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Wandering around Politifest last month, I ran into Jim Groth, a board member for the California Teachers Association.

Groth and I talked briefly about the local school board race, and he admitted the CTA hasn’t been particularly involved this year. He said the union is instead focusing all of its energy — and its money — fighting Proposition 32.

The measure would ban unions from using automatically withdrawn member contributions for political purposes. Unions would be required to get written permission from their members before spending dues on political campaigns.

“Defeating this has got to be the top goal of labor. If they don’t, they could become almost extinct in California politics.” University of California political science professor Thad Kousser told the San Jose Mercury News

Labor groups, including the CTA, have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to block the measure, which they see as an affront on their rights as political pressure groups. Prop. 32 mirrors other high-profile efforts to curb labor’s influence elsewhere in the country, including the massive battle over collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin last year.

We asked the groups supporting and opposing Prop. 32 to weigh in and make their case.

From the Yes on Prop. 32 camp, we have a submission from T.J. Zane, president and CEO of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County. Here’s a snippet:

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.

And I approached Groth from the No on Prop. 32 camp. Here’s a snippet from his piece:

Proposition 32 on November’s ballot claims to be about campaign finance reform, but it’s really a gross deception financed by wealthy corporate special interests. The rich and powerful donors behind this scheme want to weaken the political voices of working people and the middle class so they can write their own rules.

Check out both of the submissions and let us know what you think in the comments sections.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5670.

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Will Carless

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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