Gee, Do You Think a Charter Is a Meaningful Way for California Cities to Pursue Fiscal Responsibility? $500,000 of Union Opposition Confirms It.

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Obviously a 4-1 majority on the Costa Mesa City Council has discovered a truly effective way in California to use taxpayer money wisely and responsibly. The evidence: labor unions and their allied organizations have raised almost $500,000 to convince Costa Mesa voters to reject Measure V, which would enact a city charter.

Charters currently give 121 California cities the authority to determine their own policies concerning their purely municipal affairs. It is a right given to cities in the California Constitution.

Unions hate charters because they give power to cities to circumvent costly union-backed state mandates imposed by the California State Legislature, such as government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). See Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?

So how much money have groups reported raising and spending against Measure V as of October 20, 2012?

1. $359,634.74 (including $18,834.74 of non-monetary contributions) has been collected by “Taxpayers for Open and Accountable Government, No on Measure V, sponsored by the Orange County Employees Association.” This includes the following contributions from labor unions:

  • $274,634.74 from the Orange County Employees Association
  • $20,000 from the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association
  • $10,000 from the California Federation of Teachers
  • $5,000 from the Orange County Labor Federation AFL-CIO
  • $5,000 from the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals

It has spent $278,411.32 against Measure V as of October 20, 2012.

2. $110,000.00 (including $10,000.00 of non-monetary contributions) has been collected by “Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations.” All of this money came from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Committee. (See my article Union Slush Fund Sends Mailers to Costa Mesa Residents Attacking Measure V, the Proposed Charter.) It has spent $56,291.23 as of October 20, 2012.

3. $8,229.30 has been SPENT by “Costa Mesans 4 Responsible Government (CM4RG)” against Measure V. This back-to-Big Labor-as-usual organization has collected a total of $39,439.67. Besides opposing Measure V, this group is trying to get a slate of three pro-union, anti-charter candidates elected to replace three fiscally responsible, pro-charter incumbent city council members. Note that these candidates are also expressing opposition to Measure V in the context of their own campaigns.

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