Leos and Berardino

OCEA’s John Leos at the union’s celebration of Jerry Brown’s inaugural, with OCEA Prez Robert Gibson and OCEA GM Nick Berardino

John Leos is running for Anaheim City Council.


He finished third in the 2010 council election, powered by more than $200,000 in campaign spending by the powerful Orange County Employees Association (OCEA).

Since OCEA represents Anaheim city employees, it wouldn’t spend that much money on a candidate unless it were pretty confident he’d be the union’s eyes, ears and voice on the City Council.

Leos is running again, and there’s every reason to believe the OCEA will pull out the stops once again.  If the second time is the charm for Leos, Anaheim voters ought to ask themselves: to whom will John Leos listen as a councilman?

Leos himself gives us a strong indication according to this post from the OC Political blog, which spotlights a 2008 interview from OCEA Magazine (Leos was on the board of directors of OCEA – and its PAC — for several years until a few months ago):

Q: What do you suggest other OCEA members do if they want to get involved?

A: Become a steward and attend rallies. Also, read all the e-mails (from OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino) and ask your co-workers to do so.

Interesting advice for civic involvement: Become the eyes and ears of the union in your work place and…not only pore over each and every one of Nick Berardino’s e-mailed exhortations and denunciations, but bug your fellow county employees to read them, too!: “Hey, Phil! Did you read this latest e-mail from Berardino about how they’re trying to stick it to us county employees, again?”

Leos OCEA interview 2008

The OCEA isn’t a charity. When it dips into its seemingly bottomless pit of members’ dues to help elect (or defeat) a candidate, it is seen as an investment. And the desired return on that investment is a cooperative attitude from the elected official.

OCEA isn’t opening its warchest for Leos because of the phony-baloney “transparency ordinance.” The union wants one of its members on the City Council of the county’s biggest city – an ally who will help the OCEA pursue its political goals in the city, which will tend to run contrary to the interests of taxpayers.

There’s every reason to believe Leos will continue to take the above-given advice if elected to the Anaheim City Council, and read every e-mail from Nick Berardino.