Unions trounced in Wisconsin, California

JUNE 5, 2012

By Steven Greenhut

The AP headline declared, “Wisconsin voters divided on governor, bargaining,” but that piece reviewing exit polls stood in stark contrast to reality. Voters always are divided to some degree, but Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly rebuked the public-sector unions that had sought to recall reform-minded Republican Scott Walker. As of 9 pm California time, the election was called in his favor as he held an astounding 18 percentage-point lead.

Furthermore, the Republican lieutenant governor was also cruising to victory, as were four Republicans in the state Senate seats targeted by the Democrats and their labor union allies. This is a big victory not just for Wisconsin residents, who will continue to see good-government reforms proceed, but for the rest of the nation, even those of us in California.

Had the public-sector unions succeeded, then serious efforts to rein in pension costs for public-sector workers would have evaporated as politicians would have become too nervous to pursue them. Instead, politicians — a bunch generally driven by little more than a desire to hold and retain office — have learned that it’s possible to take on the unions and not only survive, but to prosper. Gov. Walker has just catapulted to the vice-presidential short list, and provided other things don’t trip him up, he has a promising national political future.

The Wisconsin victory also proves that reform can take place in blue states, in places where the union movement has prospered and where Democratic majorities are an ever-present reality. Wisconsin has for decades been at the heart of the progressive movement and remains a liberal bastion. California, of course, could not these days elect a Republican governor who takes on the unions, but we’re seeing signs that Democratic politicians might emerge who embrace a similar agenda.

Pension reform

In San Jose, Measure B — a serious pension reform measure that reduces benefits for current workers – passed overwhelmingly, with little opposition from the unions, which are gearing up for a legal fight. They know they can’t win in the democratic arena. The measure was leading with 71 percent of the vote in that Democratic city, which along with Scott Walker’s victory suggests that unions are now going to be backpedaling fast. Councilwoman Rose Herrera, the swing vote on the council, is leading in her race to retain her seat, which is more good news for San Jose pension reformers.

In San Diego, pension-reform councilman Carl DeMaio was leading the race for mayor, followed by Democrat Bob Filner, which is the best-possible news. A DeMaio-Filner general-election race will be great for DeMaio.

The likely third-place finisher is Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, one of the least principled politicians in the state. Fletcher claims to be for pension reform but has worked closely with the unions. If he finishes in second, he would be a much more formidable candidate for DeMaio. Fletcher’s career should be kaput if these results hold, given that this establishment Republican quit the GOP after it endorsed DeMaio, something that will make him persona non grata in the GOP. And the pension reform measure pushed by DeMaio, Proposition B, is winning by an overwhelming margin.

And now for some really great news, as Fullerton residents are well on their way to recalling three of the biggest buffoons to hold elected office in the county: council members Don Bankhead, Dick Jones and Pat McKinley. The three Republican pension-spiking, pro-redevelopment tax-hikers came into the figurative crosshairs of local activist Tony Bushala after they disgraced themselves by trying to downplay the horrific beating death of an unarmed homeless man by city police officers.

Also in OC, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor is handily beating the pro-union liberal Republican Leslie Daigle.

Sure, Todd Spitzer, the pro-union Republican who retroactively increased pensions for his deputy buddies as an OC supervisor, won back a seat on the board — but that was predictable given his weak opposition, establishment support and his huge war chest. This will soon be an embarrassment for the principle-lacking OC GOP as Spitzer will almost certainly go back to his old ways of advancing legislation designed to help public-sector unions. He will continue to seek the spotlight and once again the most dangerous place in Orange County will be between Todd Spitzer and a TV camera.

But if the results hold, this will be a great night for taxpayers and a terrible night for those public-sector unions that have been plundering the nation for so long.


Write a comment
  1. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 5 June, 2012, 21:06

    Overall, excellent returns so far.

    San Jose is representative how how common ordinary citizens think about the public safety swine and their greedy, selfish ways.

    As the economy continues to faulter the rage against the public sector will only grow. This is a natural phenomenon after the way they’ve heisted the taxpayers and grown their wealth enormously on the backs of the real producers in the private sector.

    San Diego seems locked into reality with Carlos DeMaio in the lead. Now let’s pass both Prop’s A and B, San Diego. Pull the hat trick on ’em!!! heh. 🙂

    I’m not worried about Spitzer. If he pulls the same crap he did last time he held a Board seat the people will recall him just like they’re recalling the 3 stooges in Fullerton.

    The people have had their fill. The chickens have come home. Cluck, Cluck, Cluck!!! 😀

    Reply this comment
  2. Art Pedroza
    Art Pedroza 5 June, 2012, 23:34

    Much more to this story. Liberals and their Labor allies absolutely crashed and burned in Orange County, in a number of races…http://ocpoliticsblog.com/orange-county-liberals-crashed-and-burned-in-tonights-primary-election/

    Reply this comment
  3. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 5 June, 2012, 23:42

    Art Pedroza – Is Daly in the 69th Assembly race “anti-latino” as you mentioned or anti-ILLEGAL latino???

    There is a BIG BIG difference, my friend.

    Please elaborate.

    Reply this comment
  4. Ted Steele, Prosecutor
    Ted Steele, Prosecutor 6 June, 2012, 06:34

    Spitzer is a good man– so very glad he won!!!

    Sad day in Wisconsin—-it aint over yet!

    Reply this comment
  5. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 6 June, 2012, 06:53

    How ya feelin’ this morning, Teddy??? A little hung-over??? Groggy??? Like somebody whacked you with whoopee bat??? heh. Read the election outcomes and weep, Teddy. San Jose, San Diego, Prop 29, Scott Walker, etc….

    Not a good mornin’ to be a lib, Teddy.

    Conservatives are taking applications. Join the winners!!! heh. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 June, 2012, 07:49

    PUBLIC unions trounce!

    Reply this comment
  7. Tough Love
    Tough Love 6 June, 2012, 08:19

    Steve, these wins in CA and Wisc are WONDERFUL, absolutely WONDERFUL.

    Particularly the Wisc. win, the message being that this must spread across the country:

    Public Sector Collective Bargaining is a CANCER on society and must end now.

    Reply this comment
    • Slexreb
      Slexreb 29 July, 2016, 08:06

      All politicians must face a tree with a rope then be paid in full or we the people is just fantasy the cost of triple layered local need fed needed but this californication is a flipping .ca.gov cluster f.bad news for hard working folks free ride status for the lazy and completely worthless class of human excrement, they hope that the one to come is stopped because I will use the easy button to end this theft of national resources by termed out folly cyber punk thugs that look act and stink like a donkey. Can you say assjacked by garbage men and?

      Reply this comment
  8. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 08:48

    It’s always a good morning to be a Lib, Beelzebub, because we’re on the right side of history.

    Elections come and go – you win some and you lose some. Clearly we have some work to do, both on the ground and in the courts. Enjoy the wins today, but remember we’ll prevail in the long run.

    Reply this comment
  9. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 6 June, 2012, 09:04

    “It’s always a good morning to be a Lib, Beelzebub, because we’re on the right side of history”

    All defunct empires were liberal in their sunset years. Liberalism engenders wasteful spending and eroding morals. Look what liberalism has done to the American family – the building block of our society. Today damn near half the kids being born into America come out of a single mother. That has devastating effects on the survivability of our society. We are ROME all over again. And that is a result of liberalism. Liberalism = Waste, avarice, immorality and MEism. Tremendously destructive! 🙁

    Reply this comment
  10. UptightTO
    UptightTO 6 June, 2012, 10:36

    It isn’t just the fact that Walker retained his governoship…it’s that his conservative message won out in the birthplace of public sector collective bargining. Elections do come and go but I sincerly believe the golden age of public sector unions has come to an end. Now, with regard to the inevitable legal challenges. I wouldn’t pin my hopes on the idea that what SkippingDog thinks is settled law cannot be challenged. The road to enacting the those laws are strewn with political payoffs and corrution. In other words I believe these laws are the bi product of coruuption at the city, county and state levels. How much investigation politicians who owe their seats to union money can stomach…we’ll find out. Democrate or Republican it won’t matter…if they’re dirty….it’ll be like rats off a sinking ship.

    Reply this comment
  11. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 11:29

    Your complaints about the sausage making aspects of the political process notwithstanding, UptightTO, you didn’t bother to address the reality of long settled law and numerous precedents that control the course of the legal arguments that are beginning today.

    You might do well to examine the role of statutory construction and legislative intent as they inform the process of litigation and constitutional review by the courts. There’s a reason it’s called “settled law.”

    Reply this comment
  12. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 June, 2012, 12:59

    Long settled law is right, the state can repudiate any law it wants and there is not a thing anyone can do about it. Not in state court, not in federal court.

    That pesky 11th Amendment.

    Reply this comment
  13. UptightTO
    UptightTO 6 June, 2012, 14:54

    SkippingDog…Addressing long settled law is exactly what I was addressing. If the law was introduced by politicians corrupted by public sector unions then I believe there is cause to set the law aside and start over. But first it would be necessary to do an investigation and either indict or clear politicians who took union money and then did the unions bidding. You don’t want to be represented by crooks do you? We sure don’t. That said, you seem very sure current laws protecting your “rights” are based on sound legal principles and you may be right. If so, you’ll have nothing to worry about because politicians will have no option but to re-instate those laws. And when that happens…..our long suffering and dedicated public servants will have the last laugh.

    Reply this comment
  14. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 16:17

    Just how do you plan to have any of our current laws “set aside” so we can start over? Please explain the political mechanics of your proposal, if you are able to do so. I’d sure be interested in your insights.

    Reply this comment
  15. UptightTO
    UptightTO 6 June, 2012, 17:02

    Skip…I’m not a lawyer but laws have been abrogated in the past and I was just thinking out loud. Look, it’s not likely you and I will agree on this issue and that’s OK but it’s hard for me to understand why intelligent guys like you cannot see the dangers associated with public unions. I think FDR and George Meany got it right when they said public sector unions with the right to collectivily bargin subvert and corrupt democratic principles. How can anyone able to put two and two together not see the logic.

    Reply this comment
  16. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 17:27

    If you read the history about FDR’s statement, you’ll find that he was referring to a union with the basic right to strike, something current public employee unions do not have the legal right to do. That’s why President Reagan fired the PATCO controllers, and why you haven’t seen a “police strike” in 40 or more years.

    When you remove the right to strike or otherwise withhold labor, it’s not really a labor union any longer in any meaningful sense of that term.

    If you’re going to use the FDR quote, it behooves you to at least understand the context both of the time it was made and the difference between a traditional labor union, such as that headed by Meany, and a recognized bargaining agent like a police, fire, or public employee’s association.

    Reply this comment
  17. UptightTO
    UptightTO 6 June, 2012, 18:59

    A couple of questions…

    What entitles our public servants to pay, perks and retirment benefits better and in some cases much better than taxpayers?

    Government collective bargaining means voters do not have the final say on public policy. You agree or disagree?

    Public sector unions are directly responsible for the enactment of laws that serve their interests – at the expense of the common good. Why in your opinion is that a good thing?

    Reply this comment
  18. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 19:39

    Adjusted for experience and education, you’ll find that your public servants generally don’t receive a level of total compensation that is “much better” or even “better” than other taxpayers. Notwithstanding the claims of people with a political agenda that falls on the right half of our political spectrum, you can easily find valid information to support my assertion. Look at the Center for Retirement Study at Boston College for some relevant reports and bibliography information.

    We live in a constitutional republic, which means we the people elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf in the legislature, whether that legislature is the city council, state assembly, or the U.S. Congress. A “republican form of government” such as that is specifically required of each state by the U.S. Constitution. Collective bargaining by government employee groups doesn’t remove voters’ say on public policy, since that say has always been limited to electing the representative that most closely reflects their opinions about public policy issues. We don’t have a direct democracy, in which voters get to specifically vote on every issue because that’s not a “republican form of government.” Every contract or Memorandum of Understanding between government employees and their employer (city, state, etc.) must be voted on for approval by our elected representatives, who must then also pass the enabling ordinances necessary for its implementation.

    Public employees do not have some second-class level of citizenship so, like everyone else, they have the freedom to endorse and actively support political candidates who most closely reflect their interests. That is, once more, no different than people who lobby for the enactment of laws that serve their own narrow interests, whether those laws be related to guns, land use, commerce, defense contracting, foreign affairs, water rights or anything else.

    Finally, your definition of “the common good” may be far different from mine, and we both may have a definition that is different from others. How we achieve that “common good” is really the basis of distinction between our political parties. All of us want what we believe is “the common good.” We just don’t always agree on what that means and, even when we do agree, we often can’t agree on the best path for achieving that elusive goal.

    Reply this comment
  19. Tough Love
    Tough Love 6 June, 2012, 20:13

    Quoting …. “Adjusted for experience and education, you’ll find that your public servants generally don’t receive a level of total compensation that is “much better” or even “better” than other taxpayers. ”

    While not brilliant, you are smart enough to know that that statement is BS, plain and simple BS

    Reply this comment
  20. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 20:28

    Here’s the most recent comparison study done, Tough Love. It was even cited in Reason as a well conducted study, before the libertarian rag ran through a litany of irrelevant quibbles.

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.


    Reply this comment
  21. Tough Love
    Tough Love 6 June, 2012, 21:40

    Skippy, Now try finding a study that supports your position that Isn’t a Union supported rag.

    Reply this comment
  22. Tough Love
    Tough Love 6 June, 2012, 21:48

    Skippy, Follow-up Under “affiliations” for your study source is …

    Dave Low, the chairman of Californians for Retirement Security (a front group for protecting union-negotiated pensions).

    Biased perhaps ?

    Reply this comment
  23. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 June, 2012, 22:15

    Any dork that thinks a GED job like cop comping $50K per year is not much better than the real world shows just how stoopid they are.

    Reply this comment
  24. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 6 June, 2012, 22:16

    not $50-but $250 per year

    Reply this comment
  25. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 22:39

    There’s nothing there but peer reviewed material, Tough Love. Nowhere in the paper do I find Dave Low or Californians for Retirement Security, but perhaps you can direct me to where that “affiliation” is located.

    This is far better researched and supported than any of the nonsense you guys post from Cato, Heritage, or the WSJ. You’re just unhappy that the facts don’t support your claims.

    Rex isn’t worth paying any attention to.

    Reply this comment
  26. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 June, 2012, 22:46

    Here’s another thoughtful and well reasoned analysis of the pension matter. You might try reading it instead of the nonsense on some of the anti-pension blogs.


    Reply this comment

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