Democrats to campaign against charter [Corrected]

The Orange County Young Democrats will campaign door to door Saturday against Costa Mesa's proposed city charter.

The group views the charter on the November ballot as a threat to city employees who are represented by organized labor.

"We see this political battle happening nationwide," said Jonathan Barba, spokesman for the OCYD. "Costa Mesa has received a lot of attention and a lot of resources from people trying to push this ideology onto the city."

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., more than 100 Democrats from around California — some coming from as far as Davis, Chico and Berkeley — will pound the pavement in neighborhoods with historically high voter turnout.

Orange County Employees Assn. members will be participating Saturday, though in an unofficial capacity, clarified OCEA spokeswoman Jennifer Muir Friday. OCYD will also pass out OCEA literature on the charter.

An earlier version incorrectly said the Young Democrats' effort was supported by Repair Costa Mesa and the Orange County Employees Assn. In fact, the event is being sponsored solely by the Young Democrats.

Barba said the charter — a city constitution that separates the city's municipal affairs from the state constitution — is part of a larger plan by the Republican Party to influence local politics.

"From our end, it's a system of tactics they've been using," he said. "If it's not the charter, it's going to be something else. Whatever the point is that makes it happen; they're pursuing an ideological goal."

The charter would require voters' approval to enhance city employees' benefits, and make workers opt in to payments that would go toward political activity, instead of having them automatically withdrawn as part of regular association dues.

Costa Mesa would be free to hire the lowest bidder for city-funded projects without having to pay state- and union-approved wages.

The charter debate also recently attracted the attention of groups on the right. Several members of the Orange County Young Republicans and the Associated Builders and Contractors trade association showed up at Tuesday's council meeting to endorse the initiative.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World