Jerry Brown, the Unions’ Governor

Since their inception, California’s government unions have found no greater ally than Jerry Brown. In fact, it was Jerry Brown who first authorized government employees to unionize in 1978 through the Dill Act. Since then, unions have pushed government spending on benefits and pensions to the breaking point. The self-interested unions have built a political machine of campaign spending that ensures their candidates toe the line once elected.

When Meg Whitman ran against Jerry Brown for governor last year, her detractors loved drawing attention to the large amount of money she spent in contrast to her opponent. They sought to portray Whitman as a Wall Street billionaire completely out of touch with common folk as evinced by her ability to drop lots of cash into her campaign, while Brown was her thrifty counterpart, spending very little and promising to do the same with the state’s purse. But in reality, Whitman and Republicans were downright paupers compared to the massive spending unions typically pour into their causes. Whitman was the rarecandidate who could try to match the unions’ war chest. It was no secret that Jerry Brown wouldn’t need to raise or spend the same amount of money as Whitman since his union attack dogs would more than match any check she personally wrote.

So it comes as no surprise (although the source is a bit surprising) that the Los Angeles Times has found Jerry Brown to be a very good friend to public employee unions. In fact, according to the article, “When the dust settled on Gov. Jerry Brown’s first legislative session in nearly three decades, no group had won more than organized labor, which heralded its largest string of victories in nearly a decade.” That’s right, it’s payback time for Jerry Brown and he knows exactly which special interest group to thank for his third term as governor.

Brown’s most blatant payback to the union was his approval of legislation that will move all initiatives slated for the June primary ballot to the November general election ballot. Political wisdom holds that turnout is lower in primaries and if the Stop Special Interest Money Now Initiative appeared on the June primary ballot, its chances of passing would be much greater since voter turnout amongst its supporters would be higher. Obviously unions are scared to death that such an initiative would cut their funding at the source since it would prevent corporate and union spending as well as employee payroll deductions for political spending.

This is the most galling example of unions and Democrats bending the political and legislative processes to their will without regard for the public good. It’s a shame Californians aren’t rising up and chastising the majority party and its union puppeteers for such abuse of the system. As long as the unions’ governor sits in the horseshoe and the unions’ lackeys control the legislature, there isn’t much hope the formerly-Golden State will pull out of its nosedive any time soon.

(Meredith Turney is a social and new media political consultant as well as a political commentator and writer.)