PATRICK WADE: Prop. 32 prevents unions from buying votes in Legislature
November 1st, 2012 - 11:19am
Filed under Economy
Proposition 32, the Stop Special Interests Initiative, has garnered much attention from both corporations and unions. This initiative will prohibit unions and corporations from contributing to local and state candidates directly, much like what is already in place at the federal level. This proposition will also prohibit companies who contract with local governments from contributing to candidate campaigns. Lastly, Prop. 32 will ban the political use of money deducted from paychecks by unions or corporations.
This initiative will prohibit companies who contract with local governments from contributing to candidate campaigns. This seems like a fair deal. If unions cannot buy votes from those who negotiate their contracts, then companies who do business with the county should not be able to buy votes either. This is a fair compromise for the unions, so that they are not the only ones being affected by this proposition.
Prop. 32 will prohibit unions and corporations from contributing to local and state candidates directly. This is something that has already been in place for years at the federal level. Federal candidates are prohibited from taking "dirty money," or money that comes from corporations as well as unions. Unbelievably, state and local candidates are currently allowed to accept dirty money for their campaigns.
By accepting dirty money, the campaign process in California has inevitably become just as dirty. Too much money is given to candidates by various types of special interests, silencing the voice of the common voter. This initiative is a step toward better government, only allowing campaign contributions to be "clean," or from individuals.
We need more of these types of good government initiatives in order to take back California, which has been poisoned by special interests. Prop. 32 will level the playing field for those citizens who currently feel disenfranchised by California's corrupt system. Under collective bargaining, unions must negotiate their contracts with the elected officials. Therefore, you have elected officials on one side of the bargaining table, and unions on the other. But, these negotiations are skewed when the unions have paid for the political campaigns of the elected officials. As it stands now, the balance of power is weighted significantly to benefit these special interests. This is simply not fair to the general public. Elected officials are to represent the taxpayer, their constituents, and not just the unions who paid for them to be in office.
Finally, Prop. 32 will ban the political use of money deducted from paychecks by unions or corporations. This is fair for the employee as it gives individuals more control of where their money goes. There are countless employees that are members of a union (many of whom do not have the option to not be in a union) who vote for one candidate, while their union has monetarily supported the opposing candidate. The unions are using that employee's union dues, which come directly out of his paycheck, to contribute to a candidate whom the employee does not support. Why is that employee's money going to one candidate while his vote is going to another?
Thus far, more than $50 million has been poured into either supporting or defeating this campaign. Union members, in their letters to the editor, have stated on multiple occasions that corporations have poured ungodly amounts of money into this campaign. But what they fail to mention is that almost $40 million of the $50 million total comes from unions who oppose Prop. 32. Unions have also convinced their members that Prop. 32 will strip away collective bargaining rights. This is an outright lie. This measure will not take away collective bargaining rights, which are guaranteed by the Constitution. This will, however, prohibit unions from buying the votes that sit on the other side of that table, as they have done for decades.
Prop. 32 is a major step in the effort to curb special interests in the state of California. Look at the facts: This proposition will bring transparency and limit special interests that have garnered too much power. We, as voters, need to learn the facts and not be swayed by pressure groups. Prop. 32 is common-sense legislation that will level the playing field and bring about change to fix California's broken political system.
Patrick Wade is a local entrepreneur, fifth-generation Bakersfield resident and co-founder of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government.