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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Government & Elections
California Special Election Proposition Analysis
The California Special Election slated for November 2005 is the most audacious, gargantuan display of corporate wealth deployed to win an "election" the state has ever seen; it is arguably the worst behemoth of greed and glut that any state has ever seen. The shameless spending by corporations that will benefit from the public’s approval of their ballot measures makes Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Jabba the Hut.
Californians, whose votes are supposed to legitimize Big Drug's takeover of the treasury of the state, and Big GOP's takeover of the treasury of the state, appear by now to recognize the con game being presented. It's a copy of the playbook in which outfits like Halliburton and MBNA supported Bush's candidacy, and in return got the keys to the US Treasury in lucrative Iraq contracts and a bankruptcy bill designed to tilt the law further toward MBNA and away from citizens. In California, the corporations contributing to the Governor's campaign have not appeared to recognize any limits on attempts to peddle influence. The definition of corruption involves a quid pro quo of money for political favors. Asking the voters to help you turn the state into a marketocracy is to whip off, like a stripper's G string, the last pretense of honesty.
Some of the companies that are spending big on this campaign are Albertson's, Blue Cross of California, Cingular Wireless, Citigroup, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Enterprise rent-A-Car, Long's Drug Stores, Outback Steakhouse, Safeway, Sears, Sun, Toyota, Verizon, Walgreens, and Williams Sonoma Corporation. And then there are the pharmaceutical companies that have collectively raised $79 million on this election; Merck, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline, for example, each wrote an $8.5 million check to fund Prop 78 and fight Prop 79.
Props. 73 through 78 are endorsed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his corporate right-wing allies. Vote NO! on Props. 73 – 78.
Prop. 73: Waiting period and parental notification before termination of a minor’s pregnancy.
Prop. 74: Would make new teachers wait five years before achieving permanent status, and would make firing permanent teachers easier.
Prop. 75: “Paycheck deception act.” Would require public workers unions to get written permission yearly from each member before their dues money could be used for political activities. Similar to Prop. 226, which applied to all unions and was decisively defeated in 1998.
Prop. 76: Gives the governor significant unilateral powers to cut the budget. Overturns voter-approved Prop. 98 to guarantee minimum funding for education. Would result in cuts to education, health, firefighters and police.
Prop. 77: Places responsibility for redistricting in the hands of a panel of retired judges, instead of the state Legislature.
Prop. 78: Prescription drug initiative written by big pharmaceutical companies. Drug companies could enter a voluntary prescription drug discount program. Fewer people would be served by Prop. 78 than by Prop. 79.
Props. 79 and 80 are backed by the labor-community Alliance for a Better California, which is leading the drive to defeat the governor’s anti-people propositions. These two propositions are opposed by Gov. Schwarzenegger and his supporters. Vote YES! On Props. 79 and 80.
Prop. 79: Initiated by the broad Health Access coalition, it would create a drug discount program requiring participation by drug manufacturers if they wish to sell drugs through the state’s Medi-Cal program. It provides significant discounts for seniors, families, small businesses and the state, and would serve more people than Prop. 78.
Prop. 80: Re-regulates electricity by making electric service providers subject to regulation by the California Public Utilities Commission, and requires all retail sellers of electric power to increase renewable energy by 2010.
Defeat Schwarzenegger’s ballot propositions!
The Nov. 8 California special election was conceived by the Schwarzenegger administration as an attack on public employee rights and political involvement, social services funding and the legislative redistricting process. The election itself is highly unpopular with voters, who view it as unnecessary, but it is going forward nonetheless.
At their core, the Schwarzenegger-supported propositions are profoundly antidemocratic. Prop. 75 would sharply curtail the ability of public-sector unions to contribute to political campaigns. Prop. 76 would give the governor even greater power to ignore the will of voters and the Legislature and unilaterally cut funding for state services. Prop. 77 would hand over legislative redistricting to unelected (and likely very conservative) retired judges. Prop. 74 would extend teachers’ probationary status to five years, and make it easier to fire even teachers with permanent status.
The virtual unanimity of progressive forces on each proposition, and the fact that Schwarzenegger has personally taken a position on all of them, has turned this election into a referendum on the Republican governor and, by implication, the right-wing Bush agenda itself. A victory for the progressive coalition will likely set the stage for the election of a new governor next year, will have a positive effect on congressional and legislative elections, and will send the signal around the country that the Republican control of Congress can be reversed. On the other hand, a defeat for labor and progressive forces will be touted as an endorsement of Schwarzenegger’s and Bush’s anti-labor, anti-people agenda.
Defeating Props. 73 through 78, and winning Props. 79 and 80, will deal a sharp blow to the ultra-right forces in our state and country.
The other side is counting on low voter turnout to carry the day. It is crucial to mobilize maximum participation in the campaign to defeat the governor’s antidemocratic measures. The forces for democracy and progress in our state must do everything possible to talk to neighbors and co-workers, to get the word out about each ballot measure, and to ensure a large voter turnout to guarantee victory!