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Teachers' Union Takes Aim at Prop. 32, School Board Race

A letter to union members emphasizes the importance of defeating certain Capo Unified candidates and a statewide initiative.

Two years ago, hundreds of thousands of dollars flooded into the Capistrano Unified school board race to elect some candidates and remove others. Will there be a repeat in 2012?

Possibly not.

One of the effects of passing – which has candidates run in smaller trustee areas instead of at-large throughout the sprawling district – was to decrease the amount needed to launch a campaign, according to proponents at the time. 

Also, according to a letter sent this month to members of the teachers’ union, the Capistrano Unified Education Association will divide its attention between defeating Prop. 32, which would ban unions and corporations from donating directly to candidates, and a slate of candidates in the four trustee areas.

The letter also hints that losing in both these areas could lead to another teachers strike.

“In the 35 years I have taught in CUSD, I never would have thought that we would be forced to a strike and I never, ever, want that to happen again. But we have to work to ensure that it doesn’t,” wrote Vicki Soderberg, union president. [Emphasis in original.]

The union didn't respond to messages from Patch asking for more information on Soderberg's strike talk.

As for the school board race, the letter didn't identify any union-backed candidates. But it did take aim at candidates who may be backed by StudentsFirst, a national group seeking to reform education, and Hold CUSD Accountable

(The candidates' first financial statements aren’t due to the county until Oct. 5.)

Among the candidates targeted for defeat by the union: Steve Lang for Trustee Area No. 3 (San Clemente), Jim Reardon for Trustee Area No. 2 (parts of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Coto de Caza), Karin Schnell for Trustee Area No. 1 (parts of San Juan Capistrano, Capo Beach and Dana Point) and Bill Perkins for Trustee Area No. 5 (Aliso Viejo).

However, CUEA’s website places a stronger emphasis on defeating Prop. 32 than any particular candidates.

Last election, the union and its ally, Capistrano Unified Children First, helped recall two trustees, Mike Winsten and Ken Lopez-Maddox, and elect another, Lynn Hatton.

“It was our collective political power that kicked out the anti-public education advocates two years ago,” Soderberg wrote in her August letter, “and it will be our collective political power which maintains pro-public education advocates this year.”

Ken Lopez Maddox August 28, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Thank you Sharon Y. $500K can buy a lot of misinformation.
Sharon Y August 28, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Or help the public see the truth. You are the most arrogant and abusive "public servant" CUSD has ever seen. Should we spend time detailing how much money you cost our school district while your kid was in private school? Patch won't. Should we talk about how your vote for campaign contributor Jim Reardon sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to his family and attorneys? Patch won't. CUSD is better off without you Kenny. Not one precinct in aliso Viejo voted to keep you in office. So is your son going to patch to read their smut articles? Now that you are set to triple dip into the public employee pension system do you honestly think anyone holds you as a credible source of news or opinion.
Ken Lopez Maddox August 28, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Triple dip?
Sharon Y August 28, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Explain your retirement plans Kenny? State employee now. Former police officer. You are a union member times two. I watched you in action Maddox. You are an arrogant and offensive person as a publically elected official. Where will you go after the board of equalization? Looking for a new public paid job?
Ken Lopez Maddox August 28, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I am only in one pension system. As for my retirement plans, I hope to get a nice little place in the country.
Capo Parent August 28, 2012 at 04:36 AM
You'd be funny if you were not so dishonest and misleading. I'm surprised the Patch hasn't banned you for being an obvious copycat. What's the matter, don't have enough horse power in your brain to come up with your own moniker? Try thinking before you act, oh wait, you can't.
Capo Parent August 28, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Uh, I think you meant Union First since Children's First is all about the teachers union not the kids. As for viewing the Patch as a dubious news source I forgot, Union First and its master, the teachers union, aren't interest in real news, they are only interested in the news and news source they can control. You guys must really miss the old union rag, the Capistrano Dispatch.
Capo Parent August 28, 2012 at 04:43 AM
A prime example of drug therapy that has gone terribly wrong. I'm sorry you can no longer distinguish between fact and fiction. The sad part is your fiction sucks big time. Can't you come up with something original instead of rehashing the same old and tired teachers union/Union First talking points? I guess not.
Capo Parent August 28, 2012 at 04:50 AM
CP Just remember, the Sharon Y. (Y with a period) is the Sharon with a brain and an ability to engage in a rational discord. The other Sharon is, well, bonkers.
Capo Parent August 28, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Let's see, your beef against Ken is the fact he actually voted to hire an interdependent negotiator to negotiate with the teachers union and he voted to legitimately balanced the budget for CUSD even though this was contrary to what the teachers union wanted. Of course, your boys and girls who were put on the board by the teachers union and Union First have steered CUSD to a $51 million deficit (actually over $100 million in hole when you add in the unfunded retire health benefits) while stripping CUSD of any available funds to keep salaries and benefits propped up.. As for the Patch writing "smutty" articles, do you even know what the word smut means? I highly doubt it. It appears you were told to use that term with great zeal by the teachers union and Union First. Here's a word for you, "tool" as in you're a tool of the teachers union and Union First.
bbq August 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM
1. Wait, which "Sharon Y" posted this comment (see below) on the "smut" article? Seems a bit tongue-in-cheek racy to me. Who cares about the article? Apparently it was an incident that actually happened (and amusing)! 2. From what I read (in the link regarding the lawsuit settlement), it looks like the district paid out $100,000 to settle - the rest was paid by insurance policies. Maybe the previous school board / superintendent shouldn't have been doing dirty dealings to begin with. On the other hand I believe that those involved in any way in the lawsuit should not be allowed to run for any positions having to do with CUSD. 3. I WILL vote YES on Prop 32. "Sharon Y 6:47 pm on Thursday, August 23, 2012 Thanks Patch and Penny for being revealing and removing the cover up on this article. After a hard, long day at work it is stimulating to get excited about what Patch finds worthy of their readers. This is a great diversion for those of us that don't get enough at home."
Erin Kutnick August 28, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Preferably another country and the sooner the better. Adios Ken.
Matt Gaffney August 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM
This school board race looks like it's going to plumb new depths of malicious rhetoric. This could make the Council race look tame in comparison. Give 'em hell Jim. You've got my vote. Take Clint with you.
John B. Greet August 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM
The primary purpose of public teachers' unions is to facilitate the protection of the jobs and the enhancement of wages and benefits of their members. This does not mean that public school teachers do not desire what is best, academically, for their students. It just means that it is not the union's primary purpose to facilitate what is best, academically, for students. When considering School Board candidates who receive strong support from public school teachers' unions, I think it is always wise to recall the primary purpose of teachers' unions.
Alberto Barrera August 28, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I'm actually surprised that the terms and conditions allow the fake Sharon Y to exist.
randy August 28, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Yes on 32 will give an equal footing? If enacted, for profit or non for profit corporations cannot buy seats by campaigning or donating their prized candidates; unions will be silenced as well. That means we no longer need drama from both sides. Both sides will fight or race to the top if they aim to make money from the children.
Shripathi Kamath August 28, 2012 at 08:17 PM
@Randy " If enacted, for profit or non for profit corporations cannot buy seats by campaigning or donating their prized candidates; unions will be silenced as well. " Corporations are people, so they should be allowed to buy seats. Unions are people too (so far), so they should be allowed to buy seats as well. Buying seats usually means more revenue for ads in hyper local news outlets, TV, newspapers, etc. More economic activity. No more recession. More money for schools. Plus more entertainment for me in the peanut gallery. Everybody wins. If we can allow corporations and unions to buy Presidents, senators and congressmen, why not school board members? But the real reason to vote No on Prop 32 is that it'll likely be found unconstitutional if challenged, and so would be a waste of time and money. Very recently the SCOTUS found a 100 year state law in Montana to be that (http://bit.ly/OnWgln, http://lat.ms/OnWrx4) Personally, I'd prefer that they instead aim towards measures that disclose (more) all donors who contribute. Let anyone or any organization give as much as they want to, but require the recipient to disclose who it came from. I want Capo USD to set the national record for most monies spent on an election.
Sharon Y. August 28, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Erin, how mature, charming and professional of you. I will be taking my real estate business else where!
Penny Arévalo (Editor) August 28, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Sorry, cusd mom, but Patch does not allow masked swear words in the comments from our users. Feel free to repost without the actual cussing, masked as it was.
cusd mom August 28, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Sorry Penny, I will restate my comment. What do you expect from a former Fleming suporter who lost her temper at a school board meeting and used foul langauge in front of parents and children?
Donna Taylor August 28, 2012 at 11:29 PM
The key to understanding Golden State politics is knowing that the most powerful forces in Sacramento by a wide margin are the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers. Using union dues and benefiting from the bizarrely enduring notion that what is good for teachers is good for students, the CTA and CFT dominate Sacramento. Their overriding goal: operating public schools as a lucrative jobs program where practically nothing can get a teacher fired, up to and including taunting a tortured teenager for his failed suicide attempt. California education $$ are going to the teachers, both competent and incompetent, due to the unions and tenure. Every dollar going towards excessive p[ay and benefits is a dollar not being used to educate our children to be competitive in today's technological society. Get rid of the unions and tenure, instate a teacher performance system, and you’ll begin to fix education. Then and only then will I consider a tax increase.
Clint Worthington August 29, 2012 at 03:02 AM
I pretty much read Patch from beginning to end and I did not see any endorsement of this article by Jim Reardon. In addition, Penny did not write this story. I am not saying this is one of the top ten stories in Patch, however, we do enjoy freedom of the press.
Clint Worthington August 29, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Will you please tell Ms. McCormick to take her signs down in San Juan. She apparently does not know that the Municipal Code in our City does not allow signs up until 30 days before the election. If you cannot follow a simple sign law, how can you manage to govern a school district?
Clint Worthington August 29, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Sharon Y, the part that I think is amusing is that you have not stopped reading Patch despite all of your proclamations.
Clint Worthington August 29, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Matt, I have to agree with you, this makes City Council look tame. Maybe I should work the write in vote. I could work both sides. I am a union member and a conservative....
randy August 29, 2012 at 06:17 AM
SK, the upcoming election will be interesting. Politics for CUSD students. A lesson to be learned in November.
concerned parent September 04, 2012 at 04:59 PM
If anyone is in doubt about what Proposition 32 is all about, read this WSJ interview with Gloria Romero, former Senate Majority Leader in California and a pro-labor Democrat. She's actively working to get the proposition passed because of her disgust with how the California Teachers Association works in Sacramento. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444443504577601664135014368.html
Capo Parent September 04, 2012 at 11:59 PM
CTA is the largest and most powerful special interest group in CA. As can be seen, it brooks no challenge to its power and influence, and its ability to increase jobs, salaries and benefits for its members. CTA takes any challenge serious. It put up $250,000 to recall Maddox & Winsten in order to control and the board and to change how board members are elected. CTA fears Prop 32 because if it passes it will essentially neuter CTA.
Jane Lea September 06, 2012 at 09:15 PM
1) If you go to the Secretary of State's page the definition of Corporation is clear. It does not cover LLC, Partnerships, Insurance Co., Super PACs, individual billionaires, and multi-millionaire CEOs to name a few. Corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political purpose. That’s like saying, “we’re going to crack down on counterfeiting by collecting all the 3 dollar bills printed.” Sounds good however, counterfeiters don’t print 3 dollar bills. 2) It doesn’t stop any corporation from using unlimited profits to contribute to state or local campaigns. And the Supreme Court already confirmed that Corporations have the same rights as individuals and therefore, can contribute unlimited funds to any campaign. Corporations already outspend unions 15-1. 3) Labor rights aren’t etched in stone. They were won through politics and collective bargaining. So if you’re the 99% that have to work for a living say, “good bye” to, vacation leave, health insurance, 8 hour work day, minimum wage, work place health and safety laws, overtime pay, unemployment, child labor laws, meal breaks, nurse patient ratios just to name a few.
Capo Parent September 07, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Jane Lea Unions were created to counter the exploitation of workers by ruthless, uncaring employers, and they have brought about many valuable reforms in the workplace. However, like any entity, when it becomes too big, too powerful and too consumed with keeping its power and influence, bad things happen. In CA, CTA has used its size, influence and money to basically control education in CA. On need only read the recent articles on CTA to see that this is true. When you have legislators, who are addressing education issues & bills, ask what is CTA's position, you have an inkling of its size, power and influence. You may think that is a good thing, I don't. CTA is not looking out for the educational welfare of my kids and the rest of the kids in CA. It's a union, and its sole job and mission is to get the best deals, in all respects, for its members. We've seen firsthand in CUSD how that works, and it's not pretty.

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