Working Partnerships

Endorsement: Teresa Alvarado for Supervisor

The District 2 county supervisor’s race is one of the most important in this region’s history. Two-thirds of the county budget—about $3 billion annually—goes to compensation and retirement benefits. Virtually all of the public employee union contracts are up for negotiation in the next two years, and there’s an unfunded $1.7 billion liability for retiree health care. The election will determine whether those issues are tackled by a board majority firmly in the pocket of the South Bay Labor Council—or one that might be a little more independent. For this and many other reasons, Metro and San Jose Inside endorse Teresa Alvarado for county supervisor.


Family Health Fiasco: King Broke Law by Asking Campos for Endorsement

The Santa Clara Family Health Foundation was created to help raise money to pay for poor children’s health insurance premiums. In recent years, however, the tax-exempt organization has also acted as a political entity, helping the South Bay Labor Council and Working Partnerships USA fund local tax measures through year-round planning and coordination. While there are some allowances for tax-exempt organizations to get involved in issue campaigns, nonprofits and public agencies cannot play a role in individual candidate campaigns. Kathleen King, executive director of the Health Foundation, has not always followed this rule.


Family Health Fiasco: Cindy Chavez Wanted to Sue Metro

County supervisor candidate and labor organizer Cindy Chavez has not always been the biggest fan of San Jose Inside and Metro‘s coverage of local politics. In fact, she was so perturbed by a report in March about the political activities of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, on which she was previously a board member, that she suggested a lawsuit.


Family Health Fiasco: Kathleen King Wanted Better Push Polls for Measure A

Push polls are a common occurrence in campaign season. They are designed to leave voters with a more positive or negative reaction to topics and/or individuals after answering questions. Political consultant Rich Robinson recently wrote a column on San Jose Inside about his distate for the leading questions, which are often asked without proper context, he argued. Based on email records obtained through a court order last week, it can be said that Kathleen King, executive director of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, does not share this opinion about push polls.

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Family Health Fiasco: Board of Supes President Lets Organized Labor Write His Letters

Kathleen King expressed concern earlier this year to Working Partnerships USA policy director Bob Brownstein that the city of San Jose would stop funding the Children’s Health Initiative (CHI) after Measure A passed in the 2012 election. As executive director of the the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, King realized this would have an adverse effect on the foundation’s ability to continue operations. A plan was then set in motion to tap trusted elected officials.

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Working Partnerships Rides Half-Million Dollar County Gravy Train

When Teresa Alvarado announced that she was running for George Shirakawa Jr.’s vacated county supervisor seat, County Executive Jeff Smith helpfully forwarded the email to Working Partnership USA’s executive team: Bob Brownstein and Cindy Chavez. The forwarding of memos by Smith highlights the cozy relationship between the County of Santa Clara and Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA), the organization led by longtime labor union executive and current supervisor candidate Cindy Chavez. WPUSA is joined at the hip to the powerful South Bay Labor Council (SBLC), with whom it has historically shared offices, facilities, equipment, political objectives and allocated employees. Last year, SBLC led the effort to raise county sales taxes by $500 million over the next ten years and to increase San Jose’s minimum wage by 25 percent. It also endorsed 70 candidates for political office. Working Partnerships has been the recipient of at least $518,163 from the cash-challenged county in the past two years, performing a grab bag of services. Newly released documents obtained via a San Jose Inside public records request show the county’s contracts represented about 15 percent of Working Partnerships’ revenues for those years.


County Fights Tobacco Use by Throwing Away Money on ‘Smart Mobs’

This video of a “smart mob” designed to discourage smoking tobacco, put on by nonprofit Working Partnership USA, was funded with county taxpayer dollars.

Flash mobs are so 2011. But apparently, that’s how the county decided to spend leftover money at the end of last year, which, if memory serves, was 2012. But, wait, these weren’t just any flash mobs—they were “smart mobs.” At its last meeting of 2012, the county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $40,000 increase in its partnership with nonprofit Working Partnerships USA. The additional funds were retroactively approved to continue an anti-smoking initiative through March 18, 2013.


Cindy Chavez’s Conflicts of Interest

While on its executive committee, prospective county supervisor candidate Cindy Chavez helped move hundreds of thousands of dollars out of a local health nonprofit, according to copies of board minutes obtained by San Jose Inside. At a pivotal meeting last June, Chavez voted to approve a budget that included a line item in which one of her employers, Working Partnerships USA, had a financial interest—and to fund a political campaign that was largely run by her other employer, the South Bay Labor Council. The two transactions totaled $400,000, more than a quarter of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation’s budget.


Inside the Working Partnerships Political Money Machine

Working Partnerships USA, the labor-aligned nonprofit headed by former San Jose vice mayor Cindy Chavez, yesterday released its most recent Internal Revenue Service Form 990, after eight days of refusing requests to view the document. A review of the organization’s filings over the years found spending increases during key elections despite IRS restrictions on political activities by charities. In total, the nonprofit has raised and spent more than $25 million since 1998.