Cal State illegally promotes Prop. 30 tax increase

Sept. 20, 2012

By Jennifer Kerns

California State University backers of Proposition 30 are violating state law by sending out emails pushing the initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot. It would raise up to $8.5 billion a year, which supposedly would prevent education cuts. University officials also are pushing a “No” vote on the Proposition 32 initiative that would restrict campaign contributions by unions and corporations. has obtained an email, posted at the bottom, showing the violations. The names have been redacted to protect the sources.

The Sept. 12 letter was sent from a Cal State faculty member using the member’s email address on state resources and state time. It says the California Faculty Association “encourages faculty to participate in phone banks and precinct walking with your local central labor council to help get out the vote for the No on 32 and Yes on 30 campaigns.”

Using taxpayer funds for political advocacy is illegal. Under California law, public universities are strictly prohibited from using public resources to advocate for political campaigns and causes.  California Education Code 7054 is clear:

“(a) No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the governing board of the district.”

Although that section applies to K-12 school districts and community colleges, by implication it also applies to the Cal State system.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sent a letter to Chancellor Reed of the California State University citing Education Code 7054. The Jarvis group said Cal State defied the law when it sent notices to students who had applied for admission. As Jarvis President Jon Coupal described it in an article:

“In a move sure to antagonize an already skeptical voting public, California State University is about to send out a letter to those who have applied for admission to CSU which openly discusses Prop 30. and — in the opinion of CSU — all the evils that would befall California if Prop. 30 doesn’t pass. This includes an implied threat to applicants that they might not gain admission.”

The Cal State letter also provided a link to the pro-Prop. 30 Web site.

Jerry Brown’s own political adviser and so-called mastermind of the tax initiative, Steve Glazer, sits on the Board of Trustees for California State University.

With only three weeks until absentee ballots are sent in the mail, voters can expect this type of activity to rev up. No doubt the deceptive Prop. 30 campaign has more hairpin turns ahead.

Pundits predict it is “do or die” time for Brown. His legacy is riding on Prop. 30’s passage.



Jennifer Kerns is a taxpayer advocate and communications strategist.  Over the last 10 years, she has served as a media consultant to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, as an Assistant Secretary of State for California, as Senior Press Secretary for former Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, and as the former Spokeswoman for the California Republican Party. Kerns is the only Press Secretary to unanimously win every single newspaper endorsement for a Republican Statewide candidate in California. She can be reached at [email protected]

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