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Gov. Wilson's Campaign for Prop. 226

April 12, 1998

"Wilson, Unions in Grudge Match" (April 6) seems to suggest that the only merit to be found in Prop. 226 is as a vehicle for Gov. Pete Wilson to somehow throttle the labor movement. I am a member of two labor unions. During 30 years of membership, I have watched hundreds of millions of dollars of union dues pour into politics.

Both of my unions sent out letters recently prepared and mailed with union dues. Both passionately urged members to vote "no" on Prop. 226. Wading through the standard litany of dire consequences threatened by the initiative, I stumbled upon a disclaimer, almost too comical to read: "We do not give money, as a policy, to political candidates or campaigns."

For years we've heard the boasts of union bosses proclaiming their ability to deliver the "labor" vote. Well, my vote is a precious birthright. It has already been paid for in full, with the deeds, sacrifices and lives of generations of Americans who came before me. And like my vote, my freedom of political expression is not some form of chattel, to be bought or sold to any candidate or cause.

Here is one union member voting yes on Prop. 226.

ROBERT A. BOWEN

Woodland Hills

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There can be no hyperbole too extreme describing the disingenuous hypocrisy of Wilson in his Prop. 226 frontal assault on the 1st Amendment rights of free speech, free association and the right of working people to participate effectively in the political process by means of their collective voices as expressed by union repre- sentation.

When Wilson quotes Jefferson, he misappropriates and subverts the democratic spirit of Jefferson. A more forthright Wilson also might have observed how corporate PACs spend untold sums of shareholders' money to craft bought-and-paid pols like himself and his cronies, who are expected to thwart the desires of California's working men and women.

If union members are to be disenfranchised from meaningful participation in the political process by requiring their unions to obtain yearly permission before using dues for political campaigns, then an honest Prop. 226 would require corporate bosses to obtain shareholders' permission each year before using shareholders' assets for political campaigns and influence-peddling. Prop. 226 is an anti-democratic attack by the corporate sector on working men and women and their democratic institutions.

PAUL L. DU NARD JR.

Buena Park

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