Friday, September 29, 2006

Teachers Union Says Yes on 89 : UTLA

United Teachers Los Angeles Endorses Prop. 89 - Nation's Second Largest Teachers Union Local Says - Prop. 89 Will Benefit Democracy and Working People

The United Teachers Los Angeles, the second-largest local teachers union in the country, Wednesday night endorsed Proposition 89, a November initiative that would reduce political corruption and establish a more level playing field in California elections.

UTLA, with 44,000 members, is largest National Education Association local in the country and the largest union in Los Angeles County.

“We hope that UTLA's endorsement of Prop. 89 will send a strong message that teachers are fed up with a system of political corruption that has put big donor demands ahead of fulfilling our state's commitment to excellent schools and a top quality education for our children. Prop. 89 will end big money control and allow us to take back our government so that its accountable to the needs and concerns of California teachers and families,” said Leonard Segal, member of the UTLA Board of Directors and a substitute teacher, after the vote.

“We need to make it possible for candidates who don’t have massive corporate backing to participate in the political process. That’s really what Prop. 89 is about,” said Paul Huebner, vice chair of the 44,000-member UTLA’s Political Action Council of Educators, and a second grade teacher.

“We can never outspend the big corporate donors and millionaires and political action committees. But we can get our members more involved in politics for the benefit of our democracy. That includes enabling more teachers and more working people to be able to run for office and win,” Huebner said.

Prop. 89, said Deborah Burger, RN, President of the California Nurses Association, the sponsors of Prop. 89, “will substantially enhance efforts to assure adequate funding for California classrooms by reducing the incentive of politicians to divert resources into lobbyist-driven projects and tax loopholes for the biggest donors to their campaigns.”

“The California political system is broken and it's hurting everybody, especially kids,” added Susan Lerner, executive director of the California Clean Money Action Fund, one of the organizations pushing Proposition 89. “We are delighted to welcome UTLA and its members to a broad and growing coalition of California organizations and individuals working to take back control of California to make it work for all, not the wealthy few.”

Proposition 89 sets strict contribution limits to candidates, special interest political committees and initiatives, and provides for voluntary “clean money” funding for candidates who reject private money and accept spending limits. It also provides for tough penalties for violators. It would enable regular Californians to run for office and win, even if they are not connected to wealthy donors or lobbyists.

Other endorsers of Prop. 89 include the League of Women Voters, California Common Cause, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Sierra Club, Consumer Federation of California, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
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