J.B. Powell

Back to Oakland?

In what could be his first move toward the mayor's seat, Don Perata's political machine is working overtime to elect one of its own to Oakland's City Council
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jesse@sfbg.com

Big money is flowing into an Oakland City Council campaign, fueling rumors that state Senate President Don Perata might be preparing for a Willie Brown–style move from Sacramento kingpin to Bay Area mayor.

Perata's former chief of staff Kerry Hamill is vying for the city's at-large council seat, running against AC Transit board member Rebecca Kaplan. Two independent expenditure committees with possible links to Perata are laying out tens of thousands of dollars on Hamill's behalf. Read more »

A house divided

SEIU's internal battles could divert critical resources from the fall election
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jesse@sfbg.com

Just as the US presidential election hits the home stretch, internal strife at one of the country's largest labor unions appears to be diverting its focus from electing Barack Obama.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its 2 million members helped Obama defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Its ground operation and bulging political war chest are crucial to Democratic Party hopes in November, both in the presidential election and congressional races. Read more »

The SEIU strikes back

A conflicted committee nixes an election complaint as tensions grow at SF's big union local
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jesse@sfbg.com

The Rhode Island Street headquarters for Local 1021 of the giant Service Employees International Union (SEIU) had several surprise visitors April 14. First, International President Andy Stern arrived from Washington DC to speak with the local's executive board.

Then, after word of Stern's last minute appearance got out, a group of 20 activists from Oakland–based SEIU affiliate United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) attempted to enter the building and confront Stern about what they perceive to be his anti-democratic administration. Read more »

A less perfect union

At a time when organized labor is slipping, SEIU's national leaders are wasting their resources trying to discredit Sal Rosselli
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jesse@sfbg.com

By nearly every measure, the Service Employees International Union has become a juggernaut. As the rest of organized labor has seen its share of the American workforce continue to dwindle, SEIU has brought in some 800,000 new dues-paying members in recent years. Read more »

SEIU skullduggery

EXCLUSIVE: Internal emails show top staffers seeking to undermine dissidents in contested union election
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>jesse@sfbg.com

As an internal power struggle wracks the giant Service Employees International Union, emails obtained by the Guardian suggest that SEIU officials may have violated union rules by working to influence an important San Francisco delegate election last month.

Delegates selected by Local 1021, based in SF, will attend the union’s international convention in June and will vote on a series of democratic reforms put forward by dissident labor leader Sal Rosselli. Read more »

Labor's merger pains

How a small SF union lost its independence -- and can't get it back
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jesse@sfbg.com

Part one of a series on the emerging problems with labor mergers

For well over 100 years, San Francisco hod carriers — workers who assist stone, brick, and plaster masons — have gathered at the Local 36 hiring hall to find work. Read more »

Migden sues the FPPC

Trailing in the polls, embattled state senator Carole Migden takes regulators to federal court to save nearly $1 million in campaign funds
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jesse@sfbg.com

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton aren't the only Democrats beating each other up this campaign season. Read more »

The zoo at City Hall

Hearings explore the deadly tiger attack and its ramifications
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news@sfbg.com

City Hall looked like feeding time at a popular new zoo exhibit on the morning of Jan. 11. Hundreds of people spilled from a cramped fourth-floor hearing room. The aisles bristled with television cameras and microphones. Read more »

Politics as cryptography

Thom Hartmann cracks the code of what wins over Americans
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news@sfbg.com

In his new book, Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision (Berrett-Koehler), author and Air America radio personality Thom Hartmann offers a how-to manual for expressing political viewpoints. Read more »

41st Anniversary Special: Bilking the links

Public-golf revenue is up millions of dollars. But a costly public-private contract has swallowed most of the money
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news@sfbg.com

By now, even most nongolfing residents of San Francisco have heard the dire refrain coming from City Hall: San Francisco's public golf courses are sucking millions of dollars from the city treasury! Dozens of media stories have trumpeted this bleak pronouncement, and city leaders are using the shortfall to push for outsourcing control of the century-old open spaces. Read more »