California Proposition 82 goes down to defeat.
Posted June 7, 2006
By Annette M. Hall
Today California preschoolers can breath a sigh of relief as the dust settles on the California Initiative - Proposition 82, otherwise known as the "Preschool-For-All" or Universal Preschool initiative. Prop. 82 was soundly defeated 60.9% to 39.1% during the primary elections last night.
For the past two years Diane Flynn Keith, producer and editor of UniversalPreschool.com, has been pouring her heart and soul into rallying opposition forces, in what at times seemed like David vs. Goliath. First Five California spent millions of tax-dollars in a public ad campaign in support of Prop. 82; while Mrs. Keith and small business owners backing StopReiner.org scrambled to raise funds to counter their massive attack.
Diane had this to say to the army of foot soldiers who worked tirelessly to help defeat the Preschool-For-All initiative here in California.
"Congratulations Everyone!!! We did it! We helped defeat Prop 82! We helped derail Reiner's Preschool-For-All train. For now, little kids in California are safe from being institutionalized in government preschools. Parents have blocked the erosion of their own rights. Thank you for your activism and support.
Of course, we have the official opposition campaign (StopReiner.org) to thank for bringing public attention to the flaws of Prop 82 in such an effective way.
Denise Allen, President of Fresno County Family Child Care Association and a family childcare provider, has fought long and hard against Prop 82. Her posts to the Universal Preschool list gave us information to use in writing articles and contacting newspaper editors and legislators in our efforts to defeat Preschool-For-All.
Karen Taylor and the California Homeschool Network have helped to spread the word that parents are the best teachers of preschool age children.
I will revel in this win as I drive to The Link Conference in Southern California today. It was almost 2 years ago to the day, that I was driving to a Link Conference and heard my first California First Five commercial claiming kids who don't go to preschool will grow up to be failures. I almost drove off Highway 5 as I tried to tune my radio dial to better hear who was behind that outrageous advertisement. That began a two-year crusade to bring attention to the fact that Universal Preschool is a looming threat to parental rights and to the healthy development of tiny kids.
I am deeply grateful for the support of many other individuals (you know who you are) who have worked tirelessly to bring awareness to this issue - and I'm not just talking about Prop 82, but the whole push-to-preschool pandemic that is sweeping the nation. It's a malaise we will continue to try to eradicate -- and I am honored and humbled to work with you in that effort.
Thank you, again, to all who have contributed in one-way or another to defeat Prop 82. Celebrate your victory. I know our success today; will motivate us to tackle the work ahead."
With deep appreciation for your effort and support,
Diane Flynn Keith
This just goes to show that one person can make a difference. It only takes one person to start a brush fire that can rage out of control and engulf an entire forest in flames. David can beat Goliath and all it takes is one individual to dare to speak up and share that vision with others.
The First 5 California Children and Families Commission, was created in 1998 by Proposition 10, a ballot measure Reiner helped create. The panel helps dole out money raised by a 50-cent tax on cigarettes to anti-smoking and early childhood education programs.
Rob Reiner, serving as head of the First 5 California Children and Families Commission, spent $23 million taxpayer dollars in an ad campaign with the sole purpose of passing Proposition 82. Reiner could have used that money to make a difference in the lives of economically disadvantaged children. Instead he chose to use our tax money to fund his personal agenda.
$23 million dollars can buy a whole lot of paste and crayons. His wanton disregard for the law was prominently flaunted on the capitol steps in Sacramento, last year, when he goaded supporters and fans about supporting an unnamed proposition that he wasn't allowed to mention. Apparently, Reiner feels he is above the law and was free to spend taxpayer funds as if they were his own.
As of March 2006 an investigation was called for but no news has been forthcoming on the allegations made against him. If Rob wanted to support preschool-for-all, he should have done so with his own money. California voters care about young children and as parents and educators, want the best for them, which is clear by the outcome of last nights election.
When is Rob going to do the right thing and return the money he stole from California's children and apologize for his actions? We cannot continue to allow the rich and famous to thumb their nose at the law. What he did was wrong and he needs to make things right with the children.
David may have defeated the giant in California but the giant isn't dead yet, Universal preschool is a battle that rages on across the country. The assault isn't over yet.