City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Larry Sand
Paycheck Protection Redux « Back to Story

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Rebecca Friedrichs October 28, 2012 at 9:55 PM
Outstanding and true! Thank you for providing a voice for teachers like me. I am against the union's political agenda, but I've been funding it against my will for 25 years. Thomas Jefferson's quote is appropriate and accurate in this situation.
If you read the language in Prop 32 it states to stop poliltical contributions through payroll deductions from corporations and unions. First,only unions collect dues through payroll deductions NOT corporations. There is a system with in every union that governs the tiny percent of the dues that go to politics and every member has the right to opt out. However, The language in Prop. 32 continues to state that even if money is collected through voluntary practices the union cannot use the money for any political purpose or communicate with their members regarding politics.
Second, the language of prop. 32 states it will stop pay to play. It only stops it during the bidding process, than corporations can go back to giving moneys. It doesn’t stop Corporate Super PAC’s, Wal-Mart, which is not a corporation, Anti union Billionaire CEOs, Koch Bros. or 501 4c non profits that don’t even have to report to the FFC who gave them money. Even the Chamber of Commerce can give unlimited amounts of money to their special interests.
Let’s talk Chamber of Commerce, their attorneys and members attend every MSHA, OSHA or CAL OSHA hearing I have every attended fighting to stop or repeal health and safety laws that protect workers. Yeah , that’s the folks I want to decide my working conditions and pay.
According to data compiled by the Center for Investigative Reporting..., the top labor unions spent $284 million on initiatives, candidates and parties from 2001 to 2011.
“But all together, the top contributors among the wealthy and business interests spent $931 million, swamping labor. Eliminating union spending would worsen this disparity, making it nearly impossible for millions of middle-class voters to make their voices heard.
Indeed, some of the largest contributors to the 32 campaign are the same wealthy men who have spent millions to influence politics over the past decade.
One add to my last comment: The NEA and CTA rebates are constant around the state, but the local union rebates vary.
Chris R., if Prop. 32 passes, your voice will still be welcome in Sacramento. You will still be able to contribute to your favorite politician/cause. Also, your $6 dollar figure doesn’t come close to reality. Here is an accurate deduction breakdown, courtesy of teacher-blogger Darren Miller. An agency fee payer, he posted the following last November:

Last year I paid over $1,000 in union dues. …Refunded to me was $358.20. Here's the exact wording of the letter accompanying my check:

As noted in our prior letter, the rebate percentages(the amount not spent on employee representation)are:
NEA-56%
CTA-28.6%
LOCAL-28.6%
What you've written is inaccurate, in some respects. It is very easy to opt-out of the payroll deductions, which amount to about 6 dollars a year per teacher. Prop 32 is not about Jeffersonian morality, but about cutting off Union power and influence at the knees. As a teacher, I don't see the benefit of losing my voice in Sacramento.
Given our state’s history and our performance as voters, most sober observers would conclude California’s ballot initiatives, “Proposition this, that or whatever”, are pretty much a joke on the general populace and nothing for our politicians to lose any sleep over. We voted in support of heterosexual marriage and whatever happened to that Proposition? We voted to deny free emergency room medical care to illegal immigrants and today our city emergency rooms are the primary providers of free medical care to undocumented workers and their families.

Our state’s two leading scientists, Michael J. Fox and Nancy Reagan, convinced a majority of Californians, through another Proposition, to spend $3 billion on embryonic stem cell research to cure Alzheimers and MS. Today, not one single Californian has been cured by anything remotely related to embryonic stem cells. We have cured various political insiders of personal funding shortfalls and appointed loyal friends of influential politicians to a state funded board tasked with insuring that $3 billion in taxpayer funding was impartially disbursed to legitimate research parties – meaning the money was quietly divvied up and given to those special interests who originally conceived the $3 billion stem cell Proposition. Oh, and not to forget those Wall St. firms and attorneys who helped float the bonds which raised the $3 billion.

Between the courts and the bureaucracy in Sacramento, the odds that a successful Proposition will actually change the political landscape is similar to winning the Mega Bucks lottery twice in the same week. We should demand our politicians actually do something to earn their salaries rather than depend on the voters to initiate new law. But, on second thought, where’s the fun in that?