Alameda group called out for labeling councilmember a ‘union whore’

Assemblymember Rob Bonta and Alameda Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Josie Camacho issued a stern rebuke against an Alameda political group after one of its supporters reportedly called Alameda Councilmember Malia Vella a “union whore” during a meeting last month.

The phrase was met with approval and shock by other members of the Alameda Citizens Task Force, who were holding an open planning meeting on the topic of forming a Political Action Committee to support a slate of candidates hoping to upend the city’s progressive council majority.

The scene was reported by Alameda freelance writer Rasheed Shabazz on Twitter. He described the June 20 meeting including 50-60, mostly older, white people in attendance. Who uttered the phrase is not known.

Vella posted the entire thread on various online platforms which caught the attention of local labor leaders. A statement was issued last week.

“While political life requires a thick skin, there are lines that must not be crossed in political discourse. The comments made against Alameda Councilmember Malia Vella— calling her a “whore”— which were documented on social media, reveal a disgusting, misogynistic and sexist underbelly in our beloved community.

There are those who— when they think no one is looking or that it’s otherwise safe to share their true feelings— only then reveal their hate and intolerance. They launch political attacks driven by personal vendettas and bigotry instead of the public good. This conduct is unacceptable. Period,” said the statement signed by Bonta and Camacho, and sent via Bonta’s re-election campaign.

Shabazz, who attended the group’s meeting, detailed other aspects of the gathering, including Alameda resident Paul Forman, one of the main proponents of forming a PAC to potentially dull the donor power of the Alameda firefighters union, referenced the lack of black representation at the meeting.

The incident comes at a time when some members of the same group are coordinating an effort to recall Vella for what proponents say was her improperly handling of the recent city manager scandal, resulting in a $900,000 settlement in order for the city to part ways with Jill Keimach. An investigator also found Vella committed no wrong doing in the matter.

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