Nov. 2014 Advocate – Union recommendations for Nov. 4th ballot

CFT and other unions make ballot recommendations for November 4th election

The following are summaries of ballot recommendations from the California Federation of Teachers, the California Labor Federation, the San Mateo County Labor Council and other unions for key races in the November 4th general election.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson

Tom-Torlakson    Tom Torlakson is a former high school and community college teacher who has been a staunch advocate for quality public education for all students. Melinda Dart, President of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers, pointed out that Torlakson, a CSM alumni, “was a student in Daly City schools, and later, a teacher. He has consistently supported teachers in our quest for a quality public education for all children, a full education—which includes music, art, sports and all the enrichment that make school a vibrant and fulfilling experience.” Torlakson’s opponent, Marshall Tuck, is a former Wall Street banker and a corporate charter school CEO who has no degree in education and no classroom experience, with huge support from very wealthy donors. While Torlakson has opposed the Vergara decision, which undermines teacher tenure, Tuck supports the decision. This is an extremely important and very close race.
Torlakson is endorsed for re-election by the California Labor Federation, the California Federation of Teachers, and the California Teachers Association.

Statewide Ballot Propositions

Proposition 1: $7.5 Billion Bond for California’s Water System

This measure would cost California taxpayers $14 billion in total new debt in 40 yearly payments of $360 million. The biggest expenditure would facilitate water transfer at no cost from the Sacramento River Delta to the western San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, not to small farmers, infrastructure repair or conservation. These public funds go in part to private water companies. This is a gift to big business and water privatizers that have been twice previously stopped at the ballot.
CFT has taken a YES position on this Proposition. AFSCME Council 57 and a host of environmental organizations have urged a No vote.

Proposition 2: Budget Stabilization Account

The key part of this complex proposed amendment to the State constitution is that it requires spending from $800 million to $2 billion annually from general fund revenues to repay existing State debts. It also changes how school reserves are funded with the result that, in lean fiscal times, schools will have more difficulty balancing their budgets.
CFT and the California Labor Federation have taken a Neutral position on this Proposition.

Proposition 45: Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes

This measure would mandate that any rate changes to health insurance premiums in California must be approved by the elected insurance commissioner. It would also prohibit health, auto, and homeowners insurers from determining policy eligibility or rates based on lack of prior coverage or credit history. Health insurance companies and the Chamber of Commerce are funding a fear-mongering ad campaign against 45. The CFT, the California Nurses’ Association, and many consumer rights organizations have taken a YES position on this Proposition.

Proposition 46: Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors, Medical Negligence Lawsuits

This measure would increase the limit on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, require doctors to check a statewide patient database prior to prescribing narcotics, and require doctors to undergo drug and alcohol testing. Raising the much-too-low limits on medical malpractice awards is a good idea, but this Proposition has a blame-the-victim approach to drug abuse, while letting the mega-wealthy pharmaceutical industry off the hook, and it violates the privacy rights of doctors and patients.
CFT and the California Labor Federation have taken a Neutral position on this Proposition.

Proposition 47: Criminal Sentences, Misdemeanor Penalties

This measure would reclassify nonviolent drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and mandate that saved funds go toward school drop-out prevention programs and other public, mental health and drug rehab services. By prioritizing treatment and eliminating mandatory minimums, legacies of the racist “war on drugs”, this measure will reduce barbaric overcrowding in prisons. It saves the State hundreds of millions of dollars.
CFT and the California Labor Federation have taken a YES position on this Proposition.

San Mateo County Ballot Measure

Measure H: San Mateo County Community College District Bond

Measure H is a $388 million bond to modernize math and science classrooms and labs, upgrade technology and job training facilities, upgrade access for disabled students, ensure facilities meet disaster preparedness requirements, and replace aging infrastructure with energy efficient systems. The bond will be subject to annual audits and monitoring by a Citizen’s Oversight Committee, and construction work will be done under a Project Labor Agreement with the San Mateo Building Trades Council.
The San Mateo County Central Labor Council has taken a YES position on this Measure.