Do You Feel Unlucky Today, Punk?


It's hard to say precisely which of California's public sector unions is the most vile, but I'd place my bets with the Golden State's Correctional Peace Officers Association, which has spread $4.8 million to the majority of Sacramento lawmakers over the past decade, while enjoying uncoincidental double-digit pay increases, a massive prison expansion, and probably looser-than-healthy oversight of rampant prisoner abuse, according to this useful data-mining article by Los Angeles Times reporter Dan Morain. Now, several years too late, the prison guards are getting a bit of a political pushback, from Gov. Schwarzenegger (who refuses to take their money and has pushed for reform to address various prisoner-abuse scandals), and 17 Democratic state senators, who announced Tuesday that the latest $200 million, 11.3% pay increase is an influence-peddle too far.

The union response was typically disgusting:

"In the prison system, if you give in to a bully, you're a punk," [Union Executive Vice President Lance] Corcoran said. The guards union "has never been a punk. I can't say it any more clearly than that."

There is, to be sure, another way of describing "punk": A rape victim who gets little sympathy from the very guards who are presumably supposed to help protect his safety. At any rate, if you accept the analogy, try to figure out who's playing the punk in this exchange:

Thirty-eight veteran lawmakers have voted for every union-sponsored bill to come before them that has become law, according to a review of nearly 40 measures dating to 1994. Twenty-five others either have abstained on occasion or cast no more than a single no vote on those bills. Only one veteran legislator, state Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), has voted no more often than he has supported guards' bills.