Political Climate with Mark Simon: Controversial districting process will change status quo

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Labor Council endorsements exclude ally

in Featured/Headline/PoliticalClimate

It’s not just the Political Climate, it’s the season:

LABORING ON: The San Mateo County Central Labor Council is out with its first list of endorsements. A handful of other races will be decided after Labor Day.

There are some surprises, most notably that long-time labor ally Diana Reddy did not win an outright endorsement in the hot race for Redwood City Council.

By her own description, and that of many others, Reddy has walked, stood and picketed shoulder-to-shoulder with labor on a long list of social justice issues.

Instead, the labor council endorsed incumbent Vice Mayor Diane Howard and challengers Giselle Hale and Jason Galisatus in the three-seat race.

Reddy received what is known as an “open” endorsement – local unions, such as SEIU, which dominates union representation in Redwood City, can endorse her, but she will not have the benefit of the county labor council’s support.

That means Howard, Hale and Galisatus will appear on the slate mailing that will go to union households in Redwood City. It also can mean direct contact of union members by the labor council and it can provide some fundraising opportunities.

The “open” endorsement means Reddy fell short of the two-thirds needed among the delegates who attend the labor council’s endorsement sessions – roughly 50 or so.

The Building Trades Council unions are the most active in the process and it can be surmised that while Reddy is the most aggressive advocate in the race for low-income housing, the other three candidates probably have a broader agenda of support for development.

The labor council endorsed Measure W, the countywide half-cent sales tax for transportation projects and programs, which means their support will be featured on the countywide slate mail piece sent to all union households in San Mateo County. That’s 40,000 households and 74,000 union members. … In most races, the labor council endorsed incumbents, including Pamela Digiovanni in Daly City and Mark Nagales in South San Francisco. …. In the race for the San Mateo County Community College District Area 4 seat pitting fellow trustees Richard Holober and Tom Mohr, the labor council endorsed Holober. Technically, Mohr is the incumbent – he has lived in Area 4 for a while and Holober moved there to challenge Mohr, who received an “open” endorsement. … On September 10, the labor council will announce its endorsements in Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Jefferson Elementary School District in Daly City.

OUT-FOXED: A complaint has been filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission against Redwood City Council candidate Ernie Schmidt over a campaign expense he failed to report in his race for the council in 2013.

Schmidt, vice president at the Fox Theater in downtown, kicked off his 2013 campaign at the Fox and never reported the use of the facility as campaign expense.

He paid for the use of the venue, $700, but never reported on his campaign finance disclosure statement, Schmidt said.

“It was just an oversight from the accountant at that time,” Schmidt said. As soon as he was notified of the complaint by the FPPC, “I corrected it immediately – literally that same week,” and filed a new report on the expense item, Schmidt said.

The complaint was filed anonymously, of course, and the complainant, ever-helpful, wrote to the FPPC: “This candidate is in the midst of a campaign for the same office for election in November 2018 and so this needs to be handled quickly.”

Contact Mark Simon at mark.simon24@yahoo.com.

Editor’s Note — this column was updated in order to correct details on the nature of Schmidt’s FPPC violation. While the initial report stated the violation was a failure to report a contribution, the violation was in fact about not reporting the expense.

*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Online.


  1. I am so sorry Labor chose not to endorse Diana Reddy, who has indeed been a friend to Labor forever! I can only surmise from this that the Construction unions are putting their short-term gain (employment during RWC’s present building boom) over the long term benefits of having adequate housing at (relatively) affordable prices for the residents of Redwood City. Shame!!

  2. For anyone that has followed Redwoid City politics and development for the last few years, the Labor Council choices should come as no surprise.

  3. Why would anyone file an FPPC complaint in 2018, on an election that took place in 2013?

    Why the 5 year hesitation? How bizarre.

    And then they ask that it be handled “quickly”???

    That’s a good one!

    • I suppose someone who reviewed the FPPC reports of a candidate for office and wanted to expose that said candidate violated the FPPC laws, as was acknowledged by the candidate himself. I for one would like to know if a candidate for office is capable of managing their own affairs before I elect them to handle ours.

      • I’d like to know who reviewed a 2013 campaign finance report and waited five years, until the person announced for office, to file an anonymous complaint. It’s hard to buy into the kind of criticism you’re describing when you, and the anonymous complainant, don’t have enough integrity to use your own name.

    • Indeed, Julie. As you know, it’s to maximize the political damage.
      I wish these were not anonymous so we could assess the political motive of someone who waits five years to file this kind of complaint. The absence of political conviction and courage is not limited to our national government.

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