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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

San Diego Working Families Celebrate Major Victory in Historic Mayoral Race

by Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego-Imperial Counties Central Labor Council

California's working families have a great deal to celebrate across the state this week, and nowhere is it more true than here in San Diego. Not only are we celebrating the success of Proposition 30 and well-deserved defeat of Proposition 32, on Tuesday San Diego elected Bob Filner to be the next mayor—the first Democratic mayor elected in San Diego since 1988 and the first pro-labor Mayor that I can ever remember.

It wasn’t easy. Years of steadily building infrastructure in the communities long cut off from City Hall had to come together and mobilize, and it did thanks to the most elaborate field program ever imagined in San Diego.

It involved more than 1,000 volunteers here at the Labor Council and dozens of campaign staff who went out and knocked on more than 100,000 doors. It included hundreds of thousands of calls from our nightly phone banks and innovative outreach to voters that often slip through the cracks in traditional campaigns. And in the end, enough of those people came together and we were able to deliver real change in San Diego by electing Bob Filner.

The campaign -- initiated over a year and half ago under our A Better San Diego initiative -- helped us build an unprecedented coalition between Labor, LGBT, Latino, environmental, immigrant, women and other community groups that allowed us to reach out to tens of thousands of middle and working class voters who for years just haven’t had a place at the table.

Together we were successful in bringing San Diego into a new era that empowers working families and people of color in ways that we have never seen. And that coalition of partners and energized communities now provides an exciting foundation to fundamentally change our city for years to come.

I've been humbled and overwhelmed by the incredible mobilization that our members delivered to not only change things at City Hall, but make sure that our victory came along with passing Proposition 30, defeating Proposition 32, and bringing dozens of strong advocates for the middle class into office across the region.

Their hard work and sacrifices made all of this possible, and set a new standard for campaigns in San Diego that will challenge all of us in the future. This election cycle we delivered more man and woman hours, made more phone calls, talked to more voters than ever before. And we energized a movement like never before.

We have a true changing of the guard in San Diego, and a new opportunity to grow the middle class, make the city work for working families, and invest in communities that have been neglected for too long.

Our members and community allies have shown how much is possible, and now we have a new challenge before us: To turn these electoral gains into the policies to provide San Diegans with more jobs, better jobs, and better lives. It’s an exciting time to get to work.

Posted on 11/09/2012Permalink

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