Pattern Emerges of Grossly Misleading Titles Being Placed on Ballot Measures Opposed by State Politicians
In 1911 California voters secured a Constitutional Right to use “Citizen Initiatives” to place items on the ballot to impose reform on their politicians. Today the state politicians have found a way to strip citizens of that precious right through pure deception.
For the second time in six months, State Attorney General Xavier Becerra has issued a false and misleading title for a proposed citizen initiative that he and fellow state politicians disagree with.
In August, the Attorney General changed the title on Proposition 6 from the “Gas Tax Repeal Initiative” to “Eliminates Road Repair Funding.” Voters were so confused they voted against an initiative that the public polling showed was favored by a 2:1 margin.
In September, Reform California filed a citizen initiative titled “Citizens’ Lockbox for Road Repairs and Infrastructure Improvements” that would dedicate 100% of the gas tax to road repairs and 100% of sales tax on cars to infrastructure improvements. The measure also cancels the High Speed Rail train project and deposits any savings into the Lockbox established under the initiative.
Instead of describing the initiative’s main purpose – i.e. to Lockbox tax funds for roads & infrastructure – the AG falsely describes the initiative as “REMOVES RESPONSIBILITY AND FUNDING FOR STATE HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE FROM STATE.”
“The Attorney General has shown again he’s willing to outright lie about the contents of a citizen initiative – all in an attempt to defraud voters of an honest and fair election,” said Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California.
“In doing so the Attorney General has shown he is unfit for office and that it is time we take away the power of politicians to manipulate the title of a citizen initiative and instead give the responsibility to a neutral and independent body,” DeMaio noted.
DeMaio offers an analogy to explain the problem with politicians being allowed to slap erroneous titles on citizen initiatives they disagree with: “Suppose you make a wonderful turkey sandwich with all the fixings and put a toothpick in the sandwich. When he’s asked to describe the item on a menu, the state Attorney General titles it ‘A Big Plank of Wood.’ No one would order that to eat, and the same is true of voters evaluating a ballot measure.”
Reform California is currently conferring with legal counsel on its next steps.