July 21, 2004

Somebody's Awake

The San Jose Mercury News publishes an article entitled, Governor observes 'special interests' with partisan lens.

...Just as unions and trial attorneys lavish Democrats with campaign contributions and lobby to pursue a narrow set of interests, so do many of Schwarzenegger's most generous donors who are immune from his criticism.

As budget talks languish almost three weeks into the new fiscal year, the governor has blamed Democrats' allegiance to special interests for their resistance to limit workplace lawsuits and open up more public school contracts to private firms.

...Yet Schwarzenegger has acceded to Republican demands to drop $10 million in proposed fees on the timber industry that GOP lawmakers and business lobbyists consider tax increases.

...Former Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Richard Costigan, now the governor's legislative secretary, is working with Republican legislators to repeal two laws that have become central to budget talks. One made it easier for workers to sue their employers. The other restricted public schools from hiring private companies for services such as busing students.

Two of Schwarzenegger's top donors -- Ameriquest Capital, a mortgage lender, and the car company Toyota -- have lobbied to scrap the first law, one they call "sue your boss.''

...Central to the repeal of the second law is the nation's largest private school bus company -- Laidlaw Education Services -- which has led efforts to organize a coalition of school officials and hire consultants who also work for Schwarzenegger.

At a rally on the Capitol lawn Tuesday, dozens of bus drivers and maintenance workers who want to ensure they are paid union-scale wages waved signs that read: ``Who is the real special interest? Laidlaw.'' ...

If you ever want to see a school bus driver get worked up, just bring up Laidlaw, and sit back to watch the show. Within the industry, the company has a long time reputation for low pay and poorer safety records than municipal buses.

As for the rest, 'special interests' has long been a term so malleable and poorly defined that it couldn't be scrapped soon enough for my taste. Why not just say corporate interests, or labor interests, or whatever. Although when you complain about labor interests, I guess you run the risk of reminding nearly everybody that they also happen to be laborers.

Bloody Democrats, enslaved to Big Employees. (And if only *that* were as true as it should be.)

Posted by natasha at July 21, 2004 06:41 PM | US Politics | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |