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The volume of feedback to my first posting suggests there is some interest in the issue I raised — the potential conflict that exists between a public-sector worker’s right organize and collectively bargain and the public’s right to elected representation that defends their interests. I’ll do my best to respond to these comments.

To Grant Telfer: I was 23-years old in 1972, and probably didn’t consider the impact on my constituents of not attending a mostly ceremonial luncheon opening the League of California Cities conference. My recollection is that I attended the subsequent working sessions, which were not held in the hotel being picketed. With regard to my travel expenses, I’m not sure they keep records that long, but you may want to consider a public records request directed to the Del Mar City Clerk.

To Erik: I agree with your observation that the rise of politically-active public employee unions mirrors the rise of patronage systems in the 19th century. Patronage grew out of the Jacksonian ideal of “democratizing” government service, but the eventual impact of this system on democratic institutions led to its demise.

To Pete Wilson: I’m guessing you’re not THE Pete Wilson, but you’re correct that I do work for political candidates who are Republicans (and a few Democrats). But the truth is, both Republican and Democrat officeholders have been complicit in subordinating the public interest to the interests of public employee unions.

To Ernie Barrera: I stipulate that I’m a political consultant who oftentimes works for local candidates who are Republicans. If a reader feels that disqualifies me to have an opinion on this issue, so be it.

To Austin Lynch: You misrepresent my position. I’m not arguing that public sector workers shouldn’t be fairly compensated. I’m simply questioning whether the aggregation of power that results when advocates for public employee unions sit on both sides of the public sector bargaining table undermines the institution of representative government.

To Billy Bob Henry: I obviously agree with your views, but would add that there may be circumstances — such as in the case of police officers — where competitive pressures justify premium compensation. But this is a market-driven consideration that should be evaluated on that basis alone, not on whether or not the POA supported an official’s re-election campaign.

To Pat Flannery: I’m not aware of any such initiatives, but I do enjoy reading your blog.

If you didn’t see the reader comments, you can click here and check them out.

TOM SHEPARD

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