Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vote No on Prop. 32, It's Not What It Seems

Opinion: Vote No on Prop. 32, It's Not What It Seems
October 15, 2012
(Former CVESD teacher and member of the Board of Directors of the California Teachers Association)
Voice of San Diego

There are many kinds of schemes. Some kinds make it onto statewide election ballots and it’s up to voters to see through them and reject the damage they would cause. 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. San Diego County voters should ask themselves why leading campaign reform organizations like the League of Women Voters and California Common Cause have come out against this measure.

Nearly every major newspaper in California is against Prop. 32, which they condemn with words like “fraud” and “sham.” The Los Angeles Times urged a no vote, calling it a “deceptive measure” that will have only a “trivial impact on corporate spending” on politics in the state. One professor calls it a “bill of rights for billionaires.”

Disguised as reform, Prop. 32 does nothing to limit the out-of-state business super PACs that are undermining our democracy. Millionaires can give these secretive political action committees unlimited donations, and these kinds of PACs aren’t subject to the same contribution limits as political campaigns themselves. In fact, the Yes on 32 campaign received a $4 million donation from a mysterious out-of-state super PAC linked to the billionaire Koch Brothers.

Prop. 32 doesn’t solve Sacramento’s problems because it exempts many kinds of companies — such as Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds, oil and insurance companies — from its restrictions.

In fact, many of the same companies and other corporate interests that are backing this “Special Exemptions Act” are the same ones that are exempt. And many donors to this fraud own companies that are exempt. How convenient.

This is hardly the balanced reform that proponents claim. It stops corporations and unions from collecting political funds through payroll deductions, but 99 percent of California corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political lobbying – they use their profits. Unions rely solely on these contributions, and union members already have the legal right to opt out of having these funds used for politics.

If our teachers, firefighters, police and nurses can no longer fight for more school and public safety resources, or hospital patient protections, the middle class and our communities will pay the price. Vote no on 32.

No comments: