Supporters of Some Proposed Ballot Measures Use Signatures To Further Negotiations
Supporters of proposed ballot measures, including several related to prescription drugs, "are using the initiative drives as sticks they can use to threaten their opponents," the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/18).
The Alliance for a Better California on Thursday announced that it has a sufficient number of signatures to qualify its proposal to address prescription drug costs for the next statewide ballot. In addition, sponsors of a measure that would require physicians to notify a parent or guardian 48 hours before they perform an abortion on an unmarried minor submitted on Wednesday more than 950,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the next statewide ballot (California Healthline, 4/15).
Secretary of State Bruce McPherson (R) set Tuesday as the deadline for submitting signatures to qualify measures for a possible special election in November, but some initiative supporters believe they could have until May 6 to submit petitions to qualify measures for a November ballot.
As supporters gather signatures, the Chronicle reports that party leaders and representatives of business and labor groups "are negotiating agreements they hope will make the signatures -- and a special election -- unnecessary."
Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, said, "People are gathering signatures, but the real question is what is the end game? We're at the point where people either call or fold. There are not many bluffs left."
Gale Kaufman, who is managing Alliance's ballot measure campaigns, said that the group has not submitted signatures it has collected to place the prescription drug measure on the next statewide ballot. "The only reason for the initiatives is if [Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)] calls a special election," Kaufman said, adding, "If he doesn't go ahead, we pull ours."
Steve Maviglio, a spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles), said initiative supporters are "going on in earnest. We know there's a gun to our heads and the governor knows it could backfire. ... The next couple of weeks will be a big game of chicken. Once you turn in the signatures, there's no going back."
Schwarzenegger said, "When you have the signatures, then we can turn them in and get on the ballot. Or if we don't do that and negotiate, we have the signatures as kind of a bargaining chip." He added, "Most likely, the way it's looking this year, we will go to the ballot this year."
Schwarzenegger has until mid-June to call a special election for Nov. 8 (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/18).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Monday reported on Alliance for a Better California's initiative. The segment includes comments from Alliance spokesperson Jim Farrell (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 4/18). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
In addition, KPCC's "KPCC News" on Thursday reported on the Parents Right to Know and Child Protection Initiative. The segment includes comments from Maviglio; Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist; and a coordinator for the abortion-notification initiative (Keith, "KPCC News," KPCC, 4/14). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.