The Check is in the Mail
By Tommy A. Purvis
By all appearances, Amos Jackson Young, Jr. has big plans for the upcoming Democratic National Convention (DNC) that is going to be held the first week of September in Charlotte, North Carolina. His victorious campaign to be a district level delegate to the DNC from the newly drawn 35th Congressional District—which includes Pomona, Ontario, Chino, Montclair, Bloomington and portions of Fontana and Rialto—in this election cycle mostly means that he will be on the field of Bank of America stadium to listen to the President’s acceptance speech.
But a prolonged controversy that swirls around his efforts to win the caucus could end his journey prematurely.
On April 29, registered Democratic voters in the 35th district went to the polls to select three female and four male delegates, along with an alternate, to be district level delegates for the DNC. But three former campaign workers—Rosalia Altamirano, Pearl Mejia and Joanne Delgado—who were instrumental in the get-out-the-vote effort for Young—were there to protest his candidacy through a handbill in front of the delegate caucus at a Union Hall in Ontario. The last sentence of the first paragraph of the flier reads: “He claims he believes in fair bargaining agreements for working families, but does not practice this concept himself!”
The women claim the Young campaign had failed to honor a contract that would pay an $800 stipend to the “fellows” for two weeks of extensive field work that included phone banking, canvassing and fundraising for the district level delegate. The women were hired—along with two others females—after responding to an April 14 ad on Craigslist. Altamirano used the keyword “campaign” to find an ad for those who wanted to “be a part of an independent effort in support of President Barack H. Obama” through “cutting-edge partisan political campaign work based in the Inland Empire.”
Instead, the campaign quickly became a game of campaign survival island as Young turned staffers against each other to purge 40 percent of the staff. The females that were left drove Young to meetings and appointments. Each fellow had been previously gifted $100 for travel expenses. Altamirano was expected to pick up Young’s dry cleaning with her own cash. Canvasing without permission at Pomona’s Indian Hill Mall Swap Meet led to face time with security. Young told the staff in a phone call to ditch security and continue. Promises from Young for Chinese takeout were unfulfilled.
The first few days of the campaign were in a room at the First Baptist Church in Rancho Cucamonga that Young says the campaign leased through a $500 memo-of-understanding. The phone bank script used in the Young campaign told staffers to say they were calling from “students for Barrack Obama.” Those who pledged support to the President through a vote for Young got the additional enticement of entertainment and food at the statewide caucus. Young says that phone lists for his calls were cut from a third-party source for around $100. A staffer who was sent to FedEx Office to pick-up the call list says that two credit cards given to her from Young for the transaction were declined.
After several false promises of payment, the disenfranchised Young fellows started the Facebook page “How has Amos scammed you?” An owner of a limo company posted that Young owed them $420 for a ride that was supposed to involve the boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley. A person posted that Young owed an accountant friend of hers money for an old tax return. Another person posted that Young has a pre-trial hearing today at the Fontana Superior Courthouse for allegations that he obtained money through false pretenses along with a court case number. The fellows posted video of encounters with Young to get their cash. Another poster left a picture of Young’s Facebook page banner with Eva Longoria and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis at an Obama fundraiser.
The women also filed a complaint with the DNC and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office.
“It is appropriate that it is on May Day that we are coming together to raise our voices to ensure justice for these women and all workers,” Victor Quiroz, president of the Fontana Democratic Club (FDC), said in a written statement before a rally for the unpaid fellows. “This is the day that people all over the world recognize the people’s right and imperative to fight for fair wages for their work and to be free from exploitation and mistreatment at the hands of any corrupt employer or contractor.”
Young’s membership in FDC had been previously revoked after he bounced a $10 check.
On Monday, the Young campaign released a statement that says the fellows have been cut checks that were put in the mail for the past balances owed to them. Young blamed the SNAFU in payment on a switch from merchant systems from Durkee & Associates to an East Coast-based firm. “With this issue behind us, I look forward to working with my fellow Delegates and ensuring the Re-election of President Barrack Obama, working to pass the Obama/Biden Agenda and providing support to regional Democrats.”