San Diego Labor Leader’s House Vandalized Following Right Wing Blog “Exposé”

by on August 10, 2011 · 23 comments

in Civil Rights, Labor, Popular, San Diego

Lorena Gonzalez, head of the local San Diego Labor Council. Large rock crashed her front window following rightwing blog "expose."

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.

Derrick Roach.

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.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar kamana August 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

The white man’s most important product is “violence or the threat of violence” with violence being defined here as “the cowardly use of force against innocent persons, places or things…..to gain an unfair, unjust and unequal advantage over those innocents”.

Without violence or the threat of violence the cowardly white man has nothing going for him.

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avatar RB August 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Judging people by the color of their skin?
How about waiting until the suspects are found before using your racial profiling assumptions?

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avatar Jon August 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I don’t believe that comment is appropriate here. Especially following such a moving and heartfelt letter from Lorena. Human beings are prone to violence. Shame on you.

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avatar Pat Eiding August 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

With more brave, young leaders like Lorena,we can put a stop to the corporate greed in this Great Country of ours ,help put people to work with living wages and some much needed benefits. To all working people REMEMBER WE ARE ONE and together we will win.

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avatar Ben Cisneros August 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thank you for bringing attention to this. Good job guys.

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avatar Don Ayers August 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Pretty irresponsible of you to start throwing blame around when there have been no arrests.

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avatar Jettyboy August 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Speculation is very different from placing blame now isn’t it? How do know there hasn’t been any arrests?

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avatar Don Ayers August 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Do you know something everyone else doesn’t? Why don’t you share.

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avatar Gloria Johnson August 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Lorena is a friend of mine. I cannot even describe how horified that I am about what happened to her and her kids. I have not even heard a report on the main stream media. WHY ?

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avatar Olin Hyde August 10, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Lorena:

I admire that you are taking the high road. The power of violence and intimidation crumbles in the face of moral authority.

Vandalism of this kind is reminiscent of the violence I witnessed the coal and steel town where I grew up — only then it was the union workers who blasted shot guns into the windows of mill managers and burned the cars of suspected non-union laborers.

Such behavior is barbaric — regardless of what side of the dispute you are on.

As a mutual friend said today on Facebook: Living in a civil society presumes a degree of civility.

Please know that the actions of these vandals are so abhorrent as they justify being considered domestic terrorists — regardless of their ideological orientation.

Your actions to protect workers are not the source of these attacks. Rather, they come from misguided sociopaths that have no place in our society.

And yes, you are very brave. Please remain so.

Peace and love to you and your family.

Olin

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avatar SD-mouth August 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Amazing how many cowards hide behind this right wing goon party. If the GOP in SD has any huevos, they would fire Roach. But, he is so typical of what has overtaken the Republican Party in general. He is a coward and i’ll bet anything he gets paid to write his “shtick” by the Koch Brothers. They are super millionairs who want no unions or regulations because it hurts their corporate profits. They have the GOP in their pockets and probably most of congress. Look into their “governor’s retreat” where the dipsticks that went there got indoctrinated. The GOP has given up serving people; just serving big business.

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avatar The Bearded Obecian August 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

Not to rain on your parade, but the evil Koch brothers employ 50,000 people, among them being many unionized workers. They also pay among the highest manufacturing wages in their various industries. they indirectly employ nearly 200,000 people, 80% of which are American jobs.

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avatar Allen Lewis August 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I think there’s more to this than what meets the eye. I’m very sorry that this hard working person has become a victim, 117,000 doesn’t make you a dirty rat, you are still only a piss ant, today that’s only a working middle class wage. ( the bar has been raised) you need to make at least 500,000 to be a dirty rat, and the fat cats make way much more than that. ( not that I feel all who makes big money are dirty rat) I’m just sayen it’s not about the $. So I wonder why this person was targeted ? And to the comment about the right wing and the left, our government needs to put out to pasture, they are all a bunch of crooks, right and left. I wish people would get it, it’s time for a fresh start, there is no fixing it.

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avatar o.b.dude August 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Derrick Roach? Now that’s an apropos name!

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avatar Bill Hohlfeld August 11, 2011 at 6:14 am

Ms. Gonzalez is a badly needed booster shot to a weak and ailing labor movement. We could use a few more like her, then maybe we would actually get something done!

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avatar Laurie Macrae August 11, 2011 at 11:13 am

Let’s hear it for Lorena Gonzalez. And lets stand with her.
This event confirms that facism is alive and well in San Diego; the same thuggery that pursued Emma Goldman still slouching in the shadows of “America’s finest city”.

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avatar Henry Walton August 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

As a teenager in the fifties and as a young adult in the sixties I learned that to win a struggle for justice, we must expect opposition from the unjust. Whether it is civil and human rights, opposition to war, or promoting worker rights, the Neanderthals are present. Some throw rocks, some write lies, but all are thugs, liars, cheats, and by definition TERRORIST. Labor has been at war with them for over 200 years in this country. Lorena Gonzales is a General in this war. We must support her to the fullest. We must be aware that there is an element in this nation that is making war on the workers for the benefit of corporate profit. Was the rock throwing a coincidence? Could be, but probably not. Does race matter in this case? As an African American Senior Citizen who has been in the struggle for many years, I say where class struggle is concerned, race is niether a hinderence nor a help. The ruling class will attack anyone or anything that threatens their economic dominance and assumption of privilege. Racial politics creates anomalies such as Clarence Thomas. Lets avoid that trap. Identify the true enemy and attack effectively, “by whatever means necessary.” Remember, necessity is determined by the aggressor. The level of aggression determines the level of necessary defense. Nonviolence is so much more powerful than violence. Aggressive violence is what results when a person knows he is wrong and cannot articulate a logical response to reason. The high road is always victorious in the long run. Even when we feel frustrated and defeated in the immediate assessment. That is what is meant when we say, “We Shall Overcome.”

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avatar doug porter August 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

UPDATE # 1: A number of local politicians on both sides of the aisle have reached to Lorena Gonzalez to show their support for civil discourse.
UPDATE #2: From Lorena’s Twitter Account Posted at about 2:45 Thurs PM— Dear @sdrealitycheck, harass me all you like. All day, everyday. But only a coward would anonymously take on my daughter on twitter.

These scum have no shame.

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avatar Lorena Gonzalez August 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

I just want to thank everyone at the OBRag and those who have expressed concern. My kids and I appreciate all of the support. The right has been engaging of months of name calling (how many times can they say union thugs and goons?) and intimidation. I just had enough. I will continue to use every platform available to me to call out the corporate-backed right wing on their tactics, and more importantly, the devestating effects their policies are causing on most Americans. We all have a responsibility to rise up and have our voices heard.

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avatar john August 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

“Her million dollar neighborhood”.

As the soon to be razed duplex buildings described here awhile back in the Rag as the “war zone” and other colorful labels are still pushing $800,000 AFTER the real estate crash, is that really saying anything?

I will concede I don’t even know anyone making $117k a year but with her stated degrees she’s giving away her time.

What really blows about this matter is they took it to a completely personal level with nothing of substance than trying to sling mud. It only reflects badly upon the slinger.

Who already looks like King Knob as it is. “I’m not just the owner of Hair club for men, I’m a member too!” Hey, when in Rome….

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avatar mr.rick August 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Alot of us from OB know a little bit about throwing rocks and such. I always prefered long neck bottles myself. Easier to aim.

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avatar The Gunny August 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm

When is San Diego going to take on the likes of Richard Rider and his band of cretins? This guy has the biggest chip on his shoulder and attitude to match. Ever look at what this fools does to people that differ from his opinion? He even went so far as to infer that Lorena’s own people may have been the root of this act.
Time to turn the spotlight on those who have the “delusion of command” and end the idiocy.

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avatar politicky September 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

Lorena Gonzales,

Your strength is inspiring :)

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