Monthly Archives: November 1991

November 1991 Firefighter and Police Unions’ City Council Election Campaigns

November 1991 Firefighters and Police Union City Council Election Campaigns

Los Angeles Times


California | Local

New Players Enter Political Scene

Elections: Police officers and firefighters threw themselves into the local campaigns. Their efforts got mixed results.

November 08, 1991


In an unprecedented level of political activity, South Bay firefighters feverishly put out flyers and police officers enthusiastically pursued voters before Tuesday’s election. But the results of their efforts were mixed.

In Hermosa Beach, firefighters endorsed two City Council candidates for the first time in the department’s 85-year history. In El Segundo, the fire union jumped into its first campaign in years. And in Hawthorne, emergency workers said they campaigned in the city’s election with more intensity than ever before.

“It’s a very big trend for fire departments to get involved in politics,” said Michael Lines, president of the Hermosa Beach Firefighters’ Assn. “It’s sweeping across California. You will see more and more political action and involvement by firefighters.”

Behind the politicking was a fear that an unfriendly City Hall might meddle in department affairs or even abolish the department.


South Bay firefighter groups were most successful in El Segundo, where their favored council candidate, Janice Cruikshank, swept into office with a solid 44% of the vote in a four-way race.

El Segundo Fire Capt. Tom Kennedy, who serves as vice president of the El Segundo Firefighters Assn., said the group became politically involved in response to a bitter contract dispute that reduced benefits for firefighters.

Cruikshank could not say enough about the firefighters group, whose members spent scores of hours walking precincts, distributing flyers, and even transporting some voters to the polls. They also contributed $249 to her campaign–$1 under the maximum allowed by city ordinance. It was the largest single contribution she received.

“They were always there, no matter what we needed,” Cruikshank said. “Without the support from these young men, a lot of times I would have thrown up my hands and said, ‘That’s it.’ ”

Although some critics said the contributions would make Cruikshank beholden to the firefighters’ demands, both she and Kennedy denied they made any deals.

“I didn’t promise them anything except that I would listen to them,” Cruikshank said.

In response to Cruikshank’s victory, Kennedy said candidates will probably court the firefighters in future races. And the firefighters, he predicted, will greatly increase their involvement in political campaigns.

“The main thing we learned is we are a very, very viable (and) powerful force within this community,” he said. … Continue reading

Posted in California, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo News, El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases, Firefighter and Police Union Compensation and Pensions, Firefighter Union Corruption, Government Employee Compensation and Pensions, Historical News, Police Union Corruption | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on November 1991 Firefighter and Police Unions’ City Council Election Campaigns