From the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Daily Report this morning…
Failure to launch: A group of public school teachers has failed in its efforts to recall Gov. Bobby Jindal and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley. Angie Bonvillain and Brenda Romero, the two Calcasieu Parish teachers leading the effort, tell The Associated Press today that they didn’t get enough signatures to force a recall election. The deadline to meet the benchmark was Tuesday. The hurdle to recall a governor is a minimum of 950,000 signatures, while the benchmark for forcing a new election in a House district is about 9,000 verified signatures. Bonvillain and Romero didn’t say how many signatures were collected.
What a shame.
The recalls were good for somebody, though not exactly the folks they were intended to benefit.
“The voters didn’t buy what the teachers’ unions were selling. The governor’s education reforms aren’t a war on teachers, they’ll help education and they’ll be good for everybody,” said Jason Dore’, the Executive Director of the state GOP, about the failed recall. “This isn’t Wisconsin, thankfully the unions aren’t as strong, and while the teachers’ unions are the last bastion of unionism in the state, they had a losing argument on this issue.”
Dore’ said that the Louisiana Republican Party did a fundraising campaign to fight the recalls, and pulled in well over $100,000 in donations.
The recall people wouldn’t say what they raised. They won’t even say how many signatures they collected. Which means they raised diddly poo and got bupkis for signatures.
One reason for that was the teachers’ union bosses weren’t really behind it.
Sure, Joyce Haynes and the Louisiana Association of Educators backed the recall. Haynes will go swimming with sharks if somebody suggests it. That bit about discretion being the better part of valor never really caught on with her.
But the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, which is the union with a little more influence, punted on that thing even though its president Steve Monaghan used the word “recall” about 30 times in a 10-minute speech on the state capital steps when Jindal’s education reform plan was being debated.
But when the recall got started, amid glorious fanfare from the various papers around the state, LFT’s board wouldn’t endorse it the way LAE’s board did.
It wouldn’t have mattered. Louisiana doesn’t have 950,000 pissed-off union teachers, so the effort was doomed even if both unions had backed it.
Monaghan knew that, so he played Lucy to Haynes’ Charlie Brown.
And the recall landed flat on its back.
So, where do we go from here? Well, the problem with making a big deal about seeking a recall of Jindal and a number of his key supporters in the legislature is that you’ve declared war on them. And when you shoot bullets at somebody, they’re justified in shooting back whether your bullets are blanks or not.
Which is what Jindal ought to do. Now that the teachers’ unions have foolishly tried to recall him, he might as well push a bill which outlaws direct-deposit dues to teachers’ unions from public school systems in the state – since those dues are used for political purposes. There was a bill by Rep. Bob Hensgens to that effect in the House this past year, but it was quietly smothered amid the clamor of the education reform package. But since that’s not jeopardized by an anti-union bill now, nothing should stop the governor from supporting a redux of that bill and having his people push it.
The guess is that bill would make it through the House, and in the Senate it’ll pass if the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry backs it. Which they likely will, since they were in tacit support of that bill this year. And if LABI backs that bill next year, Sen. John Alario and his 100 percent rating from LABI will make sure it passes – Alario knows he’s got to have that score in his back pocket if he wants to keep people from remembering his sordid past as an Edwin Edwards stooge.
And if a bill which forces LFT and LAE to actually collect checks from public school teachers they want to have as members becomes law in Louisiana, those two unions will collapse into nothing. A similar bill in Utah wiped out 82 percent of teacher union membership in less than three years, and that was the end of the teachers’ unions as a viable political entity in that state.
How does the old Ralph Waldo Emerson line go? “When you strike at a king, you must kill him?”
Well, they struck. And they missed. Jindal can have his turn now, and the guess is he won’t miss. Look for Hensgens’ bill to make a triumphant return next spring.