October 12 2014
Ed Spriggs response to U-T Editorial:
On October 10 the Union-Tribune published an editorial entitled “A political mystery in Imperial Beach.” The editorial posed an excellent question: why would a labor union headquartered in New York City spend tens of thousands of dollars on the Imperial Beach election, ostensibly on behalf of three candidates, including myself?
Many voters in Imperial Beach know by now that I was as surprised as anyone by the appearance of lawn signs and postcards containing the names of first time candidates, Dedina and Saldana, along with my own, an incumbent seeking reelection. When I discovered the source of funding for these materials AND the paid canvassers who are disseminating them, I called the UNITE HERE TIP State and Local Fund in New York, advised them I had no need for their help, and asked them to drop me from their campaign. DIG IB reported on this back on October 3rd.
The UNITE HERE TIP Fund agreed to my request a few days later. I announced their agreement to drop me from their campaign last Thursday at the Candidate’s Forum sponsored by the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters. In the last day or two, I and others have noticed that the UNITE HERE red lawn signs no longer include my name. I thank them for being true to their word.
But the mystery continues, though I am no longer part of it. I do not know the answer but am as interested in finding answers as any other Imperial Beach voter. One clue is in the relationships. The UNITED HERE TIP FUND is affiliated with the UNITE HERE (Hospitality Employees Restaurant Employees) union, which in turn is affiliated with the San Diego Labor Council. The Labor Council has endorsed Spriggs, Dedina and Saldana in this election.
As an aside, I appreciate the endorsements from the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Labor Council. However, when it comes to campaign support, I oppose indirect, anonymous support from PACs and Super PACs, especially in local elections. For my own campaign, I am only interested in direct contributions, which I can utilize to shape my own campaign message, and for which I can be held fully accountable by my supporters. It is in that spirit that I appreciate the $100 contribution from SEIU Local 221. All other contributions to my campaign have been from individual supporters.
As to the motive for the large scale PAC involvement in this local election, I doubt that this outside, independent funding was intended to any significant degree to help my re-election effort. As an incumbent running for a second City Council term in a community that has done extremely well in recent years in attracting new businesses, reducing crime, making many capital improvements and promoting traditional and new public events that are popular in the community, my re-election campaign had no need for any external funding in the first place. Indeed, it is possible (but hopefully unlikely) that this funding fiasco has done me as much harm as good.
I remain puzzled by the amount of outside effort and funding involved in our City’s election. If someone has a solution to this mystery, please clue me in.