Mod: I am not certain that you are aware of this, but when the City Council decides that it wants to raise taxes in Sierra Madre, and goes to the voters in order to do so, the city does not pay for much of the campaign. A lot of that is paid for with city employee union money, a big chunk of it coming from the Sierra Madre Police Officers Association. With Measure UUT in 2016 some of the pro-tax postcards did have the smiling pictures of City Councilmembers on them, but the city didn't pay for that, either. City employee unions did, and in exchange for such support they receive benefits, such as the cost of living raises they were given Tuesday evening. Obviously this has given them a lot of sway with City Councilmembers, who fear getting on the wrong side of such heavily financed political muscle. In case you were wondering why employee raises took precedence over the fight against mansionization. But because of yesterday's Supreme Court decision, such money could now become a lot harder to get, and the balance of power here, and in many other cities, could quickly change.
Supreme Court Deals Blow To Government Unions (NPR link): In a blow to organized labor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be charged for the cost of collective bargaining.
The vote was a predictable 5-4. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion with the court's conservatives joining him.
"Under Illinois law, public employees are forced to subsidize a union, even if they choose not to join and strongly object to the positions the union takes in collective bargaining and related activities," Alito wrote. "We conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern."
The plaintiff in this case, Mark Janus, a child-support specialist for the state of Illinois, challenged a requirement that government workers who opt out of a union still have to pay partial dues to cover the union's cost of negotiation and other functions.
In 1977, the Supreme Court had drawn a distinction between such mandatory "agency fees" and other, voluntary union dues, which might be used for lobbying or other political activity.
Wednesday's decision erases that distinction. The court's conservative wing found that negotiations by public sector unions are inherently political and nonmembers cannot be compelled to pay for them.
"In addition to affecting how public money is spent, union speech in collective bargaining addresses many other important matters," Alito wrote. "We have often recognized that such speech 'occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values' and merits 'special protection.' "
The Tattler has found a way to pay for the legal fight against mansionization
Mod: And wouldn't you know, it was right on the cover of the Mountain Views News.
There you go. Problem solved. Let me know if there is anything else.