Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Great, Now We Can All Get Back To The Really Important Stuff

Like Campaigning.

The powers that be reached a budget deal expected to face votes in both houses tomorrow. Choose your own coverage here.

The plan will repay $1.3 billion to local governments one year sooner than originally planned - a move said to be crucial to securing support from ever-reluctant California Reeps (who still apparently haven't noticed they really are the last fiscally conservative Republicans in the country).

Speaking of Campaigning
The Roundup lists the assigned numbers for this fall. Prep those button and bumper sticker templates accordingly:

Proposition 73: Parental notification for abortion
Proposition 74: Teacher tenure
Proposition 75: Union dues checkoff
Proposition 76: Live Within Our Means budget reform
Proposition 77: Reapportionment
Proposition 78: Prescription drugs (industry-sponsored)
Proposition 79: Prescription drugs (consumer/labor-sponsored)
Proposition 80: Electricity regulation

Just for the record - Prop 77 should rightly be title "Redistricting" as Reapportionment is the term properly used to describe the federal process by which the 435 House seats are apportioned among the states. But you know, like, whatever. That's hardly the initiative's biggest problem (that would be the mid-decade provision that earns the otherwise acceptable proposal a big thumbs-down from many).

And Speaking of Redistricting
There's a chance Attorney General Bill Lockyer could bounce the measure on a technicality.

A few weeks ago, proponent Ted Costa noted a difference between the petition language submitted to the Secretary of State and the language circulated for signature - a big no-no. How technical a technicality it is will determine whether the proposition gets yanked. One Lockyer spokesman is quoted saying it's not really relevant whether the discrepancy was minor or significant in deciding whether to file suit.

It would, however, be relevant in the success of that suit. A dropped comma is far different from an dropped clause, etc. According to the Bee's article, the differences may be more artistic than substantive:

Both documents made the same points, but used different words, he said.

Kolkey cited this example:

A sentence in the version used to gather signatures read, "Our Legislature should be responsive to the demands of the citizens of California, and not the self-interests of individual legislators or the partisan interests of political parties."

The same portion of the document used for title and summary read:

"Our Legislature should be responsive to the demands of the voters, but existing law places the power to draw the very districts in which voters are elected in the hands of incumbent state legislators, who then choose their voters, which is a significant conflict of interest."

Kolkey said most of the other discrepancies were stylistic and non-substantive - for example, both make the point that the judicial council shall create a pool of 24 retired judges to serve as candidates for the three-person redistricting panel.
. Apparently, Ted decided to get real about for whom he cares - note how voters replace all California citizens generally in the first draft.

There is one possible big difference, however - one document describes the judicial council as "nominat[ing," while the other as "select[ing]" candidates.

That's a pretty meaning-laden word to swap.

On the bright side, this possible litigation means I get a little more slack time on my promised review of the initiative and legislative proposal language, right? Right?

The thing is, of course, I would bet about 5-6% of petition signers read more than the tiny text that says "first name, last name" on the petition. That's not a reason to allow baiting-and-switching, but it nicely illustrates the absurdity of thinking this process is really the embodiment of informed, direct democratic activism.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are missing the trick. When circulating the petition, they implied to signers that the petition would stop counting non voters in dividing up legislative districts (clearly unconstitutional) and used that to get signatures in conservative areas. Of course there are many illegalities in the Costa measure anyway, but hopefully we can be spared the time and expense of having to vote because of this one.

cd said...

anonymous (and i wish all or however many of you anons there are would fake a name and stick with it so i could figure out to whom i'm responding, but whatever. you know, you can click "other" down there and just add a name, it doesn't require an email or additional information):

i miss no tricks. i have seen no coverage of that, nor do i know exactly what signature gatherers might've said to signers. and, the gatherers could've said that anyway even without changed language - who reads the fine print anyway?

and if you think voting on it takes time and expense, let's not even talk about the time and expense of litigating it.