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Mayor Villaraigosa accuses Prop 32 campaign of misrepresenting his remarks

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lashed out today at the Proposition 32 campaign for suggesting that he supports the measure that would prohibit labor unions from deducting political contributions from members' paychecks.

In a letter to the campaign, the mayor accuses supporters of misusing his remarks on the failure of a state senate bill to suggest that he supports Prop 32. SB 1530  would have made it easier to dismiss teachers involved in drug and sexual abuse cases, but it was strongly opposed by teachers’ unions. In an Associated Press story cited by the campaign, Villaraigosa called the defeat a “cynical political manipulation.”

Those remarks were then picked up and used in a Yes on Proposition 32 commercial posted to YouTube. However, in a letter released today, Villaraigosa said that his comments were taken out of context by the campaign.

“Your unauthorized use of my name and words creates a misleading impression for voters that I support Prop 32. This is patently false. Moreover, it is a cynical and disrespectful manipulation of the initiative process. Voters deserve the truthful information,” he wrote in his letter.

A spokesman for Prop 32 disputed that characterization. 

"The context is specific and crystal clear. The mayor was right to express outrage over the state's powerful teachers union blocking a bill that would have made it easier to remove child molesters from California's classrooms,” said spokesman Jake Suski.  

“As we've come to expect, this is another politician saying one thing to voters and then retreating in the face of special interest influence."    

Proposition 32 would prohibit unions from using payroll-deductions for political purposes. It would also prevent unions and corporations from contributing to candidates and candidate-controlled committees.

The measure will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

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