Saturday, May 13, 2006

MEA* needs better leaders and lawyers

The San Diego Union Tribune says this morning that "an anonymous letter... told [MEA President Judie] Italiano to resign or face public exposure" of spending allegations.

The SDUT and its anonymous source characterized the letter to Judie Italiano as "extortion."

The lesson here seems to be that if you have reason to believe that your union leaders have committed violations of law, you should IMMEDIATELY REPORT IT to the authorities and the public. If you ask your leaders to step down before you have done this, they'll accuse you of extortion.

After you have advised the authorities and the press, THEN ask your leaders to step down. But be warned that most union leaders have no inclination to apologize for wrongs they have committed against members, and will stubbornly hold on to power as long as they can.

I believe that union members SHOULD publicly expose union leaders who will not clean up their acts.

Shamefully, union leaders and their lawyers use intimidation to keep the rank and file quiet about wrongdoing. In fact, lawyers love to threaten people with extortion allegations. And isn't it extortion to threaten somebody with an accusation of extortion? It sure is.

The person who wrote the above-mentioned anonymous letter to Judie Italiano gave her good advice, and Judie shouldn't have waited so long to follow it. But perhaps Judy's retirement wasn't entirely voluntary. Perhaps her friends made it clear to her that she had no other option.

* Metropolitan Employees Association (San Diego)

This story made me think about my union, Chula Vista Educators, an affiliate of CTA (California Teachers Association). The lawyers for my union include Ann Smith, who is also the lawyer for the MEA, and who is quite likely the source of the anonymous quotes above.

I did a bit of research today, and came to the conclusion that Ann Smith and my union committed extortion by making threats to withhold testimony necessary to my case in an administrative proceeding and a lawsuit. The union made good on its threats by instructing leaders and members not to answer questions during depositions, and by creating false documents which leaders signed. Ironically, it never occurred to me that Ann Smith had committed extortion until I read this SDUT story containing extortion allegations which very likely originated with the very same Ann Smith.

Looking for information from the San Diego Union Tribune archives?
Don't bother. The SDUT's online archives have been censored. Some of the SDUT's own reports have been disconnected from its internal search engine. But there is a way around this problem: THE COMPLETE ARCHIVES SEEM TO BE AVAILABLE TO EXTERNAL SEARCH ENGINES! All you have to do is go to a mainstream search engine, and type in San Diego Union Tribune plus your search words.

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