Thursday, October 4, 2012
A San Diego garbage collector who picks up yard waste at Mitt Romney's La Jolla home will keep his route for now, despite appearing in an online video that slams the Republican presidential candidate, a city spokesman said today.
Richard Hayes, who works on a two-man semi-automated truck that stops at Romney's beachfront house, is one of three city employees appearing in videos produced by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
His one-minute clip has caught the most attention, with 1.4 million views since being posted Monday on YouTube.
Hayes, who never says on the video whether he has had any interaction with the former Massachusetts governor while on his route, does say the hard lifting work he performs every day is taking a physical toll.
"When I'm 55, 60 years old, I know my body's going to ... break down,'' Hayes said. "Romney doesn't care about that.''
The National Review pointed out that Romney wrote in his book, "No Apology,'' that he worked a shift on a garbage truck when running for governor of the Bay State, and that "anyone who works that hard deserves our respect.''
Jose Ysea, a spokesman for the city's Environmental Services Department, said Hayes works on a vehicle for which a worker has to lift a container of yard waste into a bin, which is then automatically hoisted and dumped into the truck.
"At this time, the department does not plan to make any changes in its route assignments,'' Ysea told City News Service via email.
Municipal employees are allowed to engage in political activities on their own time. However, Ysea said they "may not use their office, position or title to suggest directly or indirectly that the city is advocating a particular position in a campaign through the employee.''
Joan Raymond, a refuse truck driver who is president of AFSCME Local 127, which represents many of the city of San Diego's blue-collar workers, appeared in a similar video that has been viewed more than 58,000 times.
She said she used to work on Romney's street, which she described as a "pristine'' neighborhood. She said he wants to "cut, cut, cut'' government employees.
"They are the same workers who are making that La Jolla neighborhood on the beach so beautiful and so desirable a place to live,'' Raymond said. "What I would say to Mitt Romney is why are you taking that away?''
A third video, viewed nearly 37,000 times, features Temo Fuentes, who repairs fire trucks.
The videos concluded with a graphic that says: "Meet the people who make America happen. Mitt Romney doesn't care about them.''
Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams told Yahoo! News this week that the ads are partisan and meant to distract from President Barack Obama's record.