Last November’s election saw some of the most craven political tactics ever seen in California. Fearful that they would lose the two thirds supermajority in both houses, many anti-taxpayer candidates – usually Democrats – attempted to portray themselves as friendly to taxpayers and in favor of Proposition 13 when, in fact, the exact opposite was true. Perhaps the worst example of this was the race between Proposition 13 ally Janet Nguyen and Jose Solorio for a Senate seat in Orange County. Democrats were so fearful of losing this seat that Governor Brown unleashed radio advertising claiming that Solorio was the candidate who would protect Proposition 13. Thanks in large part to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Political Action Committee, voters were informed that Nguyen was by far the superior candidate over the proven tax-and-spend Solorio. Thankfully, she won the election handily receiving more than 58% of the vote.
Well, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, here we go again.
Next week, on March 17th, voters in the East Bay area of Northern California will decide who will fill a state senate seat. Or, more likely, they will pick two candidates who will face one another in a runoff election. In this race, there are three viable candidates – all Democrats. The lone Republican candidate, Michaela Hertle, dropped out of the race and threw her support behind Steve Glazer, a moderate pro-business Democrat who appears to be a good fit for this fiscally conservative, socially moderate district.
The problem is that Glazer is hated by powerful public sector labor organizations. From their view, he had the audacity to oppose a BART strike – which inconvenienced tens of thousands of Bay Area commuters – and, even worse, he said he would not support a change in Proposition 13’s rules regarding property owned by businesses.
Labor organizations would like nothing more than to prevent Glazer from being one of the top two vote getters next week. If that occurs, then the only candidates appearing on the ballot in the May runoff election would be two tax-and-spend, labor compliant, left leaning Democrats. For Proposition 13 supporters, this is the worst case scenario.
So, rather than tell the truth about their anti-taxpayer agenda, the labor organizations have financed an expensive mail campaign in favor of the Republican who has dropped out of the race. This may seem crazy, but the goal here is to confuse Republican voters into voting their party as opposed to a moderate Democrat who actually has a chance to win.
This strategy reveals two things. First, powerful public sector labor organizations will stop at nothing to advance their narrow interests. Second, they recognize – as do most political observers – that Proposition 13 and the interests of taxpayers still resonate powerfully in California.
While the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association PAC has not endorsed a candidate in this special election, we reserve the right to do so in the runoff election. But one thing is certain. Of the candidates, Steve Glazer appears to be the most sympathetic to the issues of concern to California taxpayers – including the preservation of Proposition 13. At a minimum, he is the least beholden to unions. And in this state, that is saying something.
Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.