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Teachers' Union Takes Aim at Prop. 32, School Board Race

A letter to union members emphasizes the importance of defeating certain Capo Unified candidates and a statewide initiative.

Two years ago, hundreds of thousands of dollars flooded into the Capistrano Unified school board race to elect some candidates and remove others. Will there be a repeat in 2012?

Possibly not.

One of the effects of passing – which has candidates run in smaller trustee areas instead of at-large throughout the sprawling district – was to decrease the amount needed to launch a campaign, according to proponents at the time. 

Also, according to a letter sent this month to members of the teachers’ union, the Capistrano Unified Education Association will divide its attention between defeating Prop. 32, which would ban unions and corporations from donating directly to candidates, and a slate of candidates in the four trustee areas.

The letter also hints that losing in both these areas could lead to another teachers strike.

“In the 35 years I have taught in CUSD, I never would have thought that we would be forced to a strike and I never, ever, want that to happen again. But we have to work to ensure that it doesn’t,” wrote Vicki Soderberg, union president. [Emphasis in original.]

The union didn't respond to messages from Patch asking for more information on Soderberg's strike talk.

As for the school board race, the letter didn't identify any union-backed candidates. But it did take aim at candidates who may be backed by StudentsFirst, a national group seeking to reform education, and Hold CUSD Accountable

(The candidates' first financial statements aren’t due to the county until Oct. 5.)

Among the candidates targeted for defeat by the union: Steve Lang for Trustee Area No. 3 (San Clemente), Jim Reardon for Trustee Area No. 2 (parts of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Coto de Caza), Karin Schnell for Trustee Area No. 1 (parts of San Juan Capistrano, Capo Beach and Dana Point) and Bill Perkins for Trustee Area No. 5 (Aliso Viejo).

However, CUEA’s website places a stronger emphasis on defeating Prop. 32 than any particular candidates.

Last election, the union and its ally, Capistrano Unified Children First, helped recall two trustees, Mike Winsten and Ken Lopez-Maddox, and elect another, Lynn Hatton.

“It was our collective political power that kicked out the anti-public education advocates two years ago,” Soderberg wrote in her August letter, “and it will be our collective political power which maintains pro-public education advocates this year.”

randy August 29, 2012 at 06:17 AM
SK, the upcoming election will be interesting. Politics for CUSD students. A lesson to be learned in November.
concerned parent September 04, 2012 at 04:59 PM
If anyone is in doubt about what Proposition 32 is all about, read this WSJ interview with Gloria Romero, former Senate Majority Leader in California and a pro-labor Democrat. She's actively working to get the proposition passed because of her disgust with how the California Teachers Association works in Sacramento. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444443504577601664135014368.html
Capo Parent September 04, 2012 at 11:59 PM
CTA is the largest and most powerful special interest group in CA. As can be seen, it brooks no challenge to its power and influence, and its ability to increase jobs, salaries and benefits for its members. CTA takes any challenge serious. It put up $250,000 to recall Maddox & Winsten in order to control and the board and to change how board members are elected. CTA fears Prop 32 because if it passes it will essentially neuter CTA.
Jane Lea September 06, 2012 at 09:15 PM
1) If you go to the Secretary of State's page the definition of Corporation is clear. It does not cover LLC, Partnerships, Insurance Co., Super PACs, individual billionaires, and multi-millionaire CEOs to name a few. Corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political purpose. That’s like saying, “we’re going to crack down on counterfeiting by collecting all the 3 dollar bills printed.” Sounds good however, counterfeiters don’t print 3 dollar bills. 2) It doesn’t stop any corporation from using unlimited profits to contribute to state or local campaigns. And the Supreme Court already confirmed that Corporations have the same rights as individuals and therefore, can contribute unlimited funds to any campaign. Corporations already outspend unions 15-1. 3) Labor rights aren’t etched in stone. They were won through politics and collective bargaining. So if you’re the 99% that have to work for a living say, “good bye” to, vacation leave, health insurance, 8 hour work day, minimum wage, work place health and safety laws, overtime pay, unemployment, child labor laws, meal breaks, nurse patient ratios just to name a few.
Capo Parent September 07, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Jane Lea Unions were created to counter the exploitation of workers by ruthless, uncaring employers, and they have brought about many valuable reforms in the workplace. However, like any entity, when it becomes too big, too powerful and too consumed with keeping its power and influence, bad things happen. In CA, CTA has used its size, influence and money to basically control education in CA. On need only read the recent articles on CTA to see that this is true. When you have legislators, who are addressing education issues & bills, ask what is CTA's position, you have an inkling of its size, power and influence. You may think that is a good thing, I don't. CTA is not looking out for the educational welfare of my kids and the rest of the kids in CA. It's a union, and its sole job and mission is to get the best deals, in all respects, for its members. We've seen firsthand in CUSD how that works, and it's not pretty.

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