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Sifting Through the Proposition Propaganda
Tune out the special interests…

[J. F. Kelly, Jr.] 10/19/05

If you are like me, you hate the arrival of the political campaign season, especially those TV ads with all the hype, misinformation, corny dramatizations and just plain deception, endlessly repeated. After awhile, you want to vote against the positions they espouse, regardless of any possible merits. For the worst TV political ads this season, I nominate those in opposition to California Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77, all supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and opposed generally by supporters of big government, and continued spending beyond our means; in other words, business as usual in Sacramento.

Perhaps the worst of the worst stars a soft-voiced, sad-eyed, photogenic teacher identified as Lisa Dickason, gently scolding the governor for blaming her for California’s financial woes, turning the people against her and asking pleadingly, “if Proposition 75 passes, who will speak for the teachers and the students?” Prop. 75 would ban public employee unions from using employee dues for political purposes, like this campaign, without the employee’s written consent.

J.F. Kelly, Jr.

J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]

Well, Lisa, if you want your union to be your political voice, just sign the consent. Of course, the union doesn’t want you to have that right because you may not always agree with what they are saying or doing. They would rather not have you speak with your own voice, except, of course, on TV, spouting the union line. As for who will speak for the students, please don’t insult the intelligence of voters by even suggesting that the unions speak for our students. The students don’t pay dues.

It is, to many, unseemly and unsettling to see policemen, firefighters and teachers, people entrusted with our safety and the future of our children utilized as political props by their unions. It may be somewhat naïve, but many people like to feel that these worthy people, upon whom we are so dependent, are above politics and union lobbying efforts. I believe that most citizens revere these professionals and want them to be fairly compensated and treated with the respect they deserve. People may not, however, feel that well disposed toward their unions who many believe are too opposed to reform and higher standards, especially in the area of education. People may also feel intimidated when their political views happen to be at odds with those of their kids’ teacher, especially when they are publicly proclaimed on TV, surrounded by children who are presumably students.

In a recent editorial, The Wall Street Journal commented on Gov. Scwarzenegger’s announcement that he would seek a second term and that he supported Prop. 75. The latter was even more important than his intent to seek a second term, the editorial said. The governor is staking his political future on the outcome of these propositions in the Nov. 8 special election. Indeed, the future of the state is at stake and because California and its fiscal problems are so large, the rest of the nation is watching closely. The governor is trying to break the grip of special interests upon state politicians who derive much of their support from them.

Prop. 74 would lengthen the time required before teachers could be granted tenure, making it more difficult for substandard teachers to achieve permanent status. Prop. 75 has already been discussed in the preceding paragraphs. Prop. 76 limits state spending and changes minimum school funding requirements. Prop. 77 would take the power to redraw state senate, assembly and congressional districts from politicians who have used this power to facilitate their re-election and give it to a panel of retired judges who would make proposals for voter approval.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to replace Gray Davis by voters who were fed up with the fiscal irresponsibility shown by their state leaders. He said that if his attempts to restore fiscal responsibility were thwarted by Sacramento’s entrenched career politicians and the special interest groups that supported them, he would take his initiatives straight to the people under California’s unique referendum process.

He has done so and it is time now for the voters to judge. Every voter should read the propositions, tune out the misleading TV ads and vote with the future of their state in minds, not that of the special interests. tOR

copyright 2005 J. F. Kelly, Jr.



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