ACROSS THE BACK FENCE
Talking to Your Neighbors and Friends about Props. 75 and 76
|Firefighters ... nurses ... teachers ... cops. These are the people at the heart of the fight in this Novembers special election. Your neighbors will be looking to you for help understanding the stakes for all Californians in this fight. And theyll have questions ...
Why are you guys so hard on Arnold?
A lot of firefighters who voted for Arnold in the recall because they thought they were getting someone who really wanted to make government work. But it turns out hes just another politician, playing the same political games and raising millions from the same special interests. Hes broken every promise he ever made to the people of California, and now hes coming after firefighters, nurses, teachers and police officers. Arnold has let us down.
Why are firefighters so upset about Proposition 75?
Prop. 75 silences the voices of firefighters, teachers, nurses and police by making it virtually impossible for us to exercise our political rights. The governor and his friends dont like it when the public hears both sides of the issues, so they want to shut one side up ... the side of working folks like us.
How does Proposition 75 do that?
By setting up impossible, government-imposed restrictions that affect us and no one else. The big corporations can still give millions. But my union will have to personally sign up every single member every year before we can even start raising a few bucks to fight for things like more fire stations, better health care or safer schools.
But as a union member, shouldnt you be able to choose how your dues money is spent?
We already have that right. The U. S. Supreme Court says that no public employee can be forced to have dues money used for politics. If I dont want my dues to go for political action, it doesnt go there. I dont even have to be a member of the union if l dont want to. This isnt about paycheck protection... its about paycheck deception.
But if these rights already exist, whats the real agenda?
Payback. Last year, the governor and his friends tried to cut school funding, roll back staffing of nurses in hospitals and even take death and disability benefits away from the widows and orphans of fallen firefighters. It was teachers, nurses, firefighters and cops who stood up and said NO. If they can steal our voice in November, Arnold can come back next year and impose the same anti-firefighter agenda, only there wont be anybody there to stand up to them.
No offense, but I think unions already have too much power in Sacramento. Wont this even things out?
This doesnt even out the playing field ... it destroys it. Large corporations already outspend unions by 24 to 1. This will make it 24-to-none. If the voice of working Californians is silenced, there wont be anybody to keep the government (and the governor) honest.
But arent you just trying to protect Democrats?
As a union, almost all of our money is spent on local non-partisan races. We dont care about political party. Were only interested in where our leaders stand on the issues that matter to our members ... your firefighters. This isnt about Democrats or Republicans. Its about making sure that the voices of working families are heard.
Why should it matter to me?
Were not just fighting for ourselves in these battles ... were fighting for our citizens. Our union dues help us fight to keep your neighborhood fire station open, to insure theres an ambulance there when you need it, to protect our schools. If working people are silenced, who will stand up to the bureaucrats and politicians when they come looking to close your fire station, or pull cops off the street, or increase class sizes in your school?
What about Proposition 76? Surely, youre not against a balanced budget?
Proposition 76 is not about balancing the budget. Its about giving one person - the governor - absolute power to cut billions from our schools, slash support for local fire and police protection and impose a special interest agenda without any accountability to the Legislature or the people of California.
Arnold says he wants to shake up the status quo. Why shouldnt he be able to do things the way he wants?
Our system is built on checks and balances. No one person should have total control. But if Prop. 76 passes, any governor will be able to impose his or her own personal agenda without any say so by you and I. You may like Arnolds agenda, but whats to stop the next governor from imposing an agenda that you hate?
All I really care about is low taxes. If this passes, will my taxes go up or down?
Even hardened anti-tax voices are saying that Prop. 76 will probably mean higher local taxes. Just do the math. If the governor takes money away from local public safety services, somebodys going to have to pick up the tab. That somebody will be local taxpayers ... you and I.
How does this hurt the schools?
Proposition 76 immediately steals $4 billion that Arnold promised would go into the classroom. It eliminates the minimum school-funding guarantee that was passed by a vote of the people in 1988. And it makes it possible for any governor to take money from schools and put it into their own special interest priorities
So Im convinced ... its important. But I didnt even know there was an election. When is it, and what can I do?
The election is November 8th, and the best way you can help is by getting registered and voting. A lot of firefighters are voting absentee so they can be sure their vote counts. Ask your family members who are eligible to register and vote, too. We are asking you to vote NO on Propositions 75 and 76.