(May 24, 2006) -- LBReport.com has learned that a union seeking to influence the outcome of LB's June 6th special election for the vacated 2d district Council seat plans to pour nearly $35,000 into the race as part of a last-minute independent (non-candidate controlled) effort to put Suja Lowenthal on the LB City Council.
"Vota 100%, a sponsored committee of UNITE HERE! International Union" (listing a San Francisco address) has via an accounting firm emailed a "Late Independent Expenditure Report" to 2d district candidates and the City Clerk's office indicating that as of May 22 it plans to spend $24,109.96 for "estimated salaries and related costs for phoners and walkers" and $10,890.04 for "design, printing and mailing of campaign literature" to support Ms. Lowenthal, one of 11 candidates in the race.
A local affiliate of UNITE HERE (Local 681) backs a controversial proposal to require "Labor Peace Agreements" for hotels on City owned property (currently the Coast LB Hotel, Hyatt Regency, LB Marriott and Queen Mary).
As previously reported by LBReport.com, after filing filed for reelection to the School Board, Ms. Lowenthal entered the winner-take-all contest for the subsequently-vacated 2d district Council seat and announced she would abandon her school board position if elected to the Council. She was defeated in the April school board election (in which she didn't campaign personally) despite endorsements by the Press-Telegram and the LB Business Journal.
Earlier this year, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed downtown area commercial realtor Becky Blair for the 2d district seat, filed a federal court lawsuit seeking to erase LB's Campaign Reform Act limits on independent campaign activity as unconstitutional...and the court has enjoined enforcement of those limits pending trial.
UNITE HERE! is now using the legal hole drilled by the Chamber in LB's Campaign Reform Act to pour money into the race.
LB's Campaign Reform Act, twice supported by LB voters, was backed by then-Councilman Alan Lowenthal, father in law to Suja Lowenthal.
Reaction is pending as we post.