| And deceptive signature gathering practices abound...
by Brian Leubitz
Last week, I ran into Safeway to grab a few groceries and saw the various assortment of your typical signature gatherers. I'm always intrigued to see what they are pushing, and how hard they are pushing it, so I took a look.
It looked like the one who approached me had a couple of clipboards but she only asked me about one, a measure to "repeal the new districts proposed by the NAACP."
"Interesting," I said, "because that measure is in fact paid for by the California Republican Party. They have already pumped more than a half a million dollars into it."
"Oh, that's not what they told me. They told me it was from the NAACP and Equality California."
"Well," I said, "that just isn't true, and you probably shouldn't be telling people that."
I was in a bit of a rush so I ran in and grabbed my few groceries. As I was headed out, I saw the signature gatherer speak to another gentleman. I quickly told him that it was paid for by the Republican party and he immediately said no thanks.
That's when the story gets more interesting, as the other signature gatherer decides to tell me that it was Equality California that hated the Senate maps. I assured him that was not true and that I am in fairly regular contact with EQCA. He would not take no for an answer and kept telling me that Equality California was paying for this. That is somewhat laughable as it fairly well-known that EQCA is having some serious money issues and could not consider funding something like that even if they were against the maps. (Which, as far as I know, they are not.)
But, rest assured, dear reader, that it was the CRP and their friends that are trying to put the referendum on the ballot. The irony that their one time savior, Arnold Schwarzenegger, put this thing on the ballot is kind of funny. But, now the right-wing interests are out to get it:
The financial woes of the California Republican Party have been well documented. The state GOP had just over $200,000 in the bank as of July 1, but in recent days, it has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into an effort to repeal the new state Senate district lines drawn by an independent commission earlier this year.
The source of that money has been the source of some speculation in Capitol circles since it began moving late last week. Jeff Green, a spokesman for George Joseph, the head of Mercury Insurance, confirmed Tuesday that Joseph wrote the state party a $1-million check to specifically fund the state party's efforts to have those Senate district lines redrawn. (LA Times)
Joseph also funded last year's Prop 17, the skeezy insurance measure that would discriminate against drivers that dropped their coverage for whatever reason. If they do get the entirety of this million bucks to the signature gatherers, they have a decent shot at qualifying, but it is far from guaranteed. They have to get 504,000 valid signatures by Nov. 13.
Now, the California Supreme Court today unanimously said that the Senate and Congressional maps are valid under the state and federal constitutions. If the CRP is successful in gathering enough signatures, it will then be up to the Court to decide which maps the state should use in June when the referendum will take place. They could either have their own drawn up by a special master, or just use the maps the commission drew up. It certainly wouldn't shock me to see them just use the Commission's maps even if it does go to a referendum. And, of course if the referendum goes through, well, all hell breaks loose and the Court has to come up with a new map.