Sunday, September 14, 2008

Public employee union money drives politics

towards bigger government and higher taxes.

Prison Guard Union spending millions to recall Arnold
But this past week, with no contract in sight, Jimenez and his union upped the ante considerably by threatening to recall California's governor for the second time in five years.

It's too early to determine if the recall drive launched this week will succeed — many experts call the effort a media spectacle that will fizzle, while others dare not rule anything out because of the organization's tremendous campaign account.

But one thing is clear: The association's move has pushed special interest politics to an unprecedented level in Sacramento, part of a continuing saga that shows the tight grip that a handful of labor unions and business groups hold on state government.

"Special interests have either ruled the roost or will continue to try that in the future," said Jaime Regalado, executive director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University-Los Angeles. "It's just all about what politics — not only in California but politics in state capitols across the country — has been all about, and that is, money and power."
Labor Unions fight Mass Income tax removal
The Coalition for Our Communities has hired two powerful firms as consultants, paying $18,000 to Carpman Communications and $19,500 to the Dewey Square Group. But the group has also raised $1.5 million, with two-thirds coming from national teacher unions. The Boston Teachers Union donated $150,000 and the national Service Employees International Union gave $60,000. Unions would probably have the most to lose if the income tax was repealed, since it would trigger layoffs across state government.
LA Labor unions spend millions on LA County campaign
The effort to change that comes amid a scandal that has forced out the leaders of two of the union locals that have been most active in the campaign, both affiliates of the giant Service Employees International Union. In both cases, the local presidents stepped aside after reports in The Times about possible misuse of union funds.

Labor officials say that the problems in the SEIU will not change their plans for continued spending on Ridley-Thomas' behalf using an independent expenditure committee. Such committees can sidestep contribution limits as long as they do not coordinate activities with the candidate.