Carol Platt Liebau: Special Election in CA

Monday, June 13, 2005

Special Election in CA

Well, he did it. Governor Schwarzenegger has called for a special election, with ballot measures on capping state spending, increasing the time required for teachers to gain tenure, and handing legislative redistricting to a panel of elected judges, rather than the legislature.

Another key measure that will be voted on is "paycheck protection" -- which would allow state employees' unions to use their members' money for political purposes only if authorized to do so by their union members on an annual basis. All the unions will be kicking in to fight this one -- because if the union bosses lose the power to fund their political friends by collecting money even from unwilling members, they lose a big chunk of their political clout.

No supporter of Governor Schwarzenegger can be under the illusion that this will be an easy fight. The teachers' unions have already imposed a special assessment on their members (willing and not) that will raise a whopping $50 million to oppose the measures. No doubt the government employees' unions -- and others -- will do the same.

The importance of this election can hardly be overestimated. Either California is going to pull itself together and stop being manhandled by left-wing special interests (like the unions) or it is going to continue slowly down in a fiscal death spiral.


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