Proposition Aimed at Unions Exemplifies Why California Needs Initiative Reform | KCET
Proposition Aimed at Unions Exemplifies Why California Needs Initiative Reform
Do you ever wonder why there are so many ballot initiatives designed to decrease the political clout of unions? Well, simply put, because they have a lot of it.
In our country, thanks to decades of United States Supreme Court rulings, political money is seen as the equivalent to political speech, and therefore money really is power. Unions have a lot of this particular type of power, which is why their opponents have consistently waged efforts to make it more difficult for them to spend money in political campaigns.
The 2012 election in California is yet another example of this dynamic. One particular initiative, Proposition 32, would have made it harder for unions to raise funds from members to be used for political purposes. Regardless of your view of the merits of this failed proposal, there is no doubt it would have significantly lessened the power of unions in the Golden State.
Labor unions were wise to the potential effects of Prop 32 and spent some $65 million to defeat that proposition. Even at that sum, labor unions were outspent by proponents of Proposition 32. As many opponents of labor unions know, even when a ballot initiative is unsuccessful they can rejoice in forcing unions to spend tens of millions on pricey electoral campaigns. But, of course, the opponents have also spent vast sums.
As is typical in California the California Teachers Association was the highest spending union. That union alone spent $36 million in the 2012 elections. The majority of those funds were spent to defeat Proposition 32.
Optimists and pessimists alike may wonder whether the tens of millions would be better spent on other causes, such as education, health and medical care, or infrastructure. Unfortunately because what proponents of ballot measures need to qualify for the ballot is money, it looks like these pricey campaigns, even the unsuccessful ones, are here to stay. For this and other reasons it is vital that we have a serious discussion about reforming the initiative process.
If watching birds just isn’t enough for you — and you’d rather join their ranks up there in the sky — here are five of the most exciting ways to get airborne and pretend for a while that you may actually have wings.
We may not have elected a woman president in 2016, but more and more women are gracing the podium and the stage in classical opera. Here are a few stellar examples and what obstacles they faced to get where they are.