Associated Press

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

Hundreds Rally Against Props. 226 and 227
By STEVE GEISSINGER, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO -- Hundreds of people from groups representing women, seniors, children, clergy, homeless, immigrants and minorities rallied Tuesday against Propositions 226 and 227.

Demonstrators outside the Capitol called Prop. 226 an anti-union measure that would silence the voice of working people and Prop. 227 an anti-immigrant initiative that would harm children.

The propositions are "attacks on our sovereignty, on our principles, on our values, on ourselves," said Renee Saucedo of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

The Rev. Eugene Boyle of the interfaith council of Santa Clara County condemned the measures as "short-sighted, misdirected and mean-spirited."

Both measures are on the June 2 statewide ballot. Prop. 226 would require labor unions to get permission annually from individual members before using union dues for political contributions. Prop. 227 would require public school instruction to be conducted in English and end most bilingual education programs.

Supporters of Prop. 226 say it's needed to ensure workers' money won't be used for causes they oppose. Prop. 227 backers say bilingual programs have failed students, who need to be taught in English.

Demonstrators asked Gov. Pete Wilson to oppose both measures. But Wilson -- as a lead promoter of Prop. 226 -- is campaigning vigorously for the initiative. He announced his support Monday for Prop. 227.

Wilson's office denied the groups use of the Capitol news conference room over what demonstrators called a technicality. And extra state police were posted in and around the Capitol.

Members of the groups also met individually with legislators, asking -- among other things -- for expansion of the state food program, broadening of health care programs and an increase in the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, at a separate event, the Business Roundtable, the California Taxpayers Association and People's Advocate held a news conference to oppose another June 2 ballot measure, Prop. 223.

The initiative would prohibit school districts from spending more than 5 percent for administration. Supporters say it's needed to channel more funds into teaching.

"Proposition 223 doesn't help our schools," said Bill Hauck of the Business Roundtable. "As written, it will result in a reduction of funding for most schools in the state."

Also on Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-1 to go on record as opposing 227.

The resolution was sponsored by Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, former school board president and herself a former teacher of English as a second language.