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Political tensions build in L.A. unions over Obama, Clinton endorsements

There are mounting signs that the recent endorsement of Barack Obama by Maria Elena Durazo is causing her some internal troubles at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, an alliance of more than 350 union locals representing more than 800,000 workers.

After the valuable endorsement earlier this month, Durazo, the federation's top staff official, a prominent face of labor and one of the state's best-known Latino officials, was named a national co-chair of the Obama campaign. She said the endorsement decision was a personal one and she's taking vacation time during the campaign to work out of a local Obama office

As The Times Joe Mathews notes, the federation has been neutral in the election, and various unions affiliated with the federation have endorsed other candidates. Durazo has come under criticism throughout her tenure for....

taking positions at odds with those of some federation affiliates. (Most recently, unions within the federation have been on different sides in a dispute over a hospital addition in the San Fernando Valley.)

Durazo's endorsement of Obama seems to have added to the tension. Durazo faced tough criticism during a meeting of the federation's executive board last week, according to two people who were there. Durazo is also an officer of Unite Here, the hotel workers' union that has endorsed Obama.

Some council members questioned whether she should have remained neutral in the race, given that she represents unions that support a variety of candidates. Durazo repeated that her decision to back Obama was a personal one and that she does not represent the federation.

The issue could come up in a couple of hours in Burbank at the federation's Delegates meeting tonight. (The delegates from various unions govern the federation and elect officers, including Durazo.)

The Los Angeles/Orange counties Building and Construction Trades Council has submitted a resolution -- obtained by Mathews -- that would require officers and staff of the federation to "at all times maintain a non-partisan status and neutral position on all issues where it is made known by an Affiliate that Affiliated Unions have differences between them..." Durazo or other officers could endorse only if the executive board and federation delegates vote to authorize her to do so, the proposed resolution says.

A Durazo spokeswoman, Mary Gutierrez, said this afternoon that she did not know of the building trades resolution.

But the back-and-forth is one example of how the close race for the Democratic presidential nomination is dividing California's powerful labor movement internally.

This past weekend the California Teachers Assn. had been preparing to endorse Hillary Clinton during its meeting. But a rank-and-file rebellion, at least assisted by supporters of Obama and John Edwards, successfully blocked the Clinton endorsement until April. The political move will keep that powerful, 335,000-member union neutral in these crucial days leading up to the state's primary on Feb. 5.

-- Andrew Malcolm

 
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I used to be a Republican but changed my mind during GW Bush's presidency. Believe me, Republicans want Clinton or Obama to win in the Primaries. They would both be easy to beat in all or most red states in a general election. Bush won his reelection in spite of everyone knowing the war in Irag was a mistake and his low approval ratings. Can we realistically expect Clinton or Obama to win against McCain in southern states, for example?
John Feeherty, a REPUBLICAN strategist made the following statement on MSNBC:

“I think we would be delighted with either Hillary or Obama. EDWARDS is the one who scares me the most because he’s a southern democrat. Southern democrats are the ones that usually win!”

Check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir5Ee2CE-8Q

Please think beyond the Primaries when you make your choice!
Brad

YOU VOTERS WILL DECIDE! DON'T BELIEVE THE NATIONAL MEDIA, PUNDITS, POLITICAL ADS, POLLSTERS, SPIN DOCTORS, POLITICIANS AND CELEBRITY ENDORSERS! YOU ARE THE DECIDING FACTOR AND DON'T GIVE THAT RIGHTS TO ANYONE! NOW WE HAVE TO THINK HARD AND BE REALISTIC - FOR WE NEED TO VOTE WISELY AND PRUDENTLY FOR AMERICA CANNOT AFFORD ANOTHER MISTAKE IN ELECTING A WRONG PRESIDENT! WE HAVE TO FOCUS AND BE REALISTIC WHERE OUR COUNTRY RIGHT NOW - THIS IS A TOUGH DECISION WE HAVE TO MAKE. I KNOW SENATOR OBAMA IS THE MAN OF THE HOUR AND AMERICA IS INFATUATED WITH THIS YOUNG SENATOR FOR HIS RHETORIC AND BEAUTIFUL SPEECHES PLUS THE MEDIA IS BACKING HIM UP. BUT WE NEED TO CHECK HIS RECORDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENT AS SENATOR - EXPERIENCE WISE I DON'T THINK WE CAN TAKE CHANCES ON THIS SENATOR. AMERICA SHOULD REALIZE WHERE FANTASY BEGIN AND WHEN FANTASY ENDS. WE HAVE TO THINK FOR OUR COUNTRY FIRST AND FOREMOST DON'T BELIEVE ON THIS NATIONAL MEDIA THAT IS FEEDING YOU. IN MY OWN OPINION SENATOR CLINTON IS THE MOST QUALIFIED, EXPERIENCE, SMART AND READY TO LEAD THE COUNTRY IN DAY ONE! SHE ALWAYS SPEAK WITH SUBSTANCE AND CARE AND HAVE COMPASSION FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS AND MINORITIES AND BEEN THERE AND BEEN ATTACKED BY THE REPUBLICAN MACHINE FOR 16 YEARS AND SURVIVED! I HOPE AND PRAY THAT AMERICA WILL GET IT THIS TIME TO SELECT THE RIGHT PERSON TO BECOME PRESIDENT WHO WILL RUN OUR COUNTRY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION - AMERICA WE CANNOT TAKE THIS TO CHANCES!
God Bless America!!!

Angelenos for Hillary for President!!


Go Hillary! L.A. <3's you!

Regardless of what the Clintons say, Obama will be a president for ALL Americans. He understands the Immigrant Story better than any other candidate. As the son of immigrants to this country, I respect that. That is only one of the many reasons he has my vote.

The Clintons lost credibility when they started race baiting. I can't reward that with a vote.

Best of luck to Sen. Obama and God Bless America.

As a rank and file member of CTA, I must say it is wonderful that delegates to the CTA conference stood up to the board and let them know that we will not blindly follow. Obama is the best choice for president because he is the only candidate that can reach across the aisle to make issues important to educators a reality-issues such as healthcare for our children, reform of NCLB, using Federal money to not only support K-12 but support Americans that want to learn throughout their lifetime. Though the positions of the candidates on the Democratic side are relatively similar, it will take a person in the White House that is respected by both parties and the American people to actually get legislation passed. Presidents can have the best of ideas, but if they can't get Congress to work with them the ideas will remain ideas and not laws that can actually help anyone. Bill Clinton's policies and personality so enraged the public that it made the 1994 Congressional election was a disaster for the Democrats and lead to excitement of the people for likes of Newt Gingrich. George Bush's "leadership" lead to 2006 take over by the Democrats in both House of Congress and an almost complete loss of faith that the government actually listens to the people. Just look at how much legislation he is getting passed right now. Without passing judgement on either Presidency, though I have many thoughts on that subject, I think it's important to remember that only a unifying President can actually get things done on Day 1, 100 or day 1000. That's just a fact of our system of government. That said, Barack Obama indeed is the right candidate for America. Especially teachers who care what's best for our kids. Because what is best for our students is best for us. We teach on the HOPE and BELIEF that we can have a better future and no candidate better captures that spirit than Barack Obama. When we look for role models for our students to look up to Barack Obama's ethics and principles are what we are looking for. If we want to end the apathy we see in our US History and Government classes no candidate has been more inspiring to my students than Barack Obama because he has included, inspired and empowered the youth and embraced the future. His campaign has be all about the power of regular Americans to be a part of "We the People" once again.

Hillary, I am sticking wih you. America wake up!!! Don't believe the Obama hype. That endorsement from the Kennedy's was spiteful. Hillary, you have been knocked down so many times, but you are still standing my friend. Go Hillary!!!!!

Dont know how many others are as incensed as I am about these chain emails being sent to religious groups and others that question Sen. Barack Obamas patriotism and religious beliefs. (See press link to last weeks open letter from Jewish groups being bombarded with these emails: http://www.adl.org/internet/Letter_obama.asp)

The use of the Internet to spread false information about a political candidate--- and thus to affect the outcome of an election--- is particularly abhorrent to me.

We cannot regress to old-style dirty tricks. In the public interest, we need to get behind these emails---and identify who originated them.

If you have received such an email, please forward it to me.

negemail53@gmail.com

Obama is NOT for ALL Americans. Obama IS the status quo of Washington. Instead of buying into his poetry, try researching his background!!!

As a US Senator, he had over 260 chances for "change" - either he didn't show up, or he voted "present"

He railroaded his FRIEND, Alice Palmer and had EVERY one of his opponants removed so he could win the state senate. There's a man calling for the "people" to have their "voice" - as long as it echos HIS...

No doubt Barack Obama is talented, having a gift of rhetorical flourish that any politician should admire, even covet - even though his speaches are pushed out using a teleprompter (he does have a great writer)

In October of 2006 it was revealed that Rezko helped Obama purchase a home for hundreds of thousands of dollars below the market value, while Rezko bought the lot next door. Illinois residents remember well Obama saying he didn't recall the conversations with Rezko, then remembered after Chicago papers started examining the deal, then admitted it was a "bone-headed mistake" on ABC.

Zbigniew Brzezinski IS Obama's top advisor for foreign policy! 

Obama's foreign policy advisor and vocal supporter is Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, who says that Obama offers 'a new definition of America's role in the world'. 

This is the same Brzezinski who created the Illuminati's Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller in 1973. The Trilateral Commission is dedicated to a world government dictatorship and closely connects with other strands in the web like the Council on Foreign Relations (member: Barack Obama) and the Bilderberg Group. 

Brzezinski's foreign 'policy' during the Carter administration, as he has since admitted without regret, was to entice the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan in December, 1979. The idea, he said, was to weaken their rival superpower and the result was a ten-year occupation that cost the lives of an estimated 1.3 million Afghans and spawned the Mujahedin, Taliban and Osama bin Laden.



Deep breath: he's now advising Barack Obama on foreign policy ...



I know, Obama fans, it's hard to face the truth that you've been STUMPED. But you really need to get off the Obama drug and start doing some research...stupid statements are one thing, but when you vote/elect - that effects us all....

The best line comes from a column in the Financial Times of London. "There is not a scintilla of anything to be mistaken for modesty in Barack Obama’s pitch for the White House. Stripped of rhetorical ornament, it says vote for me because I am me. Mr Obama exults in the uniqueness of his personal story. To vote for him is to IMAGINE a changed America. That explains why he defines the nature of the contest." Some would call that narcissism.

Obama IS the status quo of Washington. Instead of buying into his poetry, try researching his background!!!

As a US Senator, he had over 260 chances for "change" - either he didn't show up, or he voted "present"

He railroaded his FRIEND, Alice Palmer and had EVERY one of his opponents removed so he could win the state senate. There's a man calling for the "people" to have their "voice" - as long as it echos HIS...

No doubt Barack Obama is talented, having a gift of rhetorical flourish that any politician should admire, even covet - even though his speaches are pushed out using a teleprompter (he does have a great writer)

In October of 2006 it was revealed that Rezko helped Obama purchase a home for hundreds of thousands of dollars below the market value, while Rezko bought the lot next door. Illinois residents remember well Obama saying he didn't recall the conversations with Rezko, then remembered after Chicago papers started examining the deal, then admitted it was a "bone-headed mistake" on ABC.

Zbigniew Brzezinski IS Obama's top advisor for foreign policy! 

Obama's foreign policy advisor and vocal supporter is Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, who says that Obama offers 'a new definition of America's role in the world'. 

This is the same Brzezinski who created the Illuminati's Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller in 1973. The Trilateral Commission is dedicated to a world government dictatorship and closely connects with other strands in the web like the Council on Foreign Relations (member: Barack Obama) and the Bilderberg Group. 

Brzezinski's foreign 'policy' during the Carter administration, as he has since admitted without regret, was to entice the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan in December, 1979. The idea, he said, was to weaken their rival superpower and the result was a ten-year occupation that cost the lives of an estimated 1.3 million Afghans and spawned the Mujahedin, Taliban and Osama bin Laden.



Deep breath: he's now advising Barack Obama on foreign policy ...



I know, Obama fans, it's hard to face the truth that you've been STUMPED. But you really need to get off the Obama drug and start doing some research...stupid statements are one thing, but when you vote/elect - that effects us all....

The best line comes from a column in the Financial Times of London. "There is not a scintilla of anything to be mistaken for modesty in Barack Obama’s pitch for the White House. Stripped of rhetorical ornament, it says vote for me because I am me. Mr Obama exults in the uniqueness of his personal story. To vote for him is to IMAGINE a changed America. That explains why he defines the nature of the contest." Some would call that narcissism.

I have done the research (vote smart, editorial board interviews, campaign contribution analysis and discussions with activists I respect), and I am convinced Obama is the best candidate in the race for the President. My union's Political Action fund administrators have apparently decided to give more than $700K (and possibly more) to a primary candidate, Hilary Clinton, who cannot seemingly garnish more than 1/3 of the union household's votes. I am not surprised by the lack of support among union households for the Clintons or by the BIG union bosses supporting the Clintons. Sadly, I remember how little the BIG union bosses fought the Clinton's "welfare reform", which dismantled the safety net for the vast majority of the working poor. And, one should not forget that BIG unions were VERY slow to oppose the war in Iraq.

For all the individual labor leaders, union members and community organizers that decline to adhere to a union party line that isn't representative of its members, I applaud you for arriving at your own decision about who to support in this election. As long as labor institutions mirror corporations or Washington, as we know, why should anyone be scorned for personally supporting a candidate other than the candidate endorsed by their "International" union? When is the last time, union members were polled by their leadership before the union made a decision about who to support in a Primary? Last I checked, union households, were splitting their support among the front-runners in the Democratic primary, even though Clinton received big money from unions and Obama has received very little. Personally, I think it's outrageous for unions, such as the AFT & AFSCME, to put so much money in to the primary election; particularly when they left their members out of the endorsement process and know they will support whoever gets the party nomination.

So I support Maria Elena Durazo and anyone else that is willing to represent the diversity of opinions that clearly exist among labor's rank and file and its elected leadership.

If Barack goes up against McCain, there is no way he’ll win with people who see Iraq as a no. 1 priority.

There are three major reasons for easing the choice. One, Healthcare is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US along with the housing crisis. Obama's campaign is now resorting to the same negative old guard Republican politics that brought down Universal Healthcare previously. Current Obama campaign ads are very familiar to individuals over 50 and serve the same Republican agenda? Obama's program is not cheap either and will leave many out. Two, Obama hails himself as the "Moses" of change for both blacks and whites but yet builds divineness by aligning himself with mega power star, Oprah, who has taken a first leap into politics in the name of a Black man? Does this not create a dangerous imbalance between “undue influence” and freedom of choice given the constituents she will target being both black and Hispanic women. Three, Obama fails to follow his own code of "Ethics" that he indicates has been the hallmark of his legislative career evidenced by his new campaign ads and sole return to negativity on the late trail? BEWARE of poets with fine words?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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