The Scott Peters I Know

by on May 8, 2012 · 6 comments

in Economy, Election, Labor, Organizing, San Diego

Port Commissioner and candidate Scott Peters.

By Lorena Gonzalez

I have grown extremely frustrated by the lies and distortions being peddled by out-of-area groups about Scott Peters in his run for Congress. The San Diego Labor Council has endorsed Scott because of his outstanding record for workers, and his commitment to getting things done. But on a personal level, as an extremely progressive, pro-worker advocate, I am proud to unconditionally support Scott Peters in his bid for Congress. This is why:

When I first came to the Labor Council as political director in 2006, I was tasked with trying to get our Wal-Mart Supercenter Ban docketed at the City Council. Scott Peters was the Council President, and there just hadn’t been a whole lot of interaction between organized labor and Scott previously. We supported another candidate against him, and the belief was that he wouldn’t be there on the tough stuff because we didn’t have a relationship with him. I knew Scott from environmental issues previously and had met his wife when I sat on the board of Planned Parenthood, so I decided to just go straight to him with our request for an ordinance to ban Supercenters.

Over breakfast, I made my case without taking a breath – talking about Wal-Mart’s impact on the environment, their treatment of women, the suppression of wages and healthcare. After a few minutes, he interrupted me and simply stated, “I am with you.” In shock, I spilled my coffee on him and we began working on how to get it done. That was the first of many asks I brought to then-Council President Scott Peters on behalf of workers, and the answer was always the same: “I am with you. Let’s get this done.”

Lorena Gonzalez speaking at a rally for the jobless. Photo by Byron Morton.

When I told him we wanted to expand the Living Wage Ordinance and give it some teeth by strengthening its enforcement mechanism, he called the Mayor’s office and said they’d better meet with us to work out the language because it was going to be docketed and would pass. He was right. When the Mayor tried to jam through a super majority veto override before expanding the Council to 9 members, Scott empowered workers to have a seat at the table and demand that it be tied together. Despite being in a tough race for City Attorney, Scott refused to impose retirement insecurity on City Workers and forced the Mayor to go back to the table and collectively bargain in good faith. And, when we had a list of requirements we wanted enacted to protect private sector workers if City work was outsourced, Scott once again carried the ball.

His effectiveness and values haven’t changed while at the Port, either. One of his first actions at the Port was to pass a policy that gave additional bid points to contractors who provide health care for their service workers. He has taken a no-nonsense approach with developers, hoteliers and Port Cities, explaining to them that they need to address worker issues if they want to successfully build and operate on the waterfront. And, he is committed to not only creating more jobs but ensuring that they are good jobs with a living age and health care.

That is the Scott Peters I know.

And right now, I think that is exactly the kind of leader we need in Washington. Someone who not only has a track record of standing up for workers against corporate lobbyist and special interests, but has helped us to actually win some of those fights!

Lorena Gonzalez is the Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Andy Cohen May 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

Something to chew on in preview of my upcoming piece on Scott Peters: Yes, he voted against the Living Wage Ordinance in 2005. But it wasn’t because he didn’t support the living wage ordinance. I watched the video of that City Council meeting, and I listened to his statement just prior to the vote. He voted against it because the city was in a full financial crisis. The bond markets had downgraded the city’s rating to junk status. They were staring into the black hole of a $20+ million budget deficit, with some projections seeing a $96 million deficit by 2009. Hindsight is 20/20, and that never happened. The City Council did a good job of stopping the bleeding.

But even listening to his comments and his reasoning for voting against it, I thought he was wrong. He believed the budget projections that said the ordinance would have a negative effect on the city’s finances at a time when the city couldn’t afford any more hits. I thought that was far too simplistic a view. But he felt he couldn’t ignore the data presented by the city manager’s office, and felt it was too big a financial risk at the time.

To his credit, he now openly admits that that vote was “a mistake.” And he did help to lead the charge to expand the living wage ordinance in 2008.

Again, the truth is rarely as simple as a convenient sound bite.

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avatar OB Dude May 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Scott Peters treated Donna Frye like a piece of crap….watch the old meetings actions speak louder than words.

As for Lorena…..there must be something in it for her in the future to support Peters. So what does Carolyn Chase have to say about Peters???? Just curious :-)

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avatar Andy Cohen May 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Not everyone was a fan of Donna’s. Not even all Dems.

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avatar OB Dude May 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I am only giving MY opinion. Just because someone might not like Donna does not give Peters the right to treat her like a piece of crap. He had not respect for Donna….probably because she was smarter than he or wise to his ways…..

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avatar Les Birdsall May 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

So be it Lorena,

And, he created a trillion high paying jobs.

Never took a first class perk and sits on the right hand of . . .

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avatar Frank J May 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Lorena… you call yourself extremely progressive and I believe you, but let’s not equate that with Scott Peters being progressive or Liberal. My guess is at best he is slightly left of center. For over 30 years now the ‘lefty-righty’ spectrum has been shifting to the right, much to the dismay of true progressives ( as I am) who pretty much lack representation other than the rare Bernie Sanders at any level.
I think the 52nd District is wide open…Lets hope for a Saldana/ Peters run-off, and the result is that the people, not corporations, are truly represented.

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