Democrat takes on teachers union in Prop. 32 ad
In a two-minute Web video posted on YouTube this week, former state Sen. Gloria Romero urges voters to support the initiative. Sitting in a classroom, she looks at the camera and recalls her past battles with the California Teachers Assn. as chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee -- though she does not name the union.
"I worked hard to give every child in California a chance to get a great education. But I learned something as Democratic leader in the Senate: The big-moneyed special interests don't want the change we need," she says in the ad. "And these special interests will spend millions of dollars to stop it.”
Proposition 32 would prohibit both unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates. The initiative would also ban the practice of political contribution by payroll deduction, the primary method unions use to raise political cash.
Throughout her tenure in Sacramento, Romero battled publicly with some of the state's most powerful unions, namely the CTA and the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. In the Web ad, she blames "special interests" for killing a bill this year that would have expedited the dismissal process for teachers who engage in "serious and egregious unprofessional conduct" -- sex abuse, drugs or violence toward children.
CTA and other unions opposed the measure, which they cast as an attack on due process rights.
The labor-backed "No on 32" campaign dismissed the ad.
"Support from one former legislator does absolutely nothing to counter the fact that every leading good-government group in the state, from California Common Cause to the League of Women Voters, opposes Prop. 32 because it is phony reform that will make our broken political system even worse," said Brian Brokaw, a campaign spokesman.
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: Former state Sen. Gloria Romero in 2007. Credit: Associated Press