My theory is that San Diego has some of the least-principled union leaders in the country. First the Metropolitan Employees Association (MEA) and other unions worked to save the secret pension deal that San Diego still hasn't recovered from (bankruptcy still looms as a possibility); now it's the SDEA.
San Diego Education Association (SDEA) is a local affiliate of the California Teachers Association, an organization that seems to be controlled not by members, but by Beverly Tucker, the head counsel. It makes sense that Tucker, the lawyer for CTA who has been in power as union elected officials have come and gone, would be the real power in the union. I used to think that executive director Carolyn Doggett had some real power, but I've found that she defers to Ms. Tucker regarding both cover-ups of internal matters and the union's public stance regarding improving teacher quality.
The Race to Unseat a Veteran -- And Very Loud -- Voice
Scott Barnett, a budget analyst who once led the county Taxpayers Association, says he'd keep a closer eye on the business workings of the school district if elected.
Voice of San Diego
April 21, 2010
By EMILY ALPERT
...Barnett is one of two candidates who are taking on de Beck this spring, but the other one is actually a de Beck fan. School psychologist Michelle Crisci said she originally thought that de Beck wasn't going to run. Now she hopes that by sticking in the race, she can knock Barnett out of the running. Only two candidates will move on from the June primary.
"My hat is in the ring to make sure on the November ballot that it's John and myself," Crisci said.
...Seven years ago, Barnett was quoted in San Diego CityBeat saying that labor unions are "basically about enriching one class of society at the expense of the citizens in general."
Yet Barnett has won the teachers union support.
Barnett says he wouldn't say that about labor unions now, but was speaking for the conservative Lincoln Club at the time. His push to cut waste in the massive school district, he says, can only help employees by redirecting money back to classrooms.
Camille Zombro, president of the teachers union, said they may not always agree with Barnett, but he's someone they can work with.
"He's not going to run out and say nasty, untruthful things about us on talk radio," Zombro said...
[Maura Larkins' comment: Barnett might not care about educating children, but Camille Zombro isn't focused on that. She is focused on power and prestige for the union, and, particularly, the officials in the union.]
De Beck was long known as a labor ally on the school board, but in recent years, the former union leader has become one of its most bitter foes.
While cuts have strained relationships between the union and the whole school board, de Beck has clashed with them most publicly and most often. He argued that the school district should throw in the towel on bargaining with teachers and impose cuts. He argued that the union had sacrificed the youngest teachers when they agreed to furloughs. And he lobbed the toxic charge that they didn't care about kids.
His rocky relationship with the teachers union only adds to his appeal for some voters, including some of his former opponents. Local Democrats have thrown him their support anyway. And de Beck has earned loyalty from other observers simply by showing up, asking questions and being a stickler for details...