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Money, power and Proposition 75

October 19, 2005

Re "Their views, their dues," editorial, Oct. 16

I was dumbfounded when The Times came out in favor of Proposition 75. The logic was that it only applied to public employee unions that were negotiating with government, not big corporations. Yet Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can raise $76 million from big business, with no consent from shareholders, to campaign for the right to cut education spending and fire teachers at will.

Public employee unions have been on the side of adequate funding for education, firefighting, policing and hospitals -- goals that 95% of their rank and file as well as a large sector of the public support. Those who don't agree already have the right to withhold permission for the unions to spend their money for political purposes. We don't need Proposition 75.

WESLEY HAWKS

Upland

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Your argument that public sector unions negotiate with representatives of public interest (i.e. politicians) is wrong. Do you really believe these people are as pure as you make them out to be? Why are all those private sector lobbyists buzzing around Sacramento? By insisting that unions are the power brokers in California, you turn history on its head. The only reason public sector unions are involved in politics is to mitigate the influence of the private sector that owns politicians all over this country. To be fair, Proposition 75 should require written approval from every taxpayer before the governor chooses to use our tax money for special elections.

MICHAL KOHOUT

Yucaipa

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Bravo for The Times' analysis and endorsement of Proposition 75. No one, including the governor, has disparaged the service of the public employees who are the rank and file of the unions. But to fail to understand how those unions function -- the activist few dominate policy while the rank and file are busy with their primary jobs of serving us -- is to be blind to the obvious. I am frustrated to think that the teachers who put up the fallacious arguments against Proposition 75 in the election booklet and in letters to the editor are supposedly educating our young people.

MEL WOLF

Burbank

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