TEACHER'S UNION DEMAND PATRIOT'S JAIL TIME
March 22, 2005
Friday, March 25th, yours truly will appear once again before a Multnomah County judge on a charge of contempt of court. Oregon�s two largest teachers unions are demanding that the same judge who presided over an earlier case, one in which I was not even a party, this time put me in jail for six months for allegedly violating a court order.
Will I really be going to jail for six months? Frankly, I have no idea. So far, this judge has given the Oregon Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers pretty much everything they have requested. His decisions usually quote the unions� motions word for word.
So, what kind of dastardly deed have I allegedly done to warrant six months behind bars? Have I burglarized a home? Forged signatures on a check? Heisted a car? No, none of those things would land a guy in jail for six months. Not in Oregon, anyway.
My alleged sin is political. Last year, I raised money and placed a measure on the ballot in Douglas County, a conservative county about three hours south of Portland. The measure, which by the way passed overwhelmingly, made it illegal for public employee unions to use taxpayer resources to collect their political funds.
The unions claim that the $25,000 or so I raised should have been given to them as payment on a $4 million judgment, stemming from the aforementioned 2002 lawsuit, in which I was not even a party.
There are all kinds of problems with the unions� demand that the judge send me to jail for raising and spending money for the reason I told the donors I would send it. First of all, the people who contributed the money, donated it specifically to put these local measures on the ballot. None of the folks who donated the money would have done so, if they had thought for a moment that their money was going to be paid to the public employee unions, instead of being spent on the signature drives they were asked to support. In other words, I had no right to spend the money for any reason other than the one I gave when I asked for the money.
Second, even a conservative tax activist in Oregon has a constitutionally guaranteed First Amendment right to raise money, collect signatures, and place measures on the ballot, and that�s all I did. Funny thing is, even a convicted felon languishing in prison has full First Amendment rights in this state, including the right to vote Democrat. I, who have not even been so much as charged with a crime, should have at least the same rights as an inmate in prison.
Third, the last time I checked, debtors prisons were illegal in this country. It is my understanding that we don�t put people in jail in this country for not being able to pay a debt. Nonetheless, the teachers unions are asking a judge to send me to jail for six months or until I pay them the money I raised to put those measures on the ballot.
So, what�s all this ruckus really about? Certainly, it is not about a measly $25,000. What are the unions really trying to accomplish? It�s actually quite simple. All the teachers unions and the other public employee unions in Oregon want is for me to stop giving the voters of this state the opportunity to vote on measures that affect the ability of labor unions to deduct money from the paychecks of employees without first asking permission.
That�s my real sin. Over the past seven years, I have gathered enough signatures and placed several �Paycheck Protection� measures on the ballot, and each time the measures have almost passed, even after the unions spent millions of dollars campaigning against them. The unions are tired of spending all that money and afraid that eventually one of my measures will pass.
The public employee unions are fully aware that if they are limited only to the political money employees willingly give them, their political power will all but disappear. Public employee unions will go from being the 800-pound gorilla of Oregon politics to being political nobodies.
If the teachers unions have to put me in jail to stop me from putting �Paycheck Protection� measures on the ballot, then that is what they will do.
Would a legitimate court go along with such a scheme? We will find that out on Friday. This much I can tell you for sure: Every elected Democrat in Oregon, and most of the rest of the country for that matter, is fully aware that public employee unions are the biggest contributors to Democrat candidates for public office.
Judicial positions are no exception. Judges know quite well where the campaign bucks lie, and whom even they should not cross.
� 2004 Bill Sizemore - All Rights Reserved
Read Judge Napolitano's book "Constitutional Chaos" and find out how corrupt the judicial system has become.
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Bill Sizemore is a registered Independent who
works as executive director of the Oregon Taxpayers Union, a statewide
taxpayer organization. Bill was the Republican candidate for governor
in 1998. He and his wife Cindy have four children, ages eight to thirteen,
and live on 36 acres in Beavercreek, just southeast of Oregon City, Oregon.