Long Beach Training – The Living Wage Campaign

I was very honored to go to Long Beach with some of the other San Antonio folks to learn about what Local 11 was doing in their multiple campaigns going on at the time. We started very early in the morning in San Antonio, landing at LAX by early afternoon. From there, it was non-stop activity, but in the best way possible. We started at the campaign office in Long Beach and learned from a panel of workers what the conditions were like at the hotels and some of the history of the fights with the hotels in the area, especially the Holiday Inn LAX. All the people we met were so nice, and I got to meet people from many different backgrounds. All of us coming together to share our ideas was a little awkward, but only at first. We quickly certainly learned more about each other. I won’t go into a play-by-play of the whole weekend, but some of the highlights: We were helping to canvass in favor of Measure N, the living wage campaign. This type of canvasing—door to door in residential neighborhoods—was a new experience for me, and it really taught me a lot not only about California but also my home state of Texas by comparison. I was astonished at how willing people were to learn about the political goings-on of their city; whereas in Texas I am often met with rejection at the mention of anything having to do with democracy. It helped me think about new ways to approach people about politics in Texas. The weekend taught me a lot about running an efficient campaign, especially with time resources. If you only have so many volunteers and you need to confirm a certain number of votes, allocate your time wisely when talking to people. It’s okay to admit that some people just don’t want to be convinced. The weekend also taught me about what could happen in San Antonio in the future as the union power here grows. Seeing Local 11 fighting several campaigns at once was just amazing to me, and it gave me hope for the future in both Long Beach and San Antonio.

John Dean, San Antonio