand With Ross forces.  Note below in particular the op ed piece in today's Examiner by Geoff Brown, former San Francisco public defender. He argues persuasively that "Ross Mirkarimi deserves another chance."  b3

Hello Friends of Ross,

Great news!!!  Elaina and Theo have returned from Venezuela to support Ross. Please join Eliana tomorrow, Thursday 8/16, at noon on the Polk Street side of City Hall to show your support for our sheriff. Wear your 'Stand With Ross' buttons (will be provided, if needed).  

RSVP here or at so we have enough buttons – or just show up and Stand With Ross!!!

Please join us in support of our Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi -- in support of our sheriff, his family and our city!  

Read the great Op Ed in today’s Examiner by Geoff Brown “Ross Mirkarimi deserves another chance.Read more »

Stand with Ross at a major rally Thursday noon at City Hall


The Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi forces put out a call to action Wednesday to mobilize their supporters for a show of force at a noon rally at City Hall on Thursday.

The rally is scheduled to be across Polk Street from the City Hall entrance because they fear that their opponents will be holding a rally on the City Hall steps with a sound system.

Read more »

Dick Meister: Obama needs labor--again!


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website,, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Organized labor, which played a major role in President Obama's 2008 election campaign, thankfully has launched what seems certain to become an even greater and perhaps decisive effort in behalf of Obama's re-election this year.

We should all be thankful for that, given the reactionary policies Mitt Romney and his Republican cohorts promise to put in place should they win, and the positive reforms Obama and the Democrats promise.

Four years ago, 250,000 AFL-CIO activists campaigned for Obama's election. But the AFL-CIO says the number of union volunteers campaigning for Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress this year will reach at least 400,000, and be waged among union and non-union members alike. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: Mitt Romney's tax returns


Mitt Romney's tax returns

Demands come from left and right.

Mitt Romney, though, says he'll sit tight.

We've given you people enough,

Says Ann, sounding suddenly tough.

Conspiracy theories abound.

Mitt's critics relentlessly pound.

Why go through this sort of ordeal?

What doesn't Mitt want to reveal? Read more »

Impertinent question for Sup. Malia Cohen


As attentive readers know, I get most annoyed when a "neighborhood" supervisor, who ran as a "neighborhood" candidate, gets to City Hall and then votes the Chamber of Commerce/big development line without gulping.  And so I pop off Impertinent Questions now and then to pin the "neighborhood" supervisor on key votes  to illuminate the issue.  My latest Impertinent Question went by email last Friday  to Sup. Malia Cohen of District l0 (Potrero Hill, Bay View, Hunters Point) on her swing vote to keep the developers' quarterback on the Planning Commission. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet: Ohio



(A 2012 version of the Wonderful Town classic)

With the rest of the states either solidly red or solidly blue,

the election will be decided by nine or ten swing states.

                                                        --News reportsRead more »

Guardian editorial: The real Mirkarimi question


Do you believe Eliana?

After more than five months of legal and political wrangling, after criminal prosecution and a guilty plea, misconduct charges that are costing both sides hundreds of thousands of dollars, and lengthy hearings at the Ethics Commission, the case against Ross Mirkarimi comes down to a simple question: Do you believe Eliana?

Read more »

Dick Meister: Good news--and bad--about jobs


By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half century. Contact him through his website,

It's of course good news that unemployment among workers in private industry has been steadily declining. But that comes along with the bad news that unemployment among public employees has been growing – and with it a decline in vital government services.

A recent  report in the New York Times has made that very clear.  Reporters Shaila Dewan and Motoko Rich noted that government payrolls grew in the early part of the recovery from the Great Recession in 2009, mainly because of federal stimulus measures. But they said that since then, "the public sector has shrunk by 706,000 jobs.  The losses appeared to be tapering off earlier this year, but have accelerated for the last three months, creating the single biggest drag on the recovery in many areas." Read more »

The British press: "Nowhere Man" and "Mitt the Twit"


I like one liners that make the point.

As Maureen Dowd put it in her Sunday (7/29/2012)  column in the New York Times  on "Mitt's Olympic Meddle,"

"The alarming thing about Romney is that he has been running for president for  years, but he still doesn't know how to read a room."