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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Local Dems Praise Labor Opponent as "Progressive"

Mayor Hosts Awards Presentation For "Progressive" Emeryville Resident

Emeryville Mayor Ruth Atkin, hosting a fete organized by the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, bestowed awards on four people for advancing social justice Sunday at Oakland's Washington Inn. Sharing the awards for creating "social equality" with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, was a man who should be well known in Emeryville, John Gooding.

Mr. Gooding is a man who wears many hats. He serves as chair of Ms. Lee's 'One Voice' Political Action Committee, raising money for the only member of congress to oppose resolutions enabling former President Bush to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Ms. Lee lauded Mr. Gooding from the podium, praising his skill at bundling political contributions by acknowledging Mr. Gooding as her "biggest individual source of contributions."

But raising money for Ms. Lee isn't Mr. Gooding's only job. He's also a longtime board member and recent President of the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce, working tenaciously on behalf of its members. He's also led the Chamber's Political Action Committee, EMPAC, which seeks and often succeeds in helping elect pro-business candidates to Emeryville's City Council. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the other hand, recently rated Ms. Lee's voting record at 26 percent out of 100 for generally opposing that Chamber's positions.

Raising money for political candidates has long been Mr. Gooding's forte. He's apparently not shy about working both sides of the fence. He provided $500 to the campaign of California Governor Pete Wilson, a Republican best known for injecting wedge issues, such the immigrant-baiting Proposition 187 and the 3-strikes law, into California politics. Prop. 187 sought to bar undocumented immigrants from public schools, public medical care and other government programs. It was found unconstitutional. Mr. Gooding also provided $1,000 to Ed Zschau, a Republican Congressman who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Democrat Alan Cranston in 1986. Zschau ran on a platform of eliminating capital gains taxes---taxes paid on money made from investments. The move would have reduced the tax burden on those living off investments but presumably requiring higher tax rates on people earning money from a job to make up the difference.

In Emeryville, Mr. Gooding is perhaps best known for his work attempting to block 2005's Measure C, a voter approved ordinance that granted a $9-per-hour minimum wage to hotel workers and reduced the number of rooms workers clean, easing their "sweatshop-like" workloads.

To those in the room Sunday, all of that was ancient history, if it were even known. Mr. Gooding was lavishly praised for advancing social equality and was introduced as a "true progressive." If any in attendance were aware of the irony of the whole thing, they kept it to themselves.

After the presentation, a representative of the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club expressed ignorance and "concern" after it was revealed that Mr. Gooding had actively opposed Measure C and helped Republicans up and down the state. The representative said that the group will investigate further.

The fundraiser was attended by many of the East Bay's progressive luminaries including many Berkeley and Oakland Council members and Emery Schools Superintendent John Sugiyama.

As attendees were filing out Sunday, Mr. Gooding threatened to sue the Tattler if there is a story featuring him. "Remember, I'm not an elected official" he said as a warning, referring to the difficulty politicians have in suing the press.


  1. "...referring to the difficulty politicians have in suing the press."

    I hope you don't think, for a minute, that you are a member of the press--the press at least attempts objectivity.

  2. Good point about objectivity, I'm an advocate for Emeryville resident's concerns first. That's pretty clear. If resident's concerns are not yours, the Tattler is probably not for you.

  3. I'm an advocate of truth and reason above all; so yes, this blog is not for me.

  4. Ah, Progressive Lite.

    Hope he doesn't scare you off---I like your blog.

  5. To the 9:56 commenter above:
    If you find anything not true in the Tattler, please tell us. If your claim is validated, we will post a retraction.

  6. This guy is a fraudster. Thanks for the story.

  7. Barbara Lee hiring some Pete Wilson Republican? WOW. JUST WOW.
    And a guy who "bundles political contributions" sounds like John LaCoste!!!

  8. If John Gooding is a progressive, then what do you call somebody that champions the working poor?

  9. John Gooding: You're busted!

    Now kindly get off the stage.

  10. Congratulations to The Tattler for a doing a very important story! And for not being intimidated by John Gooding's threat of a lawsuit.

    The Tattler might appreciate Wikipedia's definition of a SLAPP suit:

    A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

    The plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff's goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat.

    The US Supreme Court has increasingly supported the dismissal of SLAPPs as a violation of the Constitution.

  11. To the Tattler,
    I noticed the guy who said you're printing untruths at Nov 18 9:56 pm, isn't taking you up on your challenge to bring them to light so you can print a retraction. Why do you think he's not taking you up on this?

  12. We're still waiting for his presentation about the untruths he sees. He may need some more time, after all he probably doesn't want to make rash unsubstantiated assertions. We're willing to give him some more time.

  13. Why do we care who honored this guy? He's free to raise money for whomever he wishes. Just because he raised money for some Republicans doesn't make him evil. There are some pretty narrow-minded opinions posted here.

  14. For the record: I have made a comment every time this blog has distorted the truth. Go back and check the comments. The biggest offender is the "How They Voted" series which regularly mischaracterizes the issues at hand and the councilmembers intent in their votes.

  15. For an anonymous person to claim something is "for the record..." is really quite obtuse.

    For the actual record, the 'How They Voted' series in the Tattler is just that: how they voted. It is not my intent to guess the council members "intent". I just state the question before the council and report how they voted. I would think a council members vote should be able to stand on its own but if council member Bukowski (for instance) thinks people need to know his intent on a vote, he should use his name.

  16. To the guy at May 21 11:39 pm (three up from here),
    The point of this story about this Gooding guy is not that Republicans are evil, it that he's casting himself as a progressive while acting like a Republican. It's a matter of misrepresenting himself and others characterizing him as a true blue progressive when he's clearly not.

  17. Thanks for posting this information. It's noteworthy that Gooding doesn't want information about him getting out into the public eye. (Campaign donations are, by law, public domain... at least so far... who knows what evil lurks up the sleeves of Corporate America). And what does this say about Barbara Lee? Well, just another reason that I have chosen to run against her for California's 9th U.S. Congressional District.