CLWDA VNR draws ire in California

LOS ANGELES: The debate over taxpayer-funded VNRs reached the West Coast last week after California released one promoting a legislative initiative favored by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

LOS ANGELES: The debate over taxpayer-funded VNRs reached the West Coast last week after California released one promoting a legislative initiative favored by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Produced by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (CLWDA), the video endorsed a change in laws governing lunch break rules for hourly workers. Schwarzenegger is campaigning to reform those rules, while Democrats and labor leaders are fighting to protect them.

The video was quickly attacked by critics, who questioned the use of public funds to produce it, as well as its one-sided view.

"It crosses the line from press release to complete propaganda," said state Assemblyman Paul Koretz, one of the most vocal protestors. "And producing propaganda at a government-level office violates state code."

Rick Rice, undersecretary of the CLWDA, dismissed such complaints.

"Whenever we do something that has to do with labor laws and organized labor is opposed to it, we always run into these kind of challenges," he said. "It's clearly stated that it's a video news release."

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