Following the money: Prop 82

We know that Prop. 82, the measure on the primary ballot that would provide preschool to all California 4-year-olds, is being fought by big business interests. What you may not realize is that the No. 1 donor against Prop. 82 is Don Fisher, owner of The Gap, who along with his family has put in hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat the measure. Of course, Fisher has made much of his fortune by clothing kids. Is it more important that they look good than be properly prepared for a lifetime of learning?
Of course the so-called Californians for Civil Justice Reform (anti-lawyer folks) have put in enormous amounts in opposition to this Proposition and millions into other Independent Expenditures. They’re the
multi-national corporations who don’t want any legal responsibility for actions that hurt consumers. And while the L.A. Chamber of Commerce has shown great leadership in endorsing Prop 82, the California Chamber is still refusing to accept that we need these investments in our children for our state to prosper in the long term. The Prop 82 campaign has a wealth of information on this. More on the flip…

Well over half the money opposing Prop 82 has come from the Bay area, led b y Mr. Fisher. He has targeted his friends and colleagues at a number of Venture Capital and Investment firms who have, in turn, donated hundreds of thousands individually to defeat this measure.
I’ve been talking up Prop 82 to a number of our folks who are tentative because of the misinformation about the Initiative. The bottom line is really that California is leading the nation on this very important and progressive issue. If it fails, we won’t see a groundswell on it for years to come. But if it
succeeds, it will be the catalyst for other states to fall in line. What a great sea-change for education this would be!
And of course, California may be just one of fifty states, but we are truly a nation-state which has led the country on so many critical issues — from clean air and water to civil and human rights. We really need to focus on it as the state that does, indeed, “invent the future.”
This is a common sense policy, which will create quality pre-school for all of our kids, when right now only one in 5 today gets that quality. And contrary to what the anti-Prop 82 forces say, this will help middle-class families because they won’t have to sacrifice other essentials to pay for their children’s pre-school experience. That is why so many of our state’s respected leaders have endorsed this measure, including Senators Boxer and Feinstein, as well as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The opposition’s arguments are dishonest and illogical. They claim that this additional $2.4 billion that would be raised from Prop 82 would be better spent on fixing up our K-12 schools. The problem with that argument is that these interest have not been willing to put more money into anything!
Secondly, if our kids are better prepared at this critical early age, they’ll do better when they get to kindergarten and first grade, thus giving them a better chance. Their final argument is the “parent tax,” which is just untrue. The tax that would pay for Prop 82 is only on the wealthiest Californians, and hardly makes a dent in the windfall of tax cuts they have received from the Bush Administration.
Prop 82 is an excellent proposal that puts our kids first, not the greedy Venture Capitalists, Investment Companies and already ultra-rich individuals who just don’t think it’s their responsibility to give back. The fact is: Our middle-class families are having their backs broken with the cost of quality day
care and pre-school. This will lift that burden, and assure that all Californias children have an equal opportunity to start their educational careers out right.