The Board of Supervisors likely will have a more progressive bent come January, with the apparent election of Jane Parker. According to the most recent tally by the elections department, Parker’s lead over incumbent District 4 Supervisor Ila Mettee-McCutchon has grown to 370 votes with most of the remaining ballots counted.
Registrar Linda Tulett says the new count represents nearly 12,000 mail-in ballots, including about 2,600 from District 4. While elections staff still must tally an unknown number of provisional and damaged ballots, the race between Parker and Mettee-McCutchon is essentially over.
“Ila was the one who told me,” says Parker, associate director of the ACTION Council. “I was over at the budget hearing, and Ila came up to me and said, ‘I guess congratulations are in order.’ ”
“We shook hands,” says Mettee-McCutchon. “I did offer to assist her in the transition.”
Parker, who narrowly lost the seat in 2004 to now-deceased supervisor Jerry Smith, credits her win to her grassroots campaign.
“It’s a great honor to work hard, tell voters what my approach might be, talk to them about their concerns, ask for their support, and then, boom, have them make the effort to go to the polls and vote for me.”
Something else was different this time around: Parker’s overwhelming support from labor, including teachers, nurses, food and commercial workers, hotel employees and county staff—in addition to the enviro/smart-growth vote.
Four years ago, UNITEHERE! Local 483, endorsed Smith. “A lot of politicians would get resentful, and blow you off, but as soon as the next campaign came along, Jane Parker came right back to our office,” says Local 483’s Mark Weller, whose union represents hotel and restaurant employees. “And even before that, she joined us on the Travelodge picket line.”
Weller says dozens of Local 483 members made phone calls for Parker’s campaign. And over at SEIU Local 521, Monterey County public employees worked more than 200 shifts for the Parker campaign, says member Peter Kwiek. “This election was different,” he says. “In my 10 years with SEIU, I’ve never seen this level of rank-and-file member participation.
“Jane is pro-labor and pro-environment, and this combination appeals to SEIU members. The Parker campaign has gone a long way towards dispelling the myth that you have to support anti-labor, anti-environment politicians to create jobs.”