Video by prison guards union links campaign donations to new contract

California Correctional Peace Officers Association
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The union spent $7 million on last year’s elections, and of the 107 candidates it endorsed, 104 were elected.

By Steve LopezMay 22, 2011

Last week, I found myself cruising the website of the California prison guards union. I was curious about whether the $7 million the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. spent on last year’s elections — including $2 million on Jerry Brown‘s governor’s race alone — might have had something to do with the contract the union just scored.

And right there at, I saw a video called “Winners.”

What could that be?

When I clicked on it, the video began with a guy sprinting while carrying a long stick. I figured it was an inmate trying to pole vault over the wall in a breakout attempt.

But the pole vaulter didn’t make it.

“No one clears the bar every time,” said a narrator as dramatic music swelled, like something from the Olympics.

This wasn’t a breakout attempt at a state prison after all. It really was a pole vaulter on a track somewhere.

And the point?

Like a determined athlete, the CCPOA — one of the most powerful lobbying forces in California — doesn’t quit. And its perseverance pays off.

“We won big this year,” the narrator says. “Played a decisive role in electing the governor. Elected new friends in the Legislature. Made a difference for the men and women who walk the toughest beat. We win because we never quit, and that’s what makes us CCPOA.”

The video was posted in January, a post-election victory lap, and in it CCPOA officials gloat about their win at the polls, predicting many happy returns come contract time.

“We’ve had a long-term relationship with Jerry Brown,” union president Mike Jimenez says. “He’s got really good intuition … on what we need as a profession.”

“We should be able to develop a good contract with this governor,” says union lobbyist Craig Brown, “and we should have no trouble getting it ratified.”

The narrator then steps in:

“Of the 107 candidates endorsed by CCPOA this election, 104 were victorious.”

And that new contract? As my colleague Jack Dolan reported, it has lots of goodies.

Would you like eight weeks of time off in a year?

Become a prison guard.

Continue Reading @ The LA Times


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