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As president of the only countywide business political action committee, I’m often asked why The Lincoln Club of San Diego County is such a strong supporter of Proposition 32 — the Stop Special Interest Money Initiative on the November ballot.
In short, Prop. 32 would help block the flow of money that government employee unions, corporations and special interest lobbyists use to control politicians. That means the people we elect would be more accountable to — wait for it — voters.
If you’re not convinced, consider that the California Teachers Association recently used its influence over state lawmakers to shamefully block legislation that would have made it easier for school districts to fire teachers in cases of sexually molesting children in their care.
“It comes down to cash — campaign contributions from special interest groups,” CNN reported in August.
Also worth considering: the chemical industry’s successful attempt to block proposed bans on cancer-causing chemicals in flame retardants used in nursing pillows, car seats and even cribs in part by giving 132 state senators and Assembly members $593,000.
Prop. 32 is a game-changer, which is why powerful union bosses are spending tens of millions of dollars to oppose it.
As of Oct. 9, the “no” side had raised more than $51 million, including about $20 million from the state’s teachers union, compared with roughly $9 million from the “yes” side.
Opponents of Prop. 32 are desperately trying to convince voters it silences union members. Nonsense. Union and non-union government employees would still be able to contribute to the political causes they support through direct deposit and automatic credit card payments. The difference under Prop 32, however, is that they would have to choose to do so annually, without having to go through the onerous process of “opting out” of contributing to the union’s PAC — a process that often leads to the union members being harassed for not being team players.
A retired school teacher wrote to U-T San Diego this week to say: “I for one, as a retired teacher, always resented the fact that my dues money was supporting a candidate I was definitely opposed to.”
While unions have made an industry out of collecting political funds from automatic payroll deductions from government employees, Prop. 32 ensures that every political contribution — whether from a teacher or corporate executive — is made voluntarily.
This is especially important to political action committees like The Lincoln Club, which has led several campaigns during the past few years to reform local government spending, encourage business growth and protect taxpayers.
The club does not have the luxury of relying on payroll withholding for contributions from its members. We raise the money we use to promote endorsed candidates and ballot measures the old-fashioned way: We ask for it.
T.J. Zane is president & CEO of The Lincoln Club of San Diego County. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a look at the No on Prop. 32 argument, click here.