If you haven't read it yet, I recommend that anyone with an interest in California government (and the roots of its dysfunction) sit down with Daniel DiSalvo's new report on the power that big labor exerts on Golden State politics. The whole thing is worth a read, but the number that jumped out at me is the same one that Brian Calle highlights in the Orange County Register:
Reviewing more than 30 years of data ... [DiSalvo] found that since 1980, public employee unions have been successful in defeating 75 percent of the ballot initiatives they opposed and have won in 50 percent of the initiatives they supported. That means unions possess an uncanny record when it comes to playing defense, "using initiative campaigns to block proposals that threaten their interests." And when on offense they get what they want half of the time, a record that would make any special interest group in the country envious.
Of course, Proposition 32 on this November's California ballot -- which would keep unions from being able to use members' dues for political purposes without first gaining their consent -- has the potential to end this reign of terror.
Contra the claims by big labor, it won't leave the working man without a voice in the political system; it will just make sure that voice is his own, not that of his rent-seeking overlords. Minus Prop 32's passage, it's virtually impossible to imagine that the kleptocracy DiSalvo describes will end anytime soon.