Loren Scott is active in Los Angeles Democratic Party politics, the NEA, California Teachers Assocation. and a representative to UTLA (United Teachers of Los Angeles). This request is prompted by talk of NEA endorsing Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary which will determine the party’s nominee. A vote on the endorsement could occur as early as this weekend. His previous post on this issue is here. –Ed.
Dear NEA Board members from California,
Please vote NO to an early endorsement for Hillary Clinton.
As an elected CTA/ABC representative serving in both CTA State Council and the NEA Representative Assembly, I consider myself politically pragmatic and understand the positive and negative nuance involved in this endorsement. Despite the emotional impact of angered Sanders supporters, it seems to me what was not considered was how this endorsement would affect California specifically.
Through conversations and emails, I have been in contact with as many as 100 members surrounding this endorsement. From those conversations, I have come to the conclusion that this is not about Clinton or Sanders, it’s about timing and process.
I am quickly learning the average member doesn’t understand the difference between a State PAC and a National one. They are invariably equating your action of endorsement with what we are doing in the State.
In case you don’t know, we in CTA/ABC are beginning a campaign to raise the ABC PAC dues. This is necessary because the amount of money CTA’s political opponents are spending against us are increasing exponentially, and we haven’t increased the amount to fight them in fifteen years. Worse, we at UTLA are in the middle of a dues restructuring campaign of our own that has our members questioning why giving more money is even necessary.
As I promote the increases, members are now saying they will never vote for more dues money that goes toward candidates they don’t necessary support. I try to explain they aren’t connected but many don’t care. They see the NEA’s process as a unilateral action much like AFT’s. A process many of my CTA members felt was clearly biased. Here, those same members feel we are now doing the same thing.
Along similar lines, the members I have talked to all feel that they haven’t had any say in this process. My fellow RA members have reminded me on numerous occasions that we were specifically told that an endorsement wouldn’t happen until Washington’s RA. Then to say the by-laws allows an early endorsement without an RA vote appears deceiving.
Beyond that, with the Friedrichs decision looming over our heads, a decision many feel is more likely to happen than not, we may soon have to enlist our members. I ask how does this endorsement affect our ability to retain our membership? If it affects it in any way, moving forward with the endorsement would be highly problematic.
Let’s be honest, California is clearly split. Even if half the people say they want it and the other half don’t, that should send the clear message that we are highly divided and shouldn’t vote yes. A yes vote would prove to those members that the process is visibly non-inclusive, non-transparent, and would not be representing your constituency.
Please consider the ramifications of what an early endorsement might do to CTA. Do not rubberstamp the endorsement.
CTA/ABC District J Representative,
NEA Representative Assembly member