Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [existlist]Anti trust

Expand Messages
  • bhvwd
    ... I must agree with your bleak asessment that this and other factors could literally destroy California. Loading up pension systems is another area
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 24, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Bill,
      >
      > This describes the California Corrections Officers Union very well.
      >
      > Tom
      > Tom, How we create these monsters is often an odd confluence of unrelated factors that come togeather to displace and destroy the very institutions that were supposed to benefit from the health of the rogue system.
      I must agree with your bleak asessment that this and other factors could literally destroy California. Loading up pension systems is another area where we are destroying ourselves with highly targeted greed. Yes, the only relief is to let them fall by their own mismanagement.
      The summer frightens me. The unemployment numbers are predicted to be very bad. Here in Iowa it is if we are in a recession free zone. The fact that we have fuel, food and the monster insurance causes a durable basis for a better economy. Wells fargo is hiring 5000 new employees while the area developed by General Growth around Wells fargo`s new center is now in foreclosure. I have outlasted General Growth and it is a total suprise. Obama was just here to inspect the refurbished factory that builds monster turbin blades for wind generators. It used to be Maytag. The engineers seem to think we will have enough power from these whirleygigs to power the society but I have great doubts. But then I never expected to out last a monster like General Growth.
      A fellow business owner thinks this whole fiasco is being staged to keep the boomers working because the GenX and millenials are so incompetant they can not hold a substantive job. All those MBA`s and no make work available for the best and brightest. I think American Business as we knew it is going down in flames. The dreaded system is showing itself to be a straw man that is blowing away as we watch in amasement. The banks turn out to be hapless conduits for government cash. What produces wealth in a society? How many guards can you hire to guard nonviolent prisinors and of course who will guarantee their bloated salaries and pensions.
      I call this floundering and I doubt it can go on indefinitely. many of us see things that are horribly out of order but even pointing out such situations can be most detremental to ones health and prosperity. I,of course , think we are undergoing a philosophical earthquake that can only be ridden out, survived. I am working too hard to even lift my head from the wheel I have created. They want me to do more and it will literally kill me. It is hard to say no to doing good things. Bill
      >
      >
      > The California Prison Guards' Union
      > A Potent Political Interest Group
      > by Dan Pens, March 1995
      > from a book
      > The Celling of America
      > edited by Daniel Burton-Rose
      > with editors of Prison Legal News
      > Dan Pens and Paul Wright
      > Common Courage Press, 1998
      >
      >
      >
      > There is a well fed Political Interest Group feasting at the California public trough, and most taxpayers are unaware of the huge growth in this creature's appetite and political clout. It has grown from a political runt to one of the biggest hogs in the barnyard in an incredibly short span of time. This group has swelled with such swiftness and cunning that most California taxpayers would not even recognize its name, much less realize how much of an impact it is having on their pocketbooks and on the state's economy. The group I'm speaking of is the California Correctional Peace Officer's Association (CCPOA).
      > In 1980 there were 22,500 prisoners in California. The average salary for California prison guards was $14,400 a year. The state budget for corrections was $300 million per year. In the past, California schools and universities were the envy of the world. The state's economy was strong, bolstered by huge numbers of defense jobs. CCPOA was a politically minuscule organization vying for attention among the giants of fat defense contractors.
      > By 1996 there were more than l40,000 prisoners in California. The average salary for California prison guards is $44,000 per year (well over $50,000 with benefits)-$ l 0,000 more than the average teacher's salary. Prison guards require only a high school education and a six week training course. Most teaching jobs require at least an undergraduate degree in education. In 1993 California spent a greater portion of its state budget on prisons than it did for education for the first time (compared to as recently as fiscal year 1983/84 when California spent 3.9 percent of its budget on its prison system, and 10 percent on higher education). The state corrections budget in 1994 was $3 billion. The demise of the Cold War meant the decline of defense jobs. According to the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament, a non-profit Washington D.C. group, there has been a decline of over 750,000 defense related jobs in the last five years alone-most of them in California. But as the military-industrial complex is waning in California, the prison-industrial complex is mushrooming. In this way California's wealth now comes not only from perpetuating the misery of millions of people around the world, but also from the rigidly enforced misery of thousands of its own citizens. Between 1984 and 1994 California added a whopping 25,900 prison employees, substantially more than were added to all other state departments combined (16,000). By one estimate, hiring for prisons has accounted for 45 percent of the growth in all California jobs in that ten year period.
      > The CCPOA's rise to political power can be traced to 1980, when Don Novey became the group's president. Novey is the son of a prison guard. He graduated from American River College and served in Army Intelligence in the late '60s. Before becoming the head of the union, he worked as a prison guard in Folsom.
      > Prior to Novey's ascendancy, the union had been a pitifully weak organization, with a membership divided between the California State Employees' Association and the California Correctional Officers' Association. In all it had only about 5,600 members. But when Novey took over its leadership, the union combined Youth Authority supervisors and parole officers with prison guards, and with the acceleration of prison building, the CCPOA membership has swelled to 23,000 members.
      > Recognizing not only the political importance of lobbying but the power of public relations, Novey began spending about half a million dollars on PR and on honing a public image for himself: that of the self-depreciating, fedora-wearing, blue collar labor leader. But it is in the arena of political lobbying, rather than PR, that Novey has shown true genius.
      > The CCPOA collects nearly $8 million a year in dues, and it expends twice as much in political contributions as the California Teachers Association, although it is only one-tenth the size. The union is now second in the state only to the California Medical Association in political contributions. But in reality it is the most powerful and influential lobbying group in the state, as there are no vested interests against spending more on prisons. Don Novey has shaped the CCPOA into a potent political force. Candidates for governor have genuflected at Novey's feet in hopes of gaining the endorsement and deep pocket largess of his association, and have submitted to grilling by the union leadership to see if they were worthy. Jack Meola, the CCPOA's executive vice president, says their questioning of candidates is intense. "Our primary goal is to protect the public," he says in his smooth PR banter to the press, "to keep thugs off the street and in jail where they belong." To fail the test, Novey maintains, could mean the difference between victory and defeat. Diane Feinstein found that out in 1990 when Novey's union gave almost $1 million to enthrone law enforcement's friend, Pete Wilson, in the California State House.
      > And, of course, the union not only wields the political stick, it also dispenses the carrot, and not just to Pete Wilson. Novey and his union contributed $76,000 to the 1992 re-election campaign of David Elder, the chair of the state assembly's Committee on Public Employment and Security-the very same committee that rules directly on the pay and benefits of prison guards. And they received value for their political contribution dollar. Prison guards got raises six months ahead of other state government employees. Their average salary of $44,000 per year is 58 percent above the national average for prison guards. And they now boast one of the best pension plans of any state employee. In addition to excellent medical coverage, they receive 75 percent of their salary at the time of retirement, which can be 55 after 30 years' service, and they get a 2 percent yearly increase after two years of retirement.
      > To ward off the critics, Novey's PR machine drums up the theme that prison guards patrol "the toughest beat in the state." But that simply is not the case. Over the past three decades 13 prison guards have been killed throughout the state, compared with 63 officers in the LAPD-an organization with half the members of the CCPOA's 14,000 who serve as guards. (The rest of the 23,O00 CCPOA members work in parole or as Youth Authority supervisors.)
      > The slick PR is aimed mainly at the public. State politicians don't need to hear any propaganda to toe the CCPOA line. They know that one false step could result in Novey pulling a "Vasconcellos" on them. That is, the CCPOA richly endowing the campaign coffers of their opponent, as Novey's union did to John Vasconcellos, the chair of the state assembly's Ways and Means Committee and an opponent of the prison building boom. Although it was generally conceded that Vasconcellos' seat was among the more secure in the assembly, the CCPOA still laid more than $75,000 in the lap of Vasconcellos' 1992 opponent, just to let him know that it did not appreciate him signing the ballot argument against the prison bond initiative in 1990, or questioning the fat contracts being awarded to prison guards at a time when the state was in the most dire fiscal straits since the Great Depression. Vasconcellos was re-elected in 1992 with a substantial majority, but a clear, sharp message had been sent to the self-described "progressive" who has labored long and hard for a more thoughtful approach to crime and incarceration, as well to any other state politicians who might entertain the thought of publicly opposing prison-building legislation or criticize the guards' union.
      > The crowning glory of the CCPOA's political action campaign is without a doubt the passage of Proposition 184, the "Three Strikes" Initiative. The CCPOA contributed $101,000 to get Prop 184 on the ballot. The CCPOA donation was clearly a key factor in getting the initiative on the ballot and on getting it passed. Even though the legislature had already been cowed into passing virtually identical legislation, the fact that it was passed by voter initiative ensures that the legislature cannot easily modify this "Prison Guard Full Employment Act." CCPOA member Lt. Kevin Peters summed up the membership's position on "Three Strikes" when he said:
      > You can get a job anywhere. This is a career. And with the upward mobility and rapid expansion of the department, there are opportunities for the people who are [already] correction staff, and opportunities for the general public to become correctional officers. We've gone from 12 institutions to 28 in 12 years, and with 'Three Strikes' and the overcrowding we're going to experience with that, we're going to need to build at least three prisons a year for the next five years. Each one of those institutions will take approximately 1,000 employees.
      > But Lt. Peters, like the CCPOA as a whole, can see no farther than the end of the snout he has buried in the public trough. Though the public has been hoodwinked by a crime-fear hysteria fueled by the media-and capitalized on by both political parties to gain the attention and affection of voters-critics are beginning to voice their doubt and concern over the direction these misguided policies are taking California. The once Golden State, whose public education system was the envy of the world, now ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in spending from kindergarten through high school. There are almost no meaningful drug rehabilitation programs in California, and almost no housing for the homeless; hospital emergency rooms are closing all over the state; libraries in L.A. County are closed on weekends, and many are open only two days a week; kids in some of the poorest neighborhoods have no place to go after school; and California now spends more on prisons than it does on colleges and universities. It is in a climate such as this that jack-booted reactionaries are able to sound the Nazi-like alarm that immigrants are the cause of the state's budget woes and the reason there are not enough jobs, schooling, medical and social services to go around.
      > Many corporations have fled California because of increased state taxes, and taken their jobs with them. Although the decrease in industrial jobs has been partly offset by increases in corrections jobs, it doesn't take a genius to see that this trend doesn't make for a viable economic strategy. As more and more working wage jobs are eliminated, the unemployed and the poor will have fewer and fewer economic opportunities. The state budget for health, education and social services will continue to be bled by the prison expansion programs.
      > According to James Gomez, California's former Director of Corrections, it will cost $40 billion to build the 21 new prisons required to house the surge in prisoners that "Three Strikes" (and similar "get tough" laws) will generate, and an additional $5.5 billion a year to run them. A RAND Corporation study predicts the corrections budget will double, growing from 9 percent of all state expenditures to 18 percent. It also predicts that prosecution costs will soar. "To support implementation of the law, total spending for higher education and other government services would have to fall by more than 40 percent over the next eight years," the RAND report concludes. The CCPOA is spearheading a political and economic strategy that will lead California into an abyss.
      > But perhaps this is the only direction that may lead to eventual social and economic justice. The prospects for evolutionary shifts to the left grow dimmer and dimmer. Perhaps it is only after the state drives itself into an abyss that a radical revolutionary shift can take place. That remains to be seen.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.