Take two politically powerful labor organizations and put them in the same room with a business association that helped bankroll an effort to cut into political cash spent by the labor organizations.
You'd get chaos, chairs being thrown, right? Wrong.
This morning, the presidents of the California Teachers Association (CTA), the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), and the California Business Properties Association (CBPA) held a joint news conference... to say they're going to start working together as a team on a new effort to fix the state's education system.
The event offered very few specifics about this new "partnership" and what ideas it might have about improvements in K-12 and community college education.
In fact, the only agreement announced was that the CTA has agreed to abandon its efforts for an initiative on the June 2006 ballot for new property taxes on businesses-- money earmarked for education-- even though they claim to have had enough signatures.
Reporters at the event wanted to know why the CTA was dropping the initiative: too expensive to fund that campaign and all of the efforts on the November 8 ballot? Did the business community agree to stay out of other political measures? Is it related to efforts in the Legislature to raise taxes for the portion of school funding educators say they are still due?
None of those questions was really answered, except that the new alliance is a work in progress.
And as mentioned in the first sentence, what makes this alliance all the more unusual is Proposition 75, the November ballot measure to force public employee unions to get written permission before spending member dues on political activities.
CTA and CCPOA are some of the most vocal, and active, opponents of Prop 75... while the CBPA gave $200,000 to the committee that helped get Prop 75 on the ballot. Wouldn't that fact affect any future abilities to work together?