Alfonso Nevarez has written very briefly about one of his experiences in high school, but I could find no mention of his having attended college. Perhaps it was simply missed. A correction would be nice to have in this regard. In a Daily Kos diary dated 3 February 2011 and entitled “A Daily Kos Ranger vs TSA Agenda Guy,” Al launched an attack against his current political opponent and, in so doing, provided some insight into his own personal background.
According to Al, he started working with computer databases in the late 1990’s, which would be shortly after high school. In 2000, he got his certification in programming but does not say exactly where. For the next several years, he only “dabbled” in database development, getting a personal contract here and there. Al felt that his efforts in this regard were handicapped by an unfortunate confluence with the “dot.com bust economy.” As a consequence, he earned his living by driving a forklift and through odd jobs to supplement his income when no data development work was forthcoming. He cleaned ballpark concessions, drove an airport shuttle, delivered parcels, and more. He stated in another diary in 2009 that he really suffered during this period. He recounted sitting in a hiring hall hoping – praying – that his name would be called, haggling with unemployment case workers so he could keep a roof over the heads of his family, and standing in line at the city welfare office to collect a GA check.
Eventually, Al found a full-time job using his computer skills, got married (2004), had his first child, and seemed to be on the road to financial stability at last. Al was also on the move: across the Bay to Emeryville, near Oakland, and north to Rohnert Park and Petaluma in Sonoma County, California.
At some point during this period, Al seems to have decided to become more involved in progressive causes and joined MoveOn.org. He received an email from MoveOn which recommended attendance at their recently formed New Organizing Institute (NOI) in Washington, D.C. Al was an attendee at the first NOI intensive “boot camp” in February/March 2006. As Al later described it, this was “a great organization which was looking to train people like me to become online activists.”
At the NOI boot camp, Al seems to have met Judith Freeman, one of the NOI co-founders who had been previously the senior political strategist at the AFL-CIO and a staff member of the 2004 Kerry campaign. She was now the Executive Director at NOI. Al has stated in the above-cited 2011 diary that it was Freeman who helped him to get a position at the AFL-CIO.
By 2006-2007, Al had become a “Research Associate” in the Collective Bargaining Department at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. He continues to carry that job title. On his campaign website, Al describes his job as follows: ” I spend my time working through budgets and negotiations and I have policy expertise to tackle land-use and budget problems and help plan our community’s future.”
In the 2011 diary cited above, Al states: “…My main responsibility is researching economic trends and corporate policies that affect union members and the middle class in general. This research helps organizers reach out to workers; it gives locals the tools to negotiate fair contracts; it supports analysts who evaluate policy; and it provides labor leaders with the information they need to make decisions.” Al also believes that his work allows him to observe and learn from the leaders in his organization.
In a Daily Kos diary dated 17 October 2008 and entitled “Government Data Sucks Exhibit A: Ohio,” Al added the following about his work: “My title is research associate, but, in reality, I am a data analyst. I have other duties but most of my time is spent processing and formatting data. It is not that there isn’t a lot of different types of projects that could use my attention, it’s just that the data projects take priority — and are time consuming.”
Another notation should be added to this. It comes from the Daily Kos diary cited in the first paragraph above. I believe this notation carries some signficance, given the fact that Al is seeking a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, which is at the pinnacle of our local decision-making apparatus. The author believes that, in all fairness to the voters, this should be known. The comment, written in February 2011, is this:
“By no means am I a decision maker at the Federation….”