OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

New Prop 32 Web Video: “Tragic” As CTA Spends Millions In Opposition

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on September 10, 2012

This just came across the wire from the Yes on Prop 32 campaign. (Full Disclosure: Custom Campaigns is doing some consulting work on this race):

New Prop 32 Web Video: “Tragic” As CTA Spends Millions In Opposition

Ad Shows Voters How Teachers Union Contributions Led To Failure Of SB 1530

(SACRAMENTO, CA)—Today, the Yes on Prop 32 campaign released a new web video, entitled “Tragic”, that explains how Prop 32 would reduce special interest control over politicians, exemplified by the California’s teachers union blocking SB 1530, a bill that would have made it easier to fire teachers accused of child molestation, violence and drug abuse. 

The ad features a recent CNN report that explained how contributions from the California Teachers Association were linked to the legislators who voted no or abstained from voting on SB 1530 when it came before the Assembly Education Committee.  The ad also includes the exact language that will appear on November’s ballot label.

Just last week, the CTA poured nearly $7 million into the “No on 32” campaign, bringing the total amount they’ve contributed in opposition to Prop 32 to over $16 million


PROP 32 WEB VIDEO: “Tragic”  Released – 09/09/2012

TRT — 154 seconds  Link — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LezTihQZl0Q


California Teachers Union Blocks Sexual Misconduct Firing Legislation

When local schools found themselves unable to fire teachers accused of sexual misconduct with students, they asked Sacramento to fix the process. The situation is so bad one school actually had to pay $40,000 to a teacher accused of 23 counts of sexual assault to get him out of the classroom. But the powerful teachers’ union deployed an army of lobbyists and campaign contributions to kill the      reform bill.

  • The Los Angeles Times reported that the “Los Angeles Unified School District paid Mark Berndt, the teacher at the center of the Miramonte Elementary child abuse scandal, $40,000 to drop the challenge to his dismissal last year.” (“Miramonte teacher was paid $40,000 to drop dismissal charges,” Los Angeles Times, 02/10/2012)
  • The Associated Press reported that SB 1530 “would have made it easier for school districts to fire teachers in cases of sexual and other egregious misconduct” and that it’s defeat “shone a spotlight on the strong sway of the California Teachers Association.” (Hoag, Christina, “Defeat of Calif. teacher bill shows union power,” Associated Press, 06/28/2012)
  • Even Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa slammed it as “cynical political manipulation.” (Hoag, Christina, “Defeat of Calif. teacher bill shows union power,” Associated Press, 06/28/2012)

California Teachers Union Lobbyist Picks Budget Winners And Losers

As elected officials discuss how to handle the state’s fiscal crisis, the powerful teachers union lobbyist not only has a seat at the table, but is powerful enough to block budget solutions that aren’t acceptable to his union and is able to “pick winners and losers.”

  • The Los Angeles Times reported that as Gov. Brown “hammered out final details of the state budget, he huddled around a conference table with three of the most powerful people in state government: the Assembly speaker, the Senate leader — and Joe Nuñez, chief lobbyist for the California Teachers Assn.” (Mishak, Michael, “California Teachers Assn. a powerful force      in Sacramento,” LA Times, 8/18/12)
  • When the union lobbyist vetoed budget solutions, “[the] group took a break, and the officials      retired to another room to hash out something acceptable to CTA while Nuñez awaited their return.” (Mishak, Michael, “California Teachers Assn. a powerful force in Sacramento,” LA Times, 8/18/12)
  • “It may seem unorthodox for an unelected citizen to sit with Sacramento’s elite as they pick winners and losers in the annual spending sweepstakes. But few major financial decisions in California are made without Nuñez, who represents what is arguably the most potent force in state politics.” (Mishak, Michael, “California Teachers Assn. a powerful force in Sacramento,” LA Times, 8/18/12)


Proposition 32 puts voters first by cutting the money tie between politicians and special interests and ensuring every   individual contribution is made voluntarily. It will:

1) ban direct corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates

2) ban contributions from government contractors to elected officials who control contracts awarded to them

3) ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics

Prop 32 implements these reforms evenhandedly, without exception. It will appear on the November 2012 ballot.

For more information on the initiative, please visit www.yesprop32.org.


5 Responses to “New Prop 32 Web Video: “Tragic” As CTA Spends Millions In Opposition”

  1. met00 said

    When Prop 13 came up the CTA said “Prop 13 will decimate the education system in CA”.

    Lo-and-behold they were 100% correct.

    They pointed out that there were loopholes that would ensure those that backed Prop-13 were the real beneficiaries. And again they were right. The financial backers of Prop-13 now own commercial property paying 1979 tax rates and charging 2012 rents. They buy and sell the corporations that own the property, so the property never gets adjusted to the tax rates at the time it’;s sold, since the LLC that owns it was sold, not the property.

    Just like the CTA said, the loopholes in Prop-13 benefited those that financially backed it, but not the people. If those commercial properties were being taxed at the year rates that they charge rents for, the financial situation in CA wouldn’t be 1/10th of what it is today, and in fact we would still be funding education and not running massive deficits.

    So, when the CTA says “look at the law for the loopholes that benefit the backers”, that’s generally a good idea. They have been right before. Odds are in their favor to be right again.

    “1) ban direct corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates”

    Actually, it has a large number of loopholes. For instance a professional corporation is NOT banned. And neither are specific types of other corporate entities (like LLC’s). So all a corporation has to do is create one of these corporate entities and fund that, and they can buy their influence all they want.

    “2) ban contributions from government contractors to elected officials who control contracts awarded to them”

    This is not new. The FPPC already nails a number of people that can’t seem to follow this rule every year.

    “3) ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics”

    I have worked for many corporations and I know of none that take automatic deductions from my paycheck and then use them. Seems like we have a case where they just added “corporations” to give you the feeling that all things are equal, but since corporations don’t do this, it’s really a smokescreen, and a lie. This may be how unions collect dues, but it isn’t how corporations get the money they will use to influence politics.

    Like when Prop-13 passed, if you actually look at the legislation you can see that there are one or two good ideas, but for the most part, the whole bill has been designed to hide what it’s primary goal is. To benefit the backers. And then the question is “how?” and the answer is “look no further than Citizen’s United.”

    Citizen’s United allowed corporations and billionaires to dump unlimited funds into manipulating the election of our representatives. They are without any controls and they can lie with abandon, because they can flood the airwaves, media and mail with unlimited expenditures of cash to support those politicians that they have already bought and paid for. In other words, the best government money can buy.

    Prop 32 is being sold under a false flag. It’s not about getting all the money out of politics. It’s about getting 1/2 of the money out of politics so the other half can just buy up all the politicians at a lower cost.

    Please read the bill. Look for all the corporate loopholes. They are easy to see when you start looking for them all. Now imagine all these wealthy people and corporations running the show because they have cut off the money that the other side uses to present you with their side of the story. Imagine the Koch brothers spending hundred of millions to put more oil derricks from San Diego to Santa Barbara, and getting it done because they bought the politicians and there was no one on the other side to let you know when the politician was bought.

    Prop 32 is the Citizen’s United for CA. It will ruin our Democracy.

    For the record I am NOT a member of CTA or any other union. I have run for public office. There were seven candidates and one candidate spent more than the other six of us combined. He drowned out the message and was able to misinform the voters with abandon. Yes, we have to come up with a way to get money out of politics, but you have to do it in a way that ensure that NO ONE gets an advantage. Prop 32 gives advantage to one side over the other. It’s bad law.

  2. Craig P. Alexander said

    1. The argument about Proposition 32 over corporations v. unions misses the most important point – if Proposition 32 passes politicians will need to pay attention to the needs of the voters in their districts not the special interests. The argument Met00 makes (which is the standard union line against Prop. 32) is about corporations v. unions. The unions (and their supporters like Met00) would like you to forget that Prop. 32 puts the power back into the average voters hands. Plus that the government employee unions own Sacramento. Some examples (2 to 6):

    2. The CTA killed a bill this summer to make it easier to fire teachers who sexually abuse their students, give their students drugs or booze, etc. The rights of abusive teachers (union members) are more important to the CTA than our school children.

    3. Late last year at the end of the legislative year – literally on the last day and the last hours of the legislative session, the union bosses, the Assembly Speaker and the Senate Pro Tem leader behind closed doors re-wrote SB299 to move all citizen generated initiatives on the state wide ballot from June to November. Virtually no notice was given for the committee hearings in the Assembly and Senate, it passed both houses on a party line vote and the Governor signed it (even though 35 years ago when he was Secretary of State he said statewide initiatives are OK to be voted on in June primaries – but it was the unions that put him back in the Governor’s chair). Why did the union pull its substantial influence to get this passed and in such a rush at the last minute – they were afraid of Prop. 32 and wanted to move it from a primary ballot (traditionally there is a greater percentage of conservative voters voting in June than in November – plus this year was seen to perhaps be a contested Republican Primary drawing out more Republicans while Democrats had only one choice President Obama). So now, thanks to the unions and their owned subsidiary the state legislature – we have a virtual phone book of initiatives to vote on in November. All so the unions could avoid Prop. 32 in June.

    4. When the unions (mainly the CTA) wanted to place the Governor’s tax proposal on the ballot (now known as Prop. 30), they came out with their wallet and spent several millions to place it on the ballot – pocket change for the CTA. Then when it was placed near Molly Munger’s competing new taxes initiative – they pulled out their people in the legislature to pass a last minute change in the law to allow the Governor’s initiative to be far ahead of Ms. Munger’s initiative (which is now Prop. 38).

    5. Current law allows unions to take member’s dues via involuntary payroll deductions and spend any part of it on political matters without the consent of the members. Corporations can do the same to their employees. If Prop. 32 passes the employees and union members will STILL HAVE THE RIGHT to voluntarily give to their union or corporation’s PAC or other political organization. The union or the corporation will just have to ASK PERMISSION once a year and get it in writing.

    6. In 2009 unions and corporations joined with the legislature and the Governator to pass a massive tax increase on the people of this state. The unions and corporations then banned together to finance a yes on Prop. 1A – 1E campaign to try and convince us to tax ourselves for a longer period (thankfully the people said no thanks to those). What was in it for the corporations that supported this? Part of that package of increases were tax breaks for those big corporations. The Unions’ reasons for supporting this? To not cut back on their salaries and benefits including pensions and retiree health benefits even though those are breaking the back of our state and local governments.

    7. Now another important fact Met00 glosses over – the initiative, if it passes, prohibits BOTH unions and corporations from a. taking money involuntarily from their members / employees and b. prohibits both of them from giving money directly to politicians (what is current federal law prohibiting corporations from giving to congressional, US senate and Presidential candidates would be extended to state and local offices). There are NO exceptions for any corporations. Met00 says Professional Corporations (mainly lawyers and doctors, etc.) are exempt – nope they are not. Those are still corporations. Those will be prohibited from giving money to politicians and taking it from their employees involuntarily.

    8. Here are some other important facts: 79% of most state politicians’ financial support comes from outside their Districts (think about that – most politicians only get 30% of their financial support from their own voters – the rest is mostly special interest money). 40% of all legislation is introduced by special interest lobbyists and their attorneys. Of all legislation introduced in the state legislature, those introduced by special interests have a passage rate of DOUBLE that of legislation introduced by our elected officials on our behalf. In 2010 $74 million was spent by special interests for state politics in California. Between 2000 and 2009 the top 15 contributors to state politics in California spent over $1,000,000,000 (thats $1 Billion). Who was number one on this hit parade? The California Teachers Association at over $211,000,000. Who was second – California’s version of the SEIU at over $107,000.000. The third – a corporate interest at over $104,000.000. The other top 12? More unions and corporations and some Indian Tribes.

    There are lots and lots of union lies that will be told about Prop. 32 before we get to November 6th. Before you make a decision on this important initiative – check out for yourself the information at the web site listed in the main section above by Chris.

    I also urge you to vote YES on Proposition 32.

    • met00 said

      Let’s personalize this a bit why don’t we…

      1) As I said before I am not a member of any union. My opinion actually comes from reading the text.

      2) It is NOT campaign finance reform when it “reforms” one half and lets the other side have loopholes that allow anonymous and unlimited funding.

      3) “prohibits BOTH unions and corporations from a. taking money involuntarily from their members / employees ” – I know of NO corporations that take money from their employees without the employees consent, so saying that there is something that corporations do, just like unions, in taking “dues” from the employees and then spending them on politicians is bogus. A corporation takes their money from their STOCKHOLDERS (it uses profits that are not being given back to the shareholders as dividends) without authorization and in ways that may be against the shareholders interests politically — not employees. So, will all political participation by a company require a vote of the shareholders, and those that do not wish it will get bigger dividends? No, I didn’t think so.

      I determine if something is “fair” if I can run the “shoe on the other foot” scenario on it. If I could live with being on either side then i generally say that it’s a fair deal.

      There is NOTHING in Prop 32 that fits the “other foot”. How do you think corporations would feel if they were forced to get any political donations approved by the shareholders, and those that voted against it got their “portion” as dividends, and only those that voted for it would be giving up their dividends for the political cause; and there were no limits on unions.Sound fair? Nope. I wouldn’t support a Prop that did that either.

      “if Proposition 32 passes politicians will need to pay attention to the needs of the voters in their districts not the special interests. ” – is 100% unprovable.In fact independent expenditure committees and PACs will have the ability to pour millions into a local race to change the outcomes, and WON’T have to tell anyone where the money is coming from.

      I am all for a sane process of campaign finance reform. Everyone who wants can participate, but they must provide lists of all donors that are publicly available and are updated every 72 hours. Unions, corporations, billionaires can all go about spending as much as they want to influence the vote, BUT we the people have every right to know who the hell is trying to buy it from us.

      If we are going to have real campaign finance reform, we need to start with complete transparency on all sides. Prop 32 stacks the deck and is bad law. It doesn’t “fix” any problem, it just shuts down one side while the other side gets a pass to continue to use unlimited secret funds to buy elections.

      I urge anyone who wants fair elections to vote no and toss this piece of garbage legislation out to the dung heap where it belongs.

  3. Craig P. Alexander said

    Let me state some obvious points:

    1. If Prop. 32 passes and a corporation of any kind gives money directly to a politician that will be a campaign finance violation – maybe even a felony. No exceptions. Same for a Union of any kind. No exceptions. LLCs and LLPs are not corporations – and they are a minor part of the larger problem.

    2. Super PACs are a federal law creation. State laws like Prop. 32 cannot solve that. Only federal legislation can. Because some corporations and some unions might use a super PAC is not a good reason to not pass a very good reform like Prop. 32.

    3. Right now AT&T gives campaign contributions to 98% (yes 98%) of all members of the state assembly and state senate. Virtually all legislators get money directly from AT&T and that is only one example of corporations giving to politicians directly. And they expect something in return for their investment. If Prop. 32 passes AT&T (and other corporations) will be absolutely prohibited from giving money directly to politicians – no exceptions. What can the AT&Ts (and the unions like the CTA) do to support a politician they like? Under Prop. 32 they can still put their money into an independent expenditure in support of (or in opposition to) a candidate. But unlike a direct contribution, when the independent expenditure is made, if AT&T or the CTA or whoever) is the major funder of that I.E., it must be specifically disclosed on the I.E. mailer (or TV ad or Radio ad).

    Lets look at that a little closer. Under the current system the money given directly to the politician goes into his / her campaign bank account and is disclosed as a contribution on their Form 496 (I may be off on the form number) with a list of many, many other contributors (individuals, corporations, unions, etc.). For a state assembly or state senator that is a long list of contributors and the form is not mailed with the campaign’s mailer. The money can be used for mailers (or whatever) and only the politician’s committee is listed on the mailer. But with an I.E.s with some exceptions the major funders must be disclosed both on the mailer and in the forms the PAC or entity files with the state. So if you are getting a mailer from an I.E. – lets say from AT&T and it states “major funding from AT&T” that is a very direct disclosure right there. That will say a lot to voters about who is supporting the candidate and that might be favorable to some and not so favorable to others – but I believe that would be a VERY good thing. Often who supports the politician is more important than what little I may know about that person running.

    4. So lets say Met00 is correct about his arguments against Prop. 32 and corporations may be able to use more money than unions for political purposes but only for I.E.s due to Prop. 32 prohibiting corporations (all of them) from giving money directly to state and local candidates (just as they cannot do now to federal candidates) – isn’t that a good reform to pass? Isn’t that a giant step in the right direction? Doesn’t that give more power to the voters in that district and improve disclosure of which special interests really support or oppose candidates?

    5. Right now the CTA rules the roost in Sacramento – the subject of the video that what began this post in the first place is illustrating the CTA’s power in Sacramento to keep from passage a bill that would make it easier to fire teachers who sexually abuse or give drugs or alcohol to their students. The passage of that bill should have been a no brainer but the CTA is about protecting their union dues paying members and not for protecting innocent children. Should we not pass Prop. 32 which would end the vise grip control by unions of Sacramento and would allow the legislators to pass much needed legislation like this?

    What Met00 wants (at least publically) is a utopian all inclusive proposition that would solve all state and federal campaign finance problems. And until then to not have any reform and leave unions like the CTA to have a vise lock on Sacramento. Well I have not seen any initiative that would solve all of Met00’s perceived problems with campaign finance laws but in my opinion Pro. 32 is a giant step in the right direction.

    Maybe there is such an all inclusive bill that would fix all of these issues at once but that exists at the legislature at Mount Olympus or at Fantasy Land at a certain place in the City of Anaheim that Walt Disney built. But not here in Sacramento, California.

    As I have said before I do not agree with Met00’s criticisms’ of Prop. 32. or the concept that Prop. 32 is flawed. But even if it is slightly flawed (using Met00’s logic), the reforms in prop. 32 are a GIANT leap forward and should be passed. Leaving alone a broken system that allows a teacher’s union to kill a bill to help get rid of teachers who are also sexual predators is NOT acceptable or wise.

    Please vote YES on Proposition 32.

    A program note: I enjoy these back and forths with Met00 but this page is about to roll over to page two (and I need to focus on my day job) and so I will not be responding further to any other replies on this post. Met00 thanks as always for a great debate and I’ll “see” you at the next one – likely about Prop. 32!

    • met00 said

      So tilting the playing field in favor of the Chamber of Commerce and against the unions is all okay in your opinion?

      How about we give every candidate who opposes corporate interests a 10% of all eligible voters advantage before the polls open? So if there are 1,000,000 registered voters the most liberal anti-corporate one gets 100,000 votes just for being in the race. Great idea.

      Visualize what happens when the Koch brothers are able to elect a majority of their candidates to public office at the State level because there is no one out there with the billions to oppose them. You know that nice pristine shoreline we have. Imagine it dotted all along the horizon with oil derricks.

      No it won’t happen tomorrow. It may take 3-6 election cycles before they are able to stack the deck that far. But, in the end the lack of a level playing field will give them the advantage to gut the laws that we count on to protect us. Just a few dollars spent in borderline districts to elect people to do their bidding, and viola.

      Like I said, if the shoe was on the other foot. If this were to eliminate corporate interests and enhance union interests I would be against it just as much.

      When Prop 13 was sold to California it had a built in advantage to commercial property owners. It was sold to the people for the one advantage it offered in capping rate increases. There were only two conditions where your property tax could be adjusted to market value. If the property was sold or if square feet were added. It was sold as “fair”, and the people bought the sales pitch.

      The reality is that no one adds square footage to a 10 story commercial building, so commercial real estate wouldn’t be adjusted that way. And all commercial real estate is not owned by an individual, but by a corporation. So, instead of selling the commercial real estate and actually creating an adjustment event, they sell the corporation and there is no adjustment to the taxes.

      How did that work out for California? It is one of the key reasons that the state is in the terrible financial condition it is in today.

      So, doing something that has “some good” and saying we will address the bad parts later has long term repercussions when the bad parts are never addressed.

      Prop 32 is like Prop 13 in that by the time you want to address that bad parts it will be too darn late. Do you really think that once the corporations get the power of having their bought and paid for politicians in office they will for one instant allow them to change the playing field from one that benefits them to one that is level?

      Right. Just after the Easter bunny admits that he is also the tooth fairy and Santa Claus as well.

      Passing a bad law is just that, passing a bad law. Prop 32 is a bad law.

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