By: Joe Driscoll
February 5, 2006

I received an email Friday telling me I had won re-election to the City and County of San Francisco’s Retirement Board. I knew right then and there that there were many, many people to thank. These days I am trying to fill the seat that the likes of Tailspin Tommy and Russ Edwards helped launch over at TI, but it was the time to stop talking hose and ladder and write. I should start with the 7,000+ that did take the time to vote as well as the mailmen and women that picked up and delivered the ballots.

Many people have helped give me the opportunity to serve in a role that is so valuable to working people planning for security in their retirement. Many good folks like Larry Mazzola of the Plumbers, Kevin Hughes and John O’Rourke of the Electricians, Dennis Kelly from the Teachers; Cashman and Dwyer with the Attorneys; Crist and Lieberman with MEA; Bob Morales from the Teamsters; Larry Martin and Bill Sisk with the Transport Workers; Oscar de la Torre with the Laborers and the Stationary and Operating Engineers - all spoke with their executive boards and union membership. They let me use their union’s endorsement to ask their members to vote for me. Thanks Labor.

The POA was very helpful. President Gary Delagnes and Lt. Al Casciato helped get the word out. Mike Hebel wrote a very complimentary article about me in their “Notebook”. He even introduced me when I had the chance to speak at the Retired & Veteran Police Officers Association Lunch. Gale Wright put the word out just like Bernard Crotty and Nancy Gin and leaders at the Retired City Workers Association did. Thank you.

Yes, all the Retirees pay attention to the election as much as they do their COLAs and their own charter amendments. I want to thank Al Fernandez, who helped and gave me a moment to speak at the big Petaluma lunch while Joe Collins and Chief Jack Cavallero were stirring away in the kitchen. Tony Sacco and Tim O’Brien and Leo Martinez made time and helped me with the SF Branch of Retired Firefighters. Those fellows, too, have always slugged away in political battles by making time to help friends. I do not think Father John voted, but I trust he got all the old altar boys out of St. Monica’s long enough to put an “X” on the ballot. Thank you.

I thought there was going to be a very fair challenge and need to run a good campaign if I wanted to win and continue useful service to the pension fund. Of course, in politics the word “fair” has more interpretations than the words “smoke showing”. I have always worked my campaign to City workers with a few hundred dollars. I did not think that would be enough. Local 798 President John Hanley stepped up and just told me to ask. I did, but the encouragement from Moriarty and Kelly; the help from Jim Vannucchi and Brendan Ward and the whole Fire Fighter Association ... could not have won with that help. (I think a lot of people believe the legendary Billy Cochran put all the room and contents out with just a pump can, but I think it helped when Gughi charged those standpipes). Therefore, it was only fitting that I got a good word from Fergie, too. That nice card was mailed out because a few guys asked, “Why should we vote for you, Joe? So what if you are a firefighter, that is real money you have to work with at the pension fund. Why vote for you? I guess it helped, so thanks.

Thanks for the chance to serve another 5 years. I like setting investment objectives as well as asking Clare Murphy to keep improving service to all pension plan members, active and retired, which she and her staff constantly do. I help find the excellent investment partnerships and realistic service goals ... well kind of like a good old chief’s operator might find a fire. Not much good with only a flashlight and no water, but the radio and a pencil!

I follow on the work of Leon Bruschera and Slim Ballard and Bob Callaghan and many other 798 leaders that helped improve the pension plans over the years. It took us 20+ years to come back from the August ‘75 aftermath. However, we did and then a bit more too. We helped the other City workers too, but that took another four years. It was because the Mazzolas and Crowleys of the SF Labor Council know what a labor issue is. They had worked with Ferguson, Bruschera, Ahern and Hanley and knew we could and would help. We did. I trust we will do it again, because Miscellaneous Plan members need their benefit formula improved, again. Their situation is more complicated than fire and police, but advancing benefits for all workers is the way we succeed. As for those other workers that have written and said to me that the police and fire do not care for them, do not realize that our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers are members of the Miscellaneous Plan. Our families are happy for our benefits, but rightly expect us to help them. Many City workers understand this and remember what we did for them in November 2000. We must do it, again. The Trustee’s hat that I gladly wear to collect from the City and figure out how they can pay more in COLA and benefits. Then too, I will put on the firefighter’s helmet to help the unions of other City workers to win better benefits with the Citizens of San Francisco.

Thanks, again for re-electing me. Thanks again for the opportunity to continue adding value at the pension fund by helping the Pros as a driving force. Thank You!

Main Menu