Battle of the Ballot Measures Begins

It may be the dog days of summer, but Sacramento's political professionals are licking their chops at the prospects of a hearty campaign season. 

Democracy is a messy thing, and in the Golden State it means another epic and expensive ballot fight in 2012.

A check of records at Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office shows 13 measures have been submitted for review by the attorney-general's office. 

Among them, measures that would partially dismantle the recently-approved state budget deal. 

State Senator Ted Gaines, R-Roseville has filed a referendum that would roll back a $150 dollar fee to be assessed annually on property owners who lilve in rural or wildland areas. 

That fee is meant to pay for firefighting costs. Another measure would undo a deal requiring redevelopment agencies to cough up millions to the state in order to stay in business.

The list includes some familiar topics. 

Raising the retirement age for public pensioners, banning teen abortions without parental consent, easing restrictions on marijuana use. 

There's also a measure to cancel SB48, the newly-signed law requiring California textbooks to include material on the contributions of gay and lesbian people.

None of this involves measures already approved for signature-gathering. 

A dozen proposals have been given the green light. Among the most prominent, Amazon's efforts to kill a bill requiring on-line retailers to collect sales  tax, an effort to tax oil production (California is the only major oil-producing state without such a levy), and a new effort to prevent labor unions from collecting dues for political campaigns.

It's another means of dealing with California's jobless rate.  Look for the card tables and petition-gatherers (who are paid by the signature) to show up in force soon at your local grocery store, Target, or Wal-Mart.

And voters, brace yourselves for a whole new round of self-governance.

Contact Us