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Election Analysis: Business vs. Labor

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Video published November 5, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Political scientist Carl Luna gives an analysis of how the deep divide between labor and business impacted Tuesday's election.

Political scientist Carl Luna gives an analysis of how the deep divide between labor and business impacted Tuesday's election.

Guest

Carl Luna, political scientist and professor, San Diego Mesa College

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN IS LEADING UP TO TUESDAY'S VOTE REFLECTED THE DIVIDE BETWEEN LABOR INTEREST AND THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY. WITH ME TO LOOK AT THE ROLES OF BUSINESS IN SAN DIEGO'S RACES IS POLITICAL SCIENTIST CARL LUNA. THESE ARE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES.

OH, YEAH.

WHAT IMPACT DID THE RECESSION HAVE ON THIS COMPETITION BETWEEN BUSINESS AND LABOR ON THE BALLOT ON TUESDAY?

WELL, A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS AND HOUSES, THEY DON'T HAVE THE MONEY IN THE BANK THEY USED TO. YOU SAW THEIR APPREHENSION OF HAVING ANYMORE TAKEN OUT IN CITY TAXES. IN LABOR, YOU'VE GOT PEOPLE WHO ARE, WERE IN THE LABOR UNIONS GETTING BENEFITS, GETTING RETIREMENT. A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THAT. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE AS GENEROUS TO ALLOW LABOR TO KEEP THAT.

THAT HELPS TO CREATE TENSION THERE. AND YOU GOT TO REMEMBER, WE ALL WEAR SEVERAL HATS. WE'RE ALL CONSUMER, WENT PRICE LOW AND SERVICES HIGH. A LOT OF US ARE WORKERS, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T HAVE PROTECTIONS. SO THEY WONDER WHY DO THEY GET BETTER BENEFITS THAN WE ARE GETTING.

WHAT WE SAW DURING THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION WAS THAT PROPOSITION A PASSED HANDILY AND THAT WOULD HAVE BANNED OR WILL BAN PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS OR UNION SCALE WAGES FOR COUNTY PROJECTS. THE SAME KIND OF THING ALSO WENT INTO EFFECT IN OCEAN SIDE. WHY IS THE PUBLIC SUPPORTING THESE BANS?

AGAIN, THE PERCEPTION THAT SOMEBODY IS GETTING MORE ME, THEREFORE WE SHOULD ROLE THAT BACK WHEN PAID FOR WITH PUBLIC MONEY. AT THE COUNTY LEVEL, THOSE SORTS SOUTH FLORIDA PROJECTS WEREN'T BEING AWARDED ANYWAY. BUT IT WAS SYMBOLIC AND SETTING UP TO PROBABLY SEE THAT MOVING TO THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO AS PART OF THE 2012 CAMPAIGN.

BUT IT'S GOING TO BE REALLY INTERESTING BECAUSE THE SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL AT THIS POINT ARE SIX SO-CALLED LABOR SUPPORTED MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL AND TWO SO-CALLED BUSINESS SUPPORTED. AND NOW WE ARE GOING TO HAVE THREE.

AND THAT WAS THE SIGN AGAIN THAT THE DEMOCRATS LABOR, THAT SIDE OF THE SPECTRUM ARE DOING POORLY BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE HURTING AND THEY DON'T THINK IT'S FAIR FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO GET A BIGGER SHARE OF THE PIE THAN THEY DO.

YOU REALLY THINK THIS HAS TO DO WITH DEMOCRATS VERSES REPUBLICANS RATHER THAN THE POWER OF LABOR?

IT'S A COMBINATION OF ALL OF THAT. LABOR ASK DEMOCRATS TEND TO GO TOGETHER. REPUBLICANS AND BUSINESS. SO IT'S NOT ALWAYS ACROSS THE BOARD. WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN IN SAN DIEGO IS WITH A BAD BUDGET GOING ON FOR A DECADE, WE ARE TEN YEARS INTO THIS MESS, YOU HAVE THE PROBLEM THAT THE CITY BUDGE SET IN BAD SHAPE, TOUGH DO CUTS AND THE ONLY WAY YOU'RE GOING TO CUT IS TO TAKE SOMETHING OUT OF LABOR. SO, YEAH, IN THIS ELECTION, THE POWER OF LABOR.

SO IS THERE A TITANIC STRUGGLE GOING ON BETWEEN LABOR AND BUSINESS TO CONTROL LOCAL POLLIC TICKS?

IN SAN DIEGO, NOTHING IS THAT SIGH TANNIC. BUT THAT'S ONE OF THE MAJOR FAULT LINES. AT SOME POINT, THE LABOR INTEREST ARE GOING TO BE ASKED TO GIVE UP A LOT MORE. AND THE FACT THAT THEY DIDN'T DO AS WELL IN THIS CAMPAIGN, THAT DON THAT PRICE SWUNG TO THE BUSINESS SIDE IS A SIGN THAT THEY MAY NOT HAVE THE POWER THEY USED TO.

BUT IT WAS THE PROPOSITION D, SUPPORTING PROPOSITION D WAS THE COALITION OF LABOR AND BUSINESS. IT CAME TOGETHER. CAN WE EXPECT THAT TO HAPPEN AGAIN IN THE FUTURE?

UNTIL THE ECONOMY GETS BETTER, I THINK PROPOSITION D WAS A RATHER UNIQUE OUTLIER BECAUSE THINGS CAN GET DIRE. AND EVERYONE IS GOING TO RETREAT TO PROTECT THEIR OWN INTEREST. LABOR WITH THEIR ONGOING NEGOTIATION, THE BUSINESS COMMITTEE WANTING THE CITY TO BE MORE GENEROUS TO DEVELOP DOWNTOWN AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC JUST WANTING TO SEE MORE MONEY IN THE THEIR WALLET AND LESS GOING OUT FOR DECLINING SERVICES.

THIS THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO, PROPOSITION D HAVING FAILED, THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO IS GOING TO HAVE TO SCRAMBLE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO IN ORDER TO BRIDGE THE BUDGET GAP AND CARL REPRESENTS BUSINESS INTERESTS HAS COME UP WITH THE ROAD MAP TO RECOVERY WHICH MEANS CUTTING PENSIONS, CUTTING RETIREE HEALTH CARE, AND THAT KIND OF THING. IS THAT GOING TO FLY?

WELL, THAT IS SUBJECT TO NEGOTIATIONS AND THE EMPLOYEES' UNIONS ARE GOING TO FIGHT IT AS MUCH AS THEY CAN TO PROTECT MEMBERSHIP. THERE ARE GOING TO BE REDUCTIONS TO OTHER AREAS OF PUBLIC SERVICES.

BUT YOU SAID THAT THE PUBLIC MAY NOT BE SYMPATHETIC TO THE CAUSE OF LABOR BECAUSE PEOPLE IN THE PUBLIC MAY NOT BE GETTING PENSIONS AND STEADY INCOME.

YEAH, THE PUBLIC IS LESS SYMPATHETIC TO THE UNIONS. THEY'RE NOT THAT SYMPATHETIC TO BUSINESS INTERESTS. NOT GOING WAY TO WANT TO SEE A NEW STADIUM BUILT. NOT WITH THE CURRENT PROBLEMS AND THE ECONOMY. AND THEY'RE TIRED OF THE FACT THAT THEY PAY THEIR TAXES AND SERVICES ARE DECLINING. SAN DIEGO CAME IN THE TOP TEN IN THE WORST ROADS. THAT STOVE WATER HAS BEEN TURNED UP. WE MAY BE AT THE POINT WHERE THE FROG GOING TO CROAK.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR INNING ON THAT THOUGH THE.

THANK YOU.

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