by Mary Jo Rossi, Media Consultant to Rains Lucia Stern, PC
The “Stop Special Interest Money Now” Act slated for the California November ballot is a sneaky little initiative. Put on the ballot by the conservative right, it appeals to voters’ disdain for big corporations, big union influence and special interest money. But in reality it does little to stop special interests. Typical of California initiatives, its main purpose is to significantly curb the political efforts of public employee unions, including POAs and public safety associations.
Accurately dubbed the “Paycheck Deception Initiative” by unions and associations throughout the state, this initiative, if passed, will ban automatic dues deduction from your members for political contributions and activities. It will also restrict direct contributions to candidates from your membership PAC. The initiative applies the same restrictions to big corporations, but get this: Companies use corporate profits to conduct political activity and make candidate contributions – not payroll deductions from employees.
This initiative is funded by big corporations and oil companies – millionaires and billionaires – whose goal is to squash the influence of public employee unions in California. And California’s Tea Party activists have signed on to big business’s cause. These are the same individuals who have been influencing city managers, county administrators and elected officials to cut your pay and benefits at contract time.
We can’t let these greedy monied corporate interests squash the influence of police officers, deputy sheriffs and other public safety personnel!
There are a couple of things you can do:
• Place this initiative on the agenda for discussion at your next association board or membership meeting. Define what steps you and your organization will take to fight this deceptive initiative.
• When you are asked to write a check to fight the initiative (all unions are contributing), don’t balk. Write the check. If you think you are short on friends on your elected city council or board of supervisors now – wait and see what happens if this initiative passes. Things could get ugly.
• Talk to your family members and friends about this initiative. It’s a sneaky little initiative that sounds appealing to the average voter. It is just a con job by big business and the conservatives to take away your influence.