Backlash against Union Clout Spreads to California
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Remember Wisconsin? Republican Governor Scott Walker led an anti-union movement that spread to Ohio and Indiana last year. Could it happen here? Prop 32 on the November ballot would reduce the clout of unions to the equivalent of the Sierra Club, according to one expert. Are California voters as resentful of organized labor as those in the Midwest? Also, a new book lists the 100 greatest America progressives in the 20th Century. We ask the author what it took to be included and who had to be left out. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, do consumers need protection from their banks?
Banner image: An estimated 65,000 protestors descended on Wisconsin's legislature on February 19, 2011 in the fifth day of mass demonstrations against a Republican plan to bust public workers unions. Photo: Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images
LA Coliseum Is Deeper in the Red ()
The Los Angeles Coliseum is caught up in accusations of bribery, embezzlement, kickbacks and conflicts of interest that cost the publicly owned facility $2 million. Yesterday, the Coliseum Commission was told that losses for the year just ended will be $5 million, roughly a third of the operating budget. Also yesterday, the LA Times announced a lawsuit demanding nullification of a lease that gives USC almost total control of the Coliseum for 42 years, on the grounds that the deal was made in secret, a violation of state law. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is a member of the Commission.
Will Voters Change the Balance of Political Power in California? ()
In 1998, and again in 2005, voters were asked to reduce the political power of labor unions in California. By large margins, they said, "No." One index of their clout in Sacramento is that the California Teachers Association and the State Council of Service Employees were the number one and two donors to political campaigns from 2000 to 2009. Proposition 32 in November's election is another effort to change that, and it's adding political heat to a ballot that already includes Governor Brown's temporary tax increase and the race for president.
A Progressive on the 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century ()
It's always dangerous to make lists, especially lists that deal with politics on either end of the political spectrum. Peter Dreier is a professor at Occidental College whose latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Hero or Goat? ()
Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took its first major enforcement action since it began operating a year ago, ordering Capital One Bank to refund about $150 million to two million credit card customers. Bureau Director Richard Cordray says Capital One's telephone vendors used deceptive marketing to sell add-ons like credit monitoring and debt protection. Americans have lost confidence in banks and credit card companies. Is government protection against predatory lending the answer? As the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes its first major action, will it make things better or worse?
- John Gravois: Washington Monthly, @johngravois
- Stephen Moore: Wall Street Journal
- Pamela Banks: Consumers Union, @consumersunion
- Amar Bhide: Tufts University, @amar_bhide
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, which supports study and research into policy issues of the Los Angeles region.
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