Voters defeated Schwarzenegger’s measures to curb school
spending, fire tenured teachers
Gilroy – Despite talk of bloated spending, ineffective teachers and politically motivated union heads, all of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s four initiatives fell flat.
Now it’s evident. The aggressive and expensive campaigns staged to defeat Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77, proved worthwhile, at least to the union employees and labor representatives who fought the battle.
“I was pleased and relieved,” said Gilroy Teacher’s Association President Michelle Nelson. “(Proposition) 76 would have been very harmful to schools in general. It would have meant a cut in school funding.”
Proposition 76 would have given the governor the authority to limit spending, under certain circumstances and overturn Proposition 98, which provides increased funds for schools regardless of need or the status of the state budget.
Santa Clara County results generally mirrored those of the state on all the initiatives.
Nelson said the California Teachers Association and Alliance for a Better California conducted ” a lot of phone banking” to let the public know that Schwarzenegger’s propositions would cause more harm than help.
Also, when the volunteers made the evening calls they reminded the voter to go to the polls and vote “no.”
Echoing the criticism of many initiative opponents, Nelson said the cash that funded the special election should have been used elsewhere.
“I wonder what this amount of money would have purchased,” she said. “There’s so much that could have been done with that much money.
Many local educators greeted the GTA president with smiles when she was out and about on Wednesday.
“I was visiting schools today and people were clapping and giving me high-fives,” said Nelson. “I went to one lunch room and they whooped … So people, in general, were quite pleased. They didn’t appreciate being targeted. They work very hard and I think most teachers feel they were being targeted and the blame was coming down on them for everything.”
Assemblyman Simon Salinas was also smiling over Tuesday’s results.
“I think the voters sent a clear message to the governor and that message was that governing is not easy,” said the Salinas Democrat, who voted against all of the initiatives.
The former teacher said he was particularly offended by the attack on educators that came in the form of Propositions 74 and 76. Salinas said Proposition 74, which would have increased the probationary period to five years and required the firing of an educator after two consecutive unsatisfactory reviews, was simply ” a punitive measure to scapegoat the teachers.”
Salinas said he thought, from the onset of Schwarzenegger’s special election campaign that the initiatives were flawed and that they weren’t addressing hot-button issues.
Because Schwarzenegger refused to go to the table with California legislators and negotiate, the initiatives failed, said Salinas.
By the numbers
Prop 73, minor abortion notification
• Santa Clara County: : Yes: 37 percent, No: 63 percent
• State: Yes: 47 percent, No: 53 percent
Proposition 74: teacher tenure
• County: Yes: 38 percent, No: 62 percent
• State: Yes: 45 percent, No: 55 percent
Proposition 75, union dues
• County: Yes: 41 percent, No: 59 percent
• State: Yes: 47 percent, No: 54 percent
Proposition 76, school funding
• County: Yes: 32 percent, No: 68 percent
• State: Yes: 38 percent, No: 62 percent
Proposition 77, redistricting
• County: Yes: 37 percent, No: 63 percent
• State: Yes: 41 percent, No: 60 percent
Proposition 78, drug discounts
• County: Yes: 36 percent, No: 64 percent
• State: Yes: 42 percent, No: 59 percent
Proposition 79, drug rebates
• County: Yes: 40 percent, No: 60 percent
• State: Yes: 39 percent, No: 61 percent
Proposition 80, electric regulation
• County: Yes: 33 percent, No: 67 percent
• State: Yes: 34 percent, No: 66 percent