The modern Democratic Party has turned the word “choice” into a code-word for “legalized abortion.” But let’s get back to the real meaning of the word: letting people choose. As in, “I choose not to let my union automatically deduct money from my paycheck and use it to fund candidates and causes I oppose.” It’s really in line with that phrase from the Declaration of Independence, “…the pursuit of happiness.”
The biggest “choice” issue facing Californians is Prop. 32. One of the things this initiative would do, if it passed, would require that unions like Leos’s biggest supporter, the Orange County Employees Association, would have to ask a member’s permission before using his or her money for political purposes. It would be an “opt-in” stem, rather than the current, onerous “opt-out” system.
Who could be against that? Well, John Leos and the OCEA, for starters. Here’s John Leos at a recent event, wearing a “No on 32” lapel pin and surrounded by “No on 32” campaign signs:
Judging by the presence of the “No on 32” campaign signs, its safe to assume this was not a Republican or conservative event.
For OCEA, passage of Prop. 32 means the river of members’ dues that flow into the union’s campaign coffers (it really is something to see in OCEA’s campaign reports) would decline dramatically, based on the experience in Wisconsin. So OCEA’s opposition to Prop. 32, while reprehensible, is understandable as an act of self-preservation. Visit the OCEA’s website and you’ll see how the union feels about Prop. 32: literally every inch of the union website is dedicated to “No on 32.”
But why does John Leos believe unions should not have to ask members’ permission before deducting money from their paychecks for political purposes? It has bearing — and not just in terms of philosophical commitment to individual freedom. Leos has staked much of his campaign on his opposition to what he calls the $158 million “giveaway” of tax dollars to subsidize an Anaheim hotel development.
In fact, Leos is so upset about this that he wants any future such use of transient occupancy tax revenues for hotel development put to a vote of the people – to let the voters have the choice.
So why shouldn’t OCEA members have a choice in how their dues money is used politically? Why shouldn’t the union of which Leos was a director for several years, and is still a shop steward, ask members before donating their dues for campaigns? After all, OCEA exists entirely on tax revenues — its members all work for the government, and their paychecks are funded with money taken forcibly from taxpayers?
I’ll put it another way. A few weeks ago, I posted on my Facebook page the OCEA had put $50,000 into a new pro-Leos campaign committee it had set up. A friend of mine who works in the same county department as Leos commented, “I love John but how can they do that with our money?”
Good question. I answered her, but I’m not the one who should be responding.
John Leos opposes a simple, pro-freedom initiative like Prop. 32. That is another statement about his political philosophy. “Transparency” aka anti-outsourcing ordinance. A new $1 ticket tax. Ballot-box budgeting in the best Progressive tradition. Anyone seeing a pattern, here?
Someone remind what exactly are the terribly important reforms that necessitate his election to the Anaheim City Council.