Community leaders from southeastern San Diego have a message for organized labor: Leave Monica Montgomery alone. Or else.
In a letter sent to leaders of the county’s Democratic Party and “allies in the labor community,” 44 community leaders said they were drawing “a line in the sand” and demanding a stop to hit pieces against Montgomery that have been sent to voters in the closing days of her bid to unseat Council President Myrtle Cole.
The letter is signed by many of the community’s most high-profile leaders, and promises long-term consequences if the attacks do not stop.
“We urge, no we demand, you do not disparage, denigrate or otherwise distort the beauty of who Monica Montgomery is to win this council election with a candidate our community clearly does not want,” they wrote.
Last-minute mailers from the United Domestic Workers union and Unite Here, the hotel workers union, have attacked Montgomery for formerly working for a Republican politician and a law firm that worked on foreclosures. The letter specifically called out the UDW ad as “absolutely unacceptable.”
Unlike Cole, they wrote, Montgomery is from the district, understands the community’s hopes and dreams and “makes us proud.”
“We are calling on you to denounce the recent hate mail and to call for a public apology from those responsible,” the letter reads. “At a minimum, you will do nothing else in support of Cole … not (get out the vote), not robocalls, neither positive nor negative hit pieces. STAND DOWN!”
“This is a moment of truth,” it concludes. “What happens next will count and long be remembered.”
More D4 Community Members Speak Out
Community members, many who had not signed the letter, held a press conference Thursday to deliver the same message.
There, they said that labor has for too long taken advantage of the community, showing up every two years for elections but never delivering anything.
Lisa Grossman, who runs the nearby National Crossroads re-entry program for women, had not signed the letter but said it’s clear that the current city leadership isn’t helping the community. She pointed to the intersection of Euclid and Imperial avenues, formerly known as the “four corners of death.”
“That corner up there is still the same,” she said. “What has been done for District 4? Nothing!”
Ken Malbrough chairs the area’s planning group and ran unsuccessfully for the County Board of Supervisors in the spring. He signed the letter because he said he was “personally offended by labor’s mailers.”
“I’ve been a labor member for 40 years, and it’s personally been good for me, but it hasn’t necessarily been good for this community,” he said. “A perfect example is what you’re seeing now. We don’t see labor except for elections. Maybe Thanksgiving to give out a turkey, or Christmas to give out a toy.”
He said the community has given Cole more than enough opportunities to be successful.
“She’s missing in action,” he said. “She won’t come down here. She’s got outside people doing all her work for her.”
“This community, if you look at the data, they support labor when they go to the polls. Maybe it’s time that they start asking that tough question: Should I support labor? Look what they’ve done to a citizen who was born and raised here.”
Dwayne Crenshaw, CEO of the nonprofit group Rise San Diego, was himself tarred by a labor-backed election campaign when he ran against Cole in 2013. He said the community has taken it upon itself to run a progressive campaign without establishment backing.
“I have to say, in all my years in politics, I have never seen a community on its own be more organized, more energized, on its own, since Obama, literally since Obama, in my whole career,” he said. “This is real, and that’s the line in the sand. Enough is enough. I’m sick and tired.”
Cole Runs Into Last-Minute Controversy in Bay Terraces
Cole was also forced to deliver some bad news to constituents in a different part of her district Friday morning.
At Bay Terraces Park, she informed about 50 Filipino seniors – members of the Bay Terrace Fil-Am Senior Association, that the ground-breaking for a senior center scheduled for last month had been delayed until February.
At the last minute, Cole said, the city discovered the contractors it had selected for the $5…