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Hotel owners behind police clashes with union give big to newly minted Democrat Fletcher

Newport Beach-based Tarsadia Investments family gives major money to Ex-Republican Qualcomm executive; Unite Here Local 30 vows Hilton boycott

With union-backed mayor Bob Filner deposed, the epic battle between labor and capital for control of San Diego's city hall has resumed with a vengeance, based on campaign cash disclosures filed by two putative major candidates.

Yesterday, as reported by Dorian Hargrove, the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, filed with the city clerk a statement of organization for a new campaign committee, Working Families for A Better San Diego to Support David Alvarez for Mayor 2013. Big labor is expected to funnel major money into the effort.

Meanwhile, another Democratic mayoral candidate, ex-Republican Assemblyman and Qualcomm development director Nathan Fletcher, is getting big cash from the other side of the labor-management divide.

According to a disclosure statement filed yesterday by the Fletcher for Mayor 2013 committee and posted online by the city clerk's office, seven members of the Patel family, whose Tushar B. Patel is listed on the disclosure as CEO of Newport Beach-based Tarsadia Investments, have kicked in a total of $7,000 to Fletcher's bid for mayor.

Through various business arrangements, Tarsadia and members of the Patel family have interests in a swath of hotels, including the Mission Valley Hilton, where a nasty labor dispute with Local 30 of United Here, the hotel workers union, has been underway for several years.

Don Bauder first reported the ongoing controversy here in February 2012:

In May of last year, a hundred Local 30 workers, chanting and beating drums and pots, picketed the Hilton. In August, more than 25 workers at the hotel filed claims with the state labor commission for wage theft and related labor violations.

The workers complained that they were not compensated fully for hours worked and were denied breaks and rest periods. The claims came to $250,000.

In November, Unite Here workers picketed again.

The dispute became even more heated after it was announced that Connecticut-based HEI Hotels & Resorts was transferring control of the property to a Tarsadia affiliate.

“We were not warmly received by Tarsadia,” Local 30 president Brigette Browning told Bauder. “We took employees to the corporate headquarters in Newport Beach.

"All we were asking was for them not to fire employees; we were not asking them to go union. We got thrown out. [Tarsadia] called the police.” Tarsadia did not respond to Bauder's queries.

This March the situation neared the boiling point again when hotel workers and their supporters attempted to picket the Hilton property, as Bauder reported.

Twenty hotel workers were arrested last night (March 1) at the Hilton Mission Valley.

By one account, 250 workers, community activists, and clergy members were there to protest low wages and job insecurity. The workers represent Local 30 of the Unite Here union of hotel and restaurant workers, whose pay is among the lowest in San Diego County.

Workers subsequently conducted a hunger strike against the property.

Interviewed this afternoon by phone, Browning said that the battle continues, adding that United Here is planning to launch a boycott of the hotel in the near future. Calls placed to Tarsadia have not been returned.

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With union-backed mayor Bob Filner deposed, the epic battle between labor and capital for control of San Diego's city hall has resumed with a vengeance, based on campaign cash disclosures filed by two putative major candidates.

Yesterday, as reported by Dorian Hargrove, the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, filed with the city clerk a statement of organization for a new campaign committee, Working Families for A Better San Diego to Support David Alvarez for Mayor 2013. Big labor is expected to funnel major money into the effort.

Meanwhile, another Democratic mayoral candidate, ex-Republican Assemblyman and Qualcomm development director Nathan Fletcher, is getting big cash from the other side of the labor-management divide.

According to a disclosure statement filed yesterday by the Fletcher for Mayor 2013 committee and posted online by the city clerk's office, seven members of the Patel family, whose Tushar B. Patel is listed on the disclosure as CEO of Newport Beach-based Tarsadia Investments, have kicked in a total of $7,000 to Fletcher's bid for mayor.

Through various business arrangements, Tarsadia and members of the Patel family have interests in a swath of hotels, including the Mission Valley Hilton, where a nasty labor dispute with Local 30 of United Here, the hotel workers union, has been underway for several years.

Don Bauder first reported the ongoing controversy here in February 2012:

In May of last year, a hundred Local 30 workers, chanting and beating drums and pots, picketed the Hilton. In August, more than 25 workers at the hotel filed claims with the state labor commission for wage theft and related labor violations.

The workers complained that they were not compensated fully for hours worked and were denied breaks and rest periods. The claims came to $250,000.

In November, Unite Here workers picketed again.

The dispute became even more heated after it was announced that Connecticut-based HEI Hotels & Resorts was transferring control of the property to a Tarsadia affiliate.

“We were not warmly received by Tarsadia,” Local 30 president Brigette Browning told Bauder. “We took employees to the corporate headquarters in Newport Beach.

"All we were asking was for them not to fire employees; we were not asking them to go union. We got thrown out. [Tarsadia] called the police.” Tarsadia did not respond to Bauder's queries.

This March the situation neared the boiling point again when hotel workers and their supporters attempted to picket the Hilton property, as Bauder reported.

Twenty hotel workers were arrested last night (March 1) at the Hilton Mission Valley.

By one account, 250 workers, community activists, and clergy members were there to protest low wages and job insecurity. The workers represent Local 30 of the Unite Here union of hotel and restaurant workers, whose pay is among the lowest in San Diego County.

Workers subsequently conducted a hunger strike against the property.

Interviewed this afternoon by phone, Browning said that the battle continues, adding that United Here is planning to launch a boycott of the hotel in the near future. Calls placed to Tarsadia have not been returned.

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Comments
12

Fletcher is obviously a conservative Republican, and the voters mandated a Very Liberal Democrat for Mayor. Anyway, a large group plans to recall Fletcher if he is elected.

Sept. 13, 2013

"The voters mandated a Very Liberal Democrat for Mayor" and look what they got. And more appropriately, they got what they deserved, an arrogant, unethical and immoral politician.

Sept. 14, 2013

Sounds like Jerry Saunders.

Sept. 14, 2013

Do you mean former Mayor Jerry Sanders, who was a great Mayor during a time of crisis and uncertainty in the City of San Diego?

Sept. 14, 2013

There you go again calling Fletcher "conservative" and a Republican. The things he stands for have little to do with conservatism, and he's now officially a Dem. He is a CPO (Complete Political Opportunist.) That he was once affiliated with the GOP is of no more importance than his current status as a registered Democrat. He aligns himself with the people who support him, and that usually means they give him money. But if you are a Democrat, think twice--and several more times--before you vote for him. He isn't pro-labor in any way. He'll support the folks who pay for his campaign.

Sept. 15, 2013

Are all the Patels in the world part of the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association? I've never seen an organization with so many board and staff members with the same last name! http://www.aahoa.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=About_Us

I remember first coming across the Patel name when looking at ownership of one of the oddest "yes" votes on the TMD, The Ebony Inn Motel. It's that ratty hole-in-the-wall place at 740 N 32nd.

Sept. 14, 2013

Honest: People have been making jokes and skits about the Patel name and the hotel business for decades.

Sept. 14, 2013

Fletch is a Right Wing Trojan Horse. Plain and simple.

Sept. 14, 2013

And what would call Bob Filner?

Sept. 14, 2013

Sorry, but he's neither right or left wing. He's (see post above) a CPO. He may turn out to be a Trojan Horse for some Dems who will reflexively vote for him. But he's going to vote the way his financial supporters want him to vote, and that won't fall into either party's sphere.

Sept. 15, 2013

Councilman David Alvarez stated today that he is pleased with the existing Plaza de Panama parking and circulation changes in Balboa Park.

Councilman Alvarez does not see a need for the Bypass Bridge and $25 million taxpayer funded Paid Parking structure.

https://www.facebook.com/DavidAlvarezSDMayor

https://twitter.com/AlvarezSD

Sept. 14, 2013

Laplaya: nice to get it on the record. One hopes all the candidates will make one stand or another on this issue in the coming weeks.

Sept. 14, 2013

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