San Diego labor leader Mickey Kasparian has resigned as a member of the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee, writing to party chairwoman Jessica Hayes:
“Knowing that I will not have the time to be an active participant at Central Committee, I think it’s only fair that Member Lori Kern (select) another alternate to replace me.”
In a 203-word note obtained by Times of San Diego, Kasparian cited “an extremely busy year at UFCW Local 135,” where he is president.
He made no mention of a lawsuit filed a week ago by Melody Godinez, who alleges six incidents of “gender violence,” or legal actions pending from three other former UFCW Local 135 women.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher last week called for Kasparian to step down from his role within the local Democratic Party.
In his note, Kasparian apologized for what he called his “limited participation” with the Central Committee.
He said he negotiated two major contracts with CVS and Food 4 Less, “both taking more than five months from start to finish.”
And 2018 would be even more challenging, he wrote, with four major contracts expiring with Rite Aid, Kaiser, Viejas Casino and Spreckles Sugar.
“I will be negotiating all four of these contracts,” said Kasparian, who controls labor funds behind Democratic candidates and initiatives.
In response to a query seeking more details, Kasparian told Times of San Diego via email: “I think my email speaks for itself. I’ve discussed this with Jessica for months. I will be negotiating 4 difficult contracts in 2018. My decision was 100% based on fully committing myself to UFCW Local 135 members.”
Word of his move was first noted in a Facebook post by San Diego Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, who wrote Wednesday that “Kasparian had to step down from the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee, and I am pleased to hear he has chosen to do so.”
Gomez said it was her duty to to speak out against the misuse of power, “including when it is one of our own.”
She said nine women have made “serious accusations” against Kasparian.
“To those women, Sandy, Isabel, Anabel, Melody, Odette, Debbie, Rosie, Isaura, and Claudia, THANK YOU for speaking up,” Gomez wrote. “It is not easy to come forward, but we must break this type of abuse of power.”
On Twitter, fellow Councilmember Chris Ward wrote: “Glad to hear Mickey Kasparian has stepped down from @sandiegodems Central Committee. We have responsibility to ensure our work is done in safe, inclusive spaces & women who speak out are trusted and respected.”
Glad to hear Mickey Kasparian has stepped down from @sandiegodems Central Committee. We have responsibility to ensure our work is done in safe, inclusive spaces & women who speak out are trusted and respected: https://t.co/sjs5bizP4b
— Christopher Ward (@ChrisWardD3) December 20, 2017
Last March, the 11-member executive board of the local Democratic Party failed to reach a two-thirds vote on a request to remove him.
In his resignation note, which he also posted Wednesday evening on Facebook, Kasparian concluded: “It goes without saying that our Union will continue to assist the party in whatever you need, so we can elect good Democrats and move the progressive agenda forward.”
Brent Beltrán, an organizer of recurring protests outside the Mission Valley offices of Local 135 and other Kasparian appearances, said “it ain’t over for us. Two of our three demands have been met. Now we focus on agitating UFCW membership to seek his removal. His days as president of local 135 are soon coming to an end.”
Beltrán, a Barrio Logan community activist, said of Kasparian: “Everything is getting to him. The depositions have been brutal. Melody coming out with the gender violence accusation. Lorena finally speaking up. Gomez today. Mickey the Rat [a satirical Twitter account] every day.
“The media continuing to report. Numerous contracts coming up. His election coming in July (he’s fighting for his job). The trials quickly approaching. A pissed off wife. Pressure with the party and on Jessica Hayes. And he’s got undisclosed health issues. All of that, I believe, [led] to his resignation.”