Prop. 32: "deceptive and outrageous"

Union-busting initiative would let corporations, Super PACs control California


Coming soon to California schools near you: larger classes, fewer courses, and an end to sports and arts programs.

All of this and much worse could come to pass after Nov. 6 if voters approve Prop. 32, a deceptive and outrageous initiative which would empower corporations, Super PACs and the wealthy to control California. That would spell disaster for public education and the state as a whole.

Prop. 32, the Special Exemptions Act, would sharply limit unions' ability to raise money from their members and completely prohibit them from contributing to candidates.

Prop. 32's supporters claim the measure is “paycheck protection” but nurses, firefighters and teachers like myself don't need or want protection from our own unions. And anyone who approves of an eight-hour workday, minimum wage, weekends and overtime benefits from healthy unions, whether they are members or not.

Our state's voters rejected this idea twice before, leading Prop. 32 supporters to try a new trick. This union-busting measure contains language about corporate paycheck deductions, giving the proposal the appearance of fairness. But since businesses and their owners can simply raise limitless political contributions through profits, Prop. 32 will leave corporate power unchecked while crippling unions that currently balance their influence.

In addition, the measure does nothing to check unlimited political spending of Super PACs, the new political action committees unleashed by the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case. Through Super PACs, anonymous wealthy donors are already spending hundreds of millions to influence the 2012 elections nationwide.

Should Prop. 32 pass, what parts of their agenda will they impose here? Other states are fighting voter suppression, mandatory vaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions and vouchers to siphon support from cash-strapped public schools. If unions become powerless, perhaps a better question is, what parts of the extremists' agenda won't they impose here?

No wonder that experts are calling Prop. 32 “a fraud to end all frauds,” and “Citizens United on steroids” and “the polar opposite of even-handed campaign finance reform.”

As Steve Smith of the California Labor Federation wrote, “Prop. 32 is a sucker punch. If the billionaires land it, the next punch will follow quickly. And that would likely be a knockout to California’s middle class.”

We know what corporate rule would be like because California once had it, as a summer visit to the mining town of Bodie reminded me. There the Standard Mill, built in 1877, once pulverized a ton of ore to extract each ounce of gold from mines. This destructive process laid waste to entire mountainsides but more shocking was the plant's harm to its own employees. Rock-crushing machines deafened workers, mercury exposure poisoned them and factory equipment maimed and killed many, all without compensation. The mill is full of hazards that the law would never
permit today.

Governor Hiram Johnson brought California the initiative a century ago to break the stranglehold big business held on the state's government and people. To see his direct democracy used to empower corporations and the super-wealthy while silencing working people would surely make the progressive leader spin in his grave.

Prop. 32 would send us on a calamitous journey back to a dark period in our history. Democrats, Republicans and independents alike should know better.

Got an opinion to share on Patch? Start a blog.

Dalamar September 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM
@Steven- There's this thing called "INTERNET". You can access it with your computer. With both, anyone can access endless amounts of information. You should try it. Start with searching "The history of______". You will be amazed at what you might find. For you first lesson try "history of 8 hour work day". Henry Ford wasn't your man for that. If you still need help, there are classes available to show people how to use the internet if you still need assistance. Just type in "computer classes in _____" in the search bar. Enter your home city after the words "classes in". You can also search "Proposition 32". As slow and boring it may be to you, it is very important you read every search result from start to finish. Otherwise you will end up where you are at now. When you think you are ready to try something more advanced, search "The two santa claus theory -Thom Hartmann" To see how the U.S. Deficit really blew out of control. But you have to read everything start to finish. Let me know if you need more help with that too. And I mean that sincerely.
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Look at the little socialist telling a search specialist how to use... a search engine? Why don't you read HENRY FORD: Why I Favor Five Days' Work With Six Days' Pay by Samuel Crowther. While you're at it why don't just start reading historically accurate books, instead of being an SEIU parrot!!!
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 06:58 PM
@Dalamar How long will it take for you to see that you're fighting an uphill battle. Most every poster in here has a better grasp of reality than you. I for one would rather have to deal with PACs, than be at the mercy of union thugs who buy the politicians who are supposed to represent me. I want the unions gone from the public sector. If private companies allow unions, that's fine.
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 07:01 PM
You've just said you won't do exactly what you will do. You should be a politician!!!
Larry Kinslow September 24, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Henry Ford didn't "create" the 8 hour workday, he might have been the first to "adopt" a "true 8 hour workday".
David September 24, 2012 at 07:24 PM
You can't get paid more if you don't produce more. Ford paid his workers more after massive improvements in productivity--taking the time it took to build a car from more than a day to 90 minutes on the assembly line, a huge decrease in man-hours to build the same product. When that happens, you can pay your workers more. In fact, you generally *want* to, because the added capital investment requires more skilled workers, and losing workers to turnover (because of pay etc) costs you more in downtime versus hiking wages.
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 08:00 PM
@Larry Kinslow So now we are arguing semantics. The unions claim they created the eight hour workday, they did not. Ford may not have been the first, but his adoption paved the way for it to become the standard workweek. Elvis didn't invent rock and roll, yet he is the undisputed father of it. Stop the petty nit picking and just admit that Unions had nothing to do with eight-hour days, 40-hour weeks, or minimum wage. That called being honest!!! The public-sector Unions are guilty of taking workers dues, paying off politicians who return the favor 100 fold by agreeing to contract that WE PAY, yet have no voice in the process. Chicago teachers union strike being the prime example of hypocrisy and thievery.
Larry Kinslow September 24, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I'm not "arguing" anything, however, I do believe the push for a shorter work day began earlier in the United States, in 1791, with workers in Philadelphia striking for a ten hour total work day that would include two hours for meals. Oh yeah, request denied Bubba!
Larry Kinslow September 24, 2012 at 08:34 PM
It sounds to me like you anti-Union type folks are saying that workers can spend years fighting for better working conditions, etc. and when businesses finally "give in" they're the ones you give all the credit for "creating" better conditions for their workers. Another thing, if you're so sure you're "right", why do you get so angry. I'm just saying.
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 09:44 PM
@Larry Kinslow I love it!!! On a page filled with endless paragraphs of your diatribe, you sau you aren't arguing anything, and then follow up with multiple personal insults. As for me, the fact that when you've failed to convince solid thinking posters, and then resort to verbal thugery, tells me you are nothing more than a union shill. I could imagine you on a picket line with your sign and green tee now. I've had enough of the tag team of Dalamar and Kinslow today. Immense Fail Larry
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Again, I came in here fully expecting to find a reason to vote NO on 32. The NO on 32 commercials had me going, and being the IT/SEM guy I am; I wanted to seek the truth. I've now become thoroughly planted in the YES column!!!
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@ Eldon Brodie and anyone else who want to know "what's in it!" http://www.kcet.org/news/ballotbrief/elections2012/propositions/prop-32-cheat-sheet-political-contributions-by-payroll.html Put out by KCET, an impartial 3rtd party (main stream media (cough)), but still a good rundown.
Steven Havill September 24, 2012 at 09:56 PM
http://www.kcet.org/news/ballotbrief/elections2012/propositions/whos-funding-prop-32-prohibiting-contributions-through-payroll-deductions.html That's how much money is being spent to fight it, $40M Union dollars. Against a paltry $13M for it. Add in all the dead people and illegal aliens the Unions will recruit to vote NO and it probably doesn't stand a chance.
Larry Kinslow September 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Man, where do you get this stuff from. Like I said, why so angry. I just responded to you with a couple of simple, what I consider to be factual statements. After your post, I had to go back and read my posts before I just blurted out how wrong you were. If you can't get something as simple as that right, how do you expect anyone to believe your argument against Unions. Chill dude, it'll be okay.
Dalamar September 25, 2012 at 06:29 AM
@Steven H.- I see from your posts either you couldn't figure out how to search information or didn't follow my advice and read the information from start to finish. This is why you keep ending up where you're at. Frustrated and misinformed. I will try to find some easy researchable articles or sites for you to check out while you practice searching on the internet.
Rob Rich September 25, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Prop 32 is built on an appealing premise, to get big money out of elections. It even sounds fair because it prevents payroll deductions by both corporations & unions. In reality, it is part of a multi-pronged attack to insure that only the big money corporate voice is heard in elections. When viewed in concert Citizens United, corporate spending is unlimited & union spending is strictly limited. Honestly, if there was a legitimate attempt to get big money out of elections I would be all for it. How about limiting campaign contributions to registered voters?
Dalamar September 25, 2012 at 03:07 PM
It is VERY important to keep all this in mind when discussing prop 32. Let me remind everyone again prop 32 was written and sponsored by ALEC. Look into ALECexposed.org. All of it are funded by the SuperPAC club, including the Koch brothers. SuperPAC club are the authors and supporters of Prop 32. Do you really think it is a coincidence the SuperPAC club is exempt in Prop 32? Do you really think they looking out for union members? everyday people? Who only represent about 17% of CA workforce. The reason it is important to seriously consider the answers to these questions is so in the end, despite politics or opinions about unions, we can all find common ground and agree there's only one simple conclusion. We can all be honest with each other and just admit this is only about politics and the SuperPACs restricting all unions ability to impede the SuperPACs political agenda?
David September 25, 2012 at 03:11 PM
You conveniently leave out that unions can (and have) form SuperPACs. You conveniently leave out that there is NO restriction on unions raising money for political purposes. The *ONLY* thing being banned with Prop 32 is the *FORCED* garnishment of workers' wages for unions' political activities. Unions can still bargain with their employers, they can still go on strike, they can still raise money (i.e. given to them *VOLUNTARILY*) for political purposes. Why is it ok to steal money from poor workers who are *only* 17% of the labor force for political activities unrelated to bargaining for wages & benefits & work rules?
David September 25, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Why can't unions raise money *voluntarily* from members for political purposes. The NRA raises gobs of money from small-time donors who support its political activities. Ditto for all kinds of political groups, PACs/SuperPACs, heck, ditto for the Democrats & Republican parties. Union spending is not limited one bit. If they can raise money from their members, they can spend it. How about limiting campaign contributions to money voluntarily given?
Dalamar September 25, 2012 at 03:19 PM
@Rob Rich- In an ideal world I think it would be a huge step to real democracy if we could completely eliminate the investing in politicians. Right now that is the best kept secret for the highest return on investment. Those who have the most money have the most influence. Once again please refer to ALECexposed.org Prop 32 wants to promote itself as a big step in that direction but it is only a mockery of the idea. I would take your idea Rob a few steps further. Registered voters could voluntarily donate to a general fund regardless of party. This general fund is then divided equally among all candidates regardless of party. That resulting amount would be the maximum amount any one candidate could have to spend on campaining. Under no circumstance could these candidates donate to each other. Period.
Rob Rich September 25, 2012 at 04:38 PM
A shareholder can vote against a Board that elects to make campaign contributions with which s/he disagrees. Similarly, a union member can vote against leadership that elects to make campaign contributions with which s/he disagrees. One is considered sufficient checks and balances, somehow the other is not. It smells like pure partisan politics to me. And big money is winning. If you want to get big money out of politics, I'm with you.
David September 25, 2012 at 05:31 PM
No, a shareholder has one enormous other option--selling his shares, and getting his capital back to invest in other companies. What is a worker to do if his vote fails? Get a different job? What if his skills are tailored for unionized workplaces (like the UAW)? The garnishment of workers' wages for activities unrelated to...working is simply theft by the majority for a minority's benefit. That might be ok with you. But that doesn't make it right or fair.
Dalamar September 25, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Hi Steven- Check these links out. Search them on the web. i hope they help. Proposition 32 promises reform, but critics call that promise a ruse --Ventura County Star ballotpedia.org/.../California_Proposition_32,_the_%22Paycheck_ The first one isnt bad, You better have an energy drink or coffee before reading the 2nd one completely.
Rob Rich September 25, 2012 at 08:12 PM
While shareholders can sell their shares, it gets a bit trickier when a conglomeration of stocks are held by mutual funds, like in many 401k retirement plans. Thank goodness that there's no problem with my retirement savings being used by corporations to fund political speech that I find counterproductive! Of course, democracy is a tricky business. What's to be done when the vast majority of union workers are opposed to Prop 32? http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2012/09/from-the-notebook-the-field-poll-numbers-on-proposition-32.html#more You better check your irony at the door because suddenly, to the rescue, come those who are most likely to complain that: (a) unions are wrecking our country, (b) union workers are overpaid, &/or (c) all government workers are lazy and unproductive. Armed with Prop 32 they will selflessly "protect" those they believe are lazy, unproductive & overpaid with a measure that will prevent union workers from democratically deciding how their dues should be used. The fact that this will be a tremendous boost to the forces that oppose unions is evidently immaterial.
Fred Eiger September 25, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I'll have to disagree. Prop 32 will require that Unions not use their members dues to support candidates that members find reprehensible. I know scores of Union members who despise Barbara Boxer yet their Union gives that beast millions of dollars in support.
David September 25, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Again, you're missing the point. If you find mutual funds so heinous, buy individual stocks. You have rights and the option to allocate your time and money. A union member does not have those rights. His money is taken from him upon pain of losing his job to support political activities he may disagree with. Why is it ok for the majority to steal from the minority?
Rob Rich September 26, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Let's be real. Prop 32 is not about protecting union workers' paychecks. Quite the opposite, it is being pushed by those who believe that union members earn too much & have too much influence in electoral politics. Evidently their polling indicated that wasn't an effective message so they "spinned" it to try to make it sound warm & fuzzy. The problem is, one moment they're foaming at the mouth spewing Social Darwinian invective about how unions are the root of all evil, and then with the next breath lamenting the travails of honest, hard working union members whose dues are being "stolen." Crocodile tears? However, just because they are being disingenuous doesn't mean they don't have a point. I fully support honest, bi-lateral efforts at legitimate campaign finance reform. But not this one-sided junk that is really nothing more than an attempt to hogtie one's opponent.
David September 26, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Can we be "real" about all the propositions? Like anything coming from the Teachers' Union? Why can't unions convince their members that contributing to new SuperPAC XYZ brought to you by Local ABC is a good thing that will elect politicians that are friendly to them? That's what every other political group does. Could it be that their members don't actually want their money going to certain politicians?
Jimmy Hoffa October 09, 2012 at 08:22 AM
Vote yes on prop 32. It is time to send the unions a clear message.
Fred Eiger October 09, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Oh yes Marga, America is in danger of being a "one-party" system. You mean like in the Bay Area where Unions and Democrats have created a welfare, society of abject poverty and misery in Oakland, Richmond and East Palo Alto? Save you hypocrisy for your own blogs.


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