"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

June 14, 2005

California Special Election Reactions

From The Capitol Morning Report for 6/14/05: Reaction to Groperzenegger's call for a Special Election:

From Art Pulaski, CA Labor Federation, AFL-CIO –
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to call his taxpayer-funded special election is bad for politics and bad for California. Schwarzenegger ran for office as a non-partisan, non-political reformer. In two years he has devolved into a Bush-lite conservative politician who breaks his promises and sells out working people to satisfy his special interest corporate donors. Contact: Chloe Osmer 510 663 4051.

From Exec. Dir. Rose Ann DeMoro, CA Nurses Assn., –
... Rather than improve health care access or quality, this governor is promoting a plan that will almost certainly produce severe reductions in vital health programs, while seeing to silence the voice of caregivers to protect the safety of patients and all Californians. Contact: Charles Idelson 510 273 2246.

From Pres. Mary Bergan, CA Federation of Teachers – ...
The supposed goal of his "Live Within Our Means" initiative is to fix the state's budget gap, which everyone agrees it won't do... His proposal to extend probation for teachers from the current two years to five certainly isn't worthy of the term "education reform."... Although so far he hasn't directly claimed the "paycheck deception" initiative as his own, his political money is mixed in with it... The $80 million it will take to run this attack on teachers, students and schools would be far better invested in our classrooms, public health clinics and fire stations. Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916 457 5546.

From Pres. Bob Baker, Los Angeles Police Protective League – The Governor's initiative, misleadingly titled, "Live Within Our Means Act," is an initiative that seeks to tie the funding of local governments to the fiscal health of the state. However, as virtually every county and city analyst who has looked at the measure agrees, it will end up decimating local communities. The plan is as poorly thought out as his pension initiative ... Contact: Eric Rose 310 854 8236.

From Sen. Jackie Speier – Wasteful is the only word for a November special election--no initiative is so urgent that it can't wait until next June's normally scheduled election. What could $80 million, spent wisely, provide the taxpaying public? Those wasted millions could have been a valuable investment in the starting salary of 2,000 teachers, two new elementary schools or one new high school, or 1.4 million textbooks. Contact: Tracy Fairchild 916 651 4008.

From the Education Coalition – The Education Coalition finds it reprehensible that the governor wants to waste $80 million of our money on a special election but refuses to offer up another penny for our schools. In the short-term, the special election does nothing to help public schools and students. In the long-term, the centerpiece of this special election is an initiative that would exacerbate an already inadequate funding problem by eviscerating Prop 98, eliminating the minimum funding protections for our schools at a time when they cannot afford to cut anymore. Contact: Roger Salazar 916 444 8897.

From Pres. Barbara Kerr, CA Teachers Assn. – The governor is wasting taxpayer money to hold an election that nobody wants and to push an agenda that will hurt our public schools, kids and local communities. And the plan announced by his advisors to use the election to create a “phenomenon of anger” against teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employees breaks his promise to unite our state for the public good. Contact: Mike Myslinski 650 552 5324.

From Doug Heller, ArnoldWatch.org – Taxpayers will pick up the $80 million tab for the extra election ... But the real sponsors of Arnold's election are the corporate heavy hitters who have plunked down millions to produce Arnold's come-back show. Here's some of how they'll appear in the next six months. From now on all campaign rallies will begin with a "Go Team Arnold" cheer from the San Diego Charger cheerleaders -- brought to you by team owner Alex Spanos, the Big A's top donor with $2,114,700 delivered. Silver chocolate coins will be handed out to children along the campaign route courtesy of American Sterling Corporation ($686,200) ... To see the Top 100 sponsors of Team Arnold, visit: http://arnoldwatch.org/special_interests/index.html. Contact: 310 392 0522.

From Harvey Rosenfield of the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights – Wasting $80 million of taxpayer money to hold his own personal election is just the latest in this governor’s abusive exploitation of the initiative process. As has been documented in the news media and in legal proceedings, Governor Schwarzenegger’s initiatives are serving as a Trojan Horse for the Governor to surreptitiously promote his image through special interest fundraising that violates the letter and spirit of state campaign laws. He has raised $40 million so far, from industries and special interests, in amounts that far exceed the $22,300 per donor limits imposed by state campaign laws ... And by holding the vote this year, Mr. Schwarzenegger evades a state law that forbids a candidate for public office from appearing in commercials on behalf of ballot campaigns within forty-five days of an election in which he is on the ballot. Contact: Rosenfield 310 392 0522 X303.

From Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante – The governor wants us to believe that wasting $80 million on a special election is better than putting money into classrooms. Here are some examples of what $80 million would buy for school children and college students who are being shortchanged by the Governor. $80 million would pay for almost four million up-to-date textbooks for our students. $80 million would pay salaries for more than 2300 teachers. $80 million would reduce class sizes in nearly 6000 classrooms. $80 million would pay for 1200 new school buses. $80 million would pay college expenses for nearly 12,000 college students. Contact: Stephen Green 916 612 5934.

From Asm. Alberto Torrico – The only things special about this election are the amount of money it will waste and the fat-cat special interests it will benefit ... This is a governor who called for banning political fundraising during the legislative budget session, then spent much of the last month traveling to other states to raise money for this unnecessary and ill-conceived special election. The same governor who less than two years ago said Prop. 98 could only be weakened ‘over my dead body’ is now proposing to weaken the school-funding guarantee. Contact: Sam Delson 916 319 2723.

From Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell – It is a sad irony that we live in a state that is the fifth largest economy in the world, but funding for our schools ranks ighth from the bottom of all 50 states. Wasting money on a special election does nothing to improve this sorry statistic. Contact: Hilary McLean 916 319 0818.

From former Sen. Art Torres, Chairman of the CA Democratic Party – The governor is sticking it to the California taxpayers he swore to protect. $80 million for a special election so that the voters will do his job, because he won’t. It would be better to use the $80 million for needed services and for Arnold to get back to work to solve California’s problems before the taxpayers fire him!. Contact: Joe Molica 415 749 2795.

From Asm. Noreen Evans – With this special election, the Governor has made history. This is the first time any California Governor has called a special election for his own initiatives. It is also a declaration of war against legislators, against Democrats, and against the interests of Californians. Contact: Sean MacNeil 916 319 2007.

From Asm. Mark Ridley-Thomas – The Governor appears to be engaged in a dangerous game of brinksmanship. Use of the bully pulpit is one thing. The practice of bully politics is another. Taxpayers deserve better. Contact: Jeff Logan 213 745 6656.

From Controller Steve Westly – The $45-$80 million price tag is only the beginning of the problem. What we really can’t afford is a budget gimmick like the Live Within Our Means Act that puts education and public safety at the mercy of partisanship ... The Governor was elected to turn down the partisan rhetoric. Instead, he’s turning it up. Contact: Jude Barry 650 843 0140 X315.

From Pres. Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation – The cost to hold a special election will pale in comparison to what Pharma is overcharging Californians in prescription drug costs. We look forward to the thoughtful public debate that these two drug pricing initiatives will bring. The estimated $80 million dollar cost of this election is a tiny fraction of the billions that Californians are overpaying for prescription drugs. Contact: Ged Kenslea 323 791 5526

From Asm. Tom Umberg – I agree with the Governor that it is “from the people that Democracy gets its strength.” He knows that turnout in November will be lower than if he waited until the June primary. If the Governor truly believes that his initiatives represent the will of the people, he shouldn’t be afraid to hear from as many Californians as possible. That will occur in June of 2006, not in November of 2005. Contact: Larry Sokol 916 319 2069.

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