The initiative's backers point to the aggressiveness of the teachers union in the campaign as evidence of what dissenting union members routinely face in private. In September, loudly chanting union protesters surrounded a news conference that the Right to Work foundation was holding in front of the union's Sacramento headquarters. Their shouts of "Shame on you" were so loud that the entire event was inaudible, and one of the participants wept afterward.
Earlier this month, the teachers union demanded that county prosecutors investigate whether the Yes on 75 campaign's sending of e-mails to 90,000 teachers at their school e-mail addresses was a criminal violation of a state law banning the use of school facilities for politics.
The two teachers who signed the letter said they interpreted that as a call for their arrests.
"There's a lot of fear out there," said Larry Sand, a Los Angeles history teacher and union member who signed the letter along with Perry.
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Behind Proposition 75
The measure would require public employee unions to obtain members' permission annually to use a portion of their dues for political campaigns. It is sponsored by Lewis K. Uhler, a land developer from Roseville who runs an antitax nonprofit group.
The campaign has raised $4.9 million so far (opponents, mostly public employee unions, have collected more than $40 million).
Largest donors to Yes on 75:
* Robin P. Arkley II, real estate and loan company owner in Eureka: \o7$854,002\f7
* Small Business Action Committee PAC, whose large contributors include Arkley, Orange County mortgage company Ameriquest Capital Corp., the late Wal-Mart heir John Walton and California Business Properties Assn: \o7$555,000\f7
* Frank E. Baxter, Los Angeles investment banker: \o7$502,000\f7
* A. Jerrold Perenchio, chairman of Univision Spanish-language television network: \o7$500,000\f7
* Richard Riordan, former mayor of Los Angeles and former state secretary of education: \o7$252,000\f7
* William Lyon, chairman of a Newport Beach home construction company: \o7$250,000\f7
* The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and related entities: \o7$250,000\f7
\f7Sources: California secretary of state; Times staff reports
Los Angeles Times