Tragic Realities of the Democratic Process in California

October 18, 2021 Updated: October 19, 2021


I encourage everyone to run for public office. Try to do it at least once, whether it’s for city council or your local water or school district board.

You need to appreciate the democratic process. You’ll learn so much as you briefly run a small nonprofit, like raising money and communicating with voters. You’ll learn the usefulness, or not, of a political consultant. The formalities of your political party, and whether you will receive their support or not, will be a reality check. And appreciating independent expenditure committees and political action committees will rock your world.

You’ll also make a lot of friends and many enemies along the way. But the biggest secret you’ll learn is the dominance and influence of public employee union political action committees.

For purity’s sake, you shouldn’t accept political contributions from those that you will be facing at the bargaining table, should you be successful in getting elected. Taking their endorsements, independent expenditures, or direct financial support is a classic conflict of interest. You’ll realize that the ability of government employees to literally select their bosses is legal and pervasive. That’s why you may see an initiative on your November 2022 ballot addressing this massive flaw in our governing structure.

If you are not the beneficiary of a public employee union’s largesse, then good for you. And good luck. But if you’re considered a viable candidate and someone who has a record of being fiscally conservative and focused on balancing budgets and reducing debts, you’ll be a target for the unions. They don’t want you in elected office. They want pliable candidates who will be cooperative during negotiations and vote for the salary and benefit increases that they request.

Governor Newsom proved this in the recent recall election. He gave public employee unions what they wanted, and they funded his campaign against the recall. Teachers wanted vaccinations; Newsom gave that to them after they greased the skids. Prison guards didn’t want vaccinations, and a handsome political contribution did the trick. Forget about following the science, follow the money. When it comes to the union label, it’s political.

Public employee unions are also bold and unafraid to stretch the truth about you in their direct mail hit pieces. If they can’t find something legitimate through their research of your personal history, they’ll make things up or embellish to help your political opponent. Cutting to the chase, they are not afraid to lie about you. Trust me, I know. The mail pieces directed at me with false information were shameful.

This caused me to reflect—if they have no problems in being untruthful, what other unscrupulous things are they doing?

This month, we received an answer to this question from actions committed by the leader of California’s largest public employee union, with more than 700,000 members, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Alma Hernandez, along with her husband, Jose Moscoso, were charged with numerous crimes in a seven-page felony complaint with the Sacramento County Superior Court.

Ironically, it was alleged that they embezzled funds from the SEIU political action committee. More astonishing is that union leaders get paid very handsomely, but this couple underreported their income to the Franchise Tax Board by $1.4 million from 2014 to 2019. One wonders how many SEIU members are employed by this state agency.

Another state taxing agency is the infamous Employment Development Department (EDD). An air duct cleaning business owned by Moscoso failed to report and pay taxes on its employee wages from 2017 to 2020. Worse yet, he paid many individuals under the table. Cheating like this in the underground economy helps a contractor to undercut his or her competition by bidding lower. Consequently, those air duct cleaning businesses that lost the business were probably paying their taxes and workers compensation insurance in full.

One also wonders how many SEIU members work for the EDD.

We should also wonder how many honest taxpaying businesses shut their doors because of the actions of someone representing tax eating public employees who should be beyond reproach.

If one can lie about good conservative candidates, I guess they can even lie to the very state agencies that indirectly pay union leader salaries through the withholding of union dues.

If the charges are accurate and this couple is convicted in a court of law, it should be a warning to all public employee union leaders that this behavior won’t be tolerated, and it will be subject to stiffer penalties because public funds were involved.

I can provide numerous other stories of this nature. They show that if someone literally controls who gets elected as governor, to the state legislature, or other elected offices by using deceitful hit pieces, then they just might become too big for their own britches. Having too much power is not a good thing, and it can reveal someone’s true immoral character.

As someone who enjoyed serving in the state legislature, I know that Alma Hernandez is just the tip of the iceberg. Spend some time on the state auditor’s website and see how many reports point out the shortcomings of numerous state agencies and departments. But thanks to the SEIU executive directors of the world, little to no corrective efforts ever seem to be made to rectify such inappropriate behavior.

You can either believe this tragic revelation or run for public office and learn it for yourself. Good luck. And good luck to the state of California and its precarious leadership conundrum. Do yourself a big favor when candidates come calling next summer and fall and make sure to look for the union label.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Moorlach is a former Orange County Supervisor who most recently served as a state senator. He previously spent 12 years as Orange County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector, and led the county out of bankruptcy.