Judge orders changes to misleading Prop 1A language…

A California Superior Court judge today ordered changes to the measure’s title and summary that will appear in the state’s Official Voter Information Guide for the May 19, 2009 Special Election.

After two hours of oral arguments and give and take, California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney repeatedly described–in a written ruling–the original ballot language as “misleading” and found “the effect of the non-neutral language causes the Ballot Label and Title and Summary to become misleading.”

Today’s ruling is a result of a suit filed on Monday by the “strange bedfellows” of me and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, to correct both the ballot label and the title and summary of Prop 1A.

For the six measures to be considered by voters on the May 19 Special Election ballot, the Legislature has taken the responsibility for preparing the ballot label and title and summary away from the Attorney General and has imposed its own ballot label and title and summary for each of these proposed measures.

In particular, the judge took out of the official description the words “reform” and “overspending,” as well as the phrase “limiting sustainable spending of one-time spikes in revenue.” He left in “rainy day.” “Stabilization” is in in one place, “stabilizes” is out in another. He did not make any correction regarding the omission of tax increases.

Here are some examples of the changes:

The ballot label used to read: Reforms the budget process. Limits future deficits and overspending by increasing the size of the state “rainy day” fund and requiring above-average revenues to be deposited into it, for use during economic downturns.

* It now reads: Changes the budget process. Could limit future deficits and spending by increasing the size of the state “rainy day” fund and requiring above-average revenues to be deposited into it, for use during economic downturns and other purposes.


The ballot label used to read: STABLIZES STATE BUDGET. REFORMS CALIFORNIA BUDGET PROCESS. LIMITS STATE SPENDING. INCREASES “RAINY DAY” BUDGET STABILIZATION FUND.

* It now reads: STATE BUDGET. CHANGES CALIFORNIA BUDGET PROCESS.
LIMITS STATE SPENDING. INCREASES “RAINY DAY” BUDGET STABILIZATION
FUND.

There are other changes as well. These are significant changes, although it leaves it the Orwellian “rainy day budget stabilization” title. The bottom line: Even a judge ruled that Prop 1A effort is misleading, and changed most egregious language in ballot title and summary. The more we learn, the more Prop 1A doesn’t do what the proponents say it does.

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