The Big Question Is Was the Rock Through Her Window Mere Coincidence?
A few days ago San Diego’s right wing blog, SDRostra, published a story written by the GOP’s gumshoe, one Derrick Roach. In it we learned that he had discovered, via the internet, the salary of Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary Treasurer of the San Diego Imperial Counties AFL-CIO.
By itself, even discounting his embellishments like “Gonzalez is already living a lifestyle reserved for the rich and famous as she lounges around her exclusive Mission Bay residence in a million dollar neighborhood while sipping cups of gourmet coffee imported from an organic environmentally friendly plantation that did not exploit indigenous laborers”, this posting was little more than the sort of anti-union propaganda that we’ve come to expect from SDRostra.
But then it turns out that this posting was not a unique effort by Roach, who volunteers as Secretary for the Republican Party of San Diego County. (Roach, by the way, was also a recipient of City Beat’s “Turds and Blossoms” Award.) It seems as though he’s been part and parcel to an ongoing campaign of harassment directed at Ms. Gonzalez, a single mother and graduate of UCLA.
Here’s Lorena’s side of the story, published as a note (added emphasis mine) on Facebook:
My side of the story by Lorena Gonzalez:
The last 36 hours or so, have taught me more about myself than probably the last 36 years.
After a lot of conjecture, opinion and victimization – I can say this. It is what it is, but don’t expect me to back down.
Yesterday, a “private investigator” who serves as the Republican Party Secretary and has warned me for months on twitter that I “was being watched,” even going so far as to say he was watching what was being served for breakfast, posted a “tell all” on a San Diego Republican blog describing my so-called hypocritical lifestyle.
He noted that according to the Labor Council’s IRS filings that if you include family health care, retirement contributions and salary, I make a little over $117,000 a year. He went on to document the fact that I live in a very nice neighborhood – and imagined that I am lounging in my million dollar neighborhood eating caviar and drinking organic gourmet coffee.
He went so far as to pinpoint the area where I live (which is easily findable on the internet).
Then, at about 10:30 last night – while my kids and I were settling in for the night – we heard what can only be described as a large crashing sound that drove me and my daughter from our rooms, thinking the other was in danger.
Luckily, my neighbors came out and had actually witnessed what had happened. A sports utility vehicle had come down our very quiet street, turned out its lights, a couple young men in the vehicle stopped in front of my house (which was well lit and hard to access due to parked cars directly in front of my house) got out and threw objects at my house until they shattered the front large living room window.
A heavy rock was found on my living room floor along with glass. I am the first to say that this may have been a strange coincidence.
A meeting of the universe where someone brings attention to my house on the same day when someone decides to throw an object through my window. Or, maybe as that same right wing blog is now spinning it – maybe it is a disgruntled union member who was upset at how much I make or someone who had been stewing since the UT did a profile of me in April.
I am used to being the target of controversy. I was elected in my position to speak for workers in this county and the 132 unions that make up the Labor Council. That comes with scrutiny and criticism, and that is just fine. I pray every night that people will understand how much our society needs to change to accommodate the needs of workers – all workers- and bring dignity and respect to people who toil 40, 50 and 60 hours a week. That’s my job, and our mission. And, I do feel blessed that our union members have elected me and voted to give me such a generous contract.
With degrees from Stanford, Georgetown and UCLA Law School, I know I could make much more in the corporate sector, but I don’t ever regret dedicating my life to workers.
Interestingly, I have never heard a complaint about my salary from within organized labor except by those from within who think I should make more for my 70-plus hour work weeks.
Still, my family and my friends now feel like I am somehow under siege thanks to these latest antics. And to that I would say, (even though the police warned me not to)… bring it.
Your intimidation inspires me. What you will never understand is this is not about me. When I speak, or advocate or even fight… I don’t do so for myself. I do it for workers, for our community and for the future. It is a movement that drives us, not a personality. I have looked into the eyes of far too many low-wage workers, too many unemployed, too many public servants who just want dignity, respect, a self-sustaining job and a voice at their workplace to believe this has absolutely anything to do with me.
I love what I do, more than I love life itself. And, late last night, when my eight year old cupped my hand and said, “Mommy, you are brave. Really brave. That’s why they don’t like us,” it all became clear. I am not brave. The mom who works two shifts cleaning hotel rooms at just above minimum wage so her children can eat and go to school and have a chance at a better life–she is brave. The construction worker, who shows up day after day – hoping for work on that day -and being forced to return home with nothing–he is brave. And the nurse, who works overtime so the hospital is not short staffed and no one dies; and the lifeguard who risks his life to keep you from drowning; and the police officer who loses his life for just sitting in his police car and making us feel safe—they are brave.
So bring it…every allegation, every threat, ever bad word, every mocking commentary. Talk about the house that you know doesn’t even belong to me, talk about coffee I wouldn’t dare buy and caviar that I could never afford. Come to my house and attempt to intimidate me. This isn’t about me, or even you. This is much, much larger than either of us. And, eventually those whose hard work produces the immense wealth in this country will rise up on their own and make it about what it should be about , what it has always been about – the worker.
Here’s the link to SDRostra’s post. The comments are especially informative.