The El Cerrito City Council Tuesday night will consider a proposed resolution to oppose Proposition 32, a measure on the November 6 ballot that pledges to eliminate or at least sharply reduce the influence of special interests in politics.
Critics of the measure call it a disguised attempt by corporate conservative interests to stop political contributions from unions while creating loopholes that would allow corporate donations to continue.
The measure's opponents include leaders of the California League of Woman Voters and Common Cause.
Supporters say it not only prohibits unions from using payroll deductions for political purposes but also bans unions and corporations alike from contributing to political campaigns.
Backers include the conservative non-profit, American Future Fund, which has contributed $4 million to the measure and which the Los Angeles Times said Friday is linked to the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.
A summary of the measure by the state Attorney General's office says it
- Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.
- Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors.
- Permits voluntary employee contributions to employer-sponsored committee or union if authorized yearly, in writing.
- Prohibits unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates and candidate-controlled committees. Other political expenditures remain unrestricted, including corporate expenditures from available resources not limited by payroll deduction prohibition.
- Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or officer-controlled committees.
The proposed City Council resolution says Prop 32 was placed on the ballot "by the ultra-conservative Lincoln Club of Orange County and is being bankrolled by billionaire corporate interests and retired CEOs."
The resolution says the measure is "deceptively written to appear balanced" but is "really an unbalanced, unfair attack on unions and workers under the guise of 'stopping special interests.'"
The council resolution says the measure "exempts billionaires and powerful corporate special interests from its provisions, while targeting the voices of everyday working people."
Adoption of the resolution was requested by Councilwoman Ann Cheng.
Tuesday night's council meeting at city hall begins at 7:30 p.m. instead of the regular 7 p.m. starting time.
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