1) California Unions Hate All Hedge
Fund Managers... Almost. The November ballot in
California has its usual complement of initiatives attracting vast swaths of
money. The state may be a budgetary basket case, but the political advocacy
business is booming.
Two of the 11 measures are getting the
most attention and, indeed, share many of the same donors. The folks who
support Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike initiative, are opposing
Proposition 32, yet another initiative attempting to limit the political
power of public employees unions in the state. In California, the "no" side
has historically had the advantage and the trend seems to be holding. The
"yes" sides of both initiatives are currently polling below 50 percent.
It's clear that both sides of the Prop
32 campaign are going after the so-called "low
information voter" or, as I like to call it, "the
ignorant bloc." You have to be only mildly informed to see the cynicism
involved in two special interest groups deciding on "special interests" as
their battleground issue.
Prop 32 supporters promise to end the
reign of special interests in California by banning payroll deduction of
political contributions by corporations and unions. Sounds great, except
almost no corporation extracts political contributions from paychecks, and
the U.S. Supreme Court has already spoken - in the negative - on limiting
what individuals can spend, or what groups can spend independently. Prop 32
backers know they have created the broadest possible ban that hasn't yet
faced Constitutional scrutiny. That such a measure more greatly affects
unions than corporations is a feature, not a bug.
On the flip side, it is quite
astonishing that the unions opposing Prop 32 have chosen the power and
influence of special interests as their theme as well. The unions are
outspending their laundry list of corporate fat cats
by a margin of five to one. The California Teachers Association by
itself is outspending them by two to one.
There are nine active political action
committees formed to oppose Prop 32. All but one is sponsored and funded by
labor unions. The lone exception is the
Asian Pacific Environmental Network, whose year-to-date contributions
When you dig through the 296
contributions to the No on 32 campaign, you are hard-pressed to find
significant donations by any individual or group that is not a union.
One ostensible exception is the $100,000 contributed by the John A. Perez
Ballot Measure Committee - that is, unless you happen to know that John A.
Perez is California's Speaker of the Assembly and the former political
director for the United Food and Commercial Workers union.
But there is a sizable $500,000
contribution to the No on 32 campaign from one Thomas F. Steyer. Who is
Thomas F. Steyer? Believe it or not, he's a
billionaire hedge fund manager.
That's right, the No on 32 campaign is
running ads identifying "hedge fund managers" as those behind the Yes on
32 campaign, while paying for those ads with the substantial help of its own
hedge fund manager.
At the rate we are going, California
will soon consist solely of public employee unions, politicians, industries
that service ballot initiative campaigns, and Disneyland. And Mickey Mouse
has a second home in Florida.
2) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from October 9-15:
Years Later, UFT Charter School Proves a Point. The lesson isn't that
unions shouldn't run charter schools, but that they should have more respect
for those who do.
Broward Runoff Pits Santeramo VP vs. Whistleblower. Stakes high, turnout
The Chicago Strike in a Large Nutshell. 600,000 seats for 450,000
Property of the Union? Is insurance claims history subject to the Fifth
Term Limits for School Board Members? Local option makes for an
Quote of the Week.
"The end attempt is to shut out other teachers' groups and exclude them from
all-district events." - Charles Brooks of the independent Missouri State
Teachers Association. The Columbia Missouri NEA won an election for
exclusive representation of the school district's 1,311 teachers. About 700
were NEA members. NEA received about 56% of the vote. (October 12
Columbia Daily Tribune)