Tag Archives: Prop. 1E

Arnold: Cruel or Clueless?

The New York Times continues its coverage on shantytowns today, highlighting a Bushville in Fresno that has suddenly popped up.  First of all, given that Los Angeles County has 70,000 homeless people and that number has remained durable for quite some time, I welcome the national media to the issue about the homeless but don’t necessarily think that because this new class puts up tents (they do the same on LA’s Skid Row, BTW) that somehow it’s novel.  The recession clearly has exacerbated this problem and brought it to new areas in the state and the country, but that doesn’t mean homelessness didn’t exist before.

Second, our Governor is either America’s stupidest person or he thinks you are:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that he has teamed up with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to help the homeless and has lobbied the president to speed the flow of federal dollars to address the problem […]

U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, in February announced that the city and county of Sacramento each are in line to receive $2.4 million in stimulus money to prevent homelessness.

The money will be managed by the city-county Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

In addition, Proposition 63, the ballot measure voters approved in 2004 to provide mental health funding, will provide “a lot of help” for some of those living on the streets, the governor said.

That would be Prop. 63, the fund which the Governor and the legislature are trying to RAID through Prop. 1E, to the tune of $230 million a year diverted to other purposes.  You can debate the pluses and minuses of that, but promising Prop. 63 funds to fight homelessness at the same time as running a campaign to take Prop. 63 funds away is either cruel or clueless.

You decide.

More Ballot Measure Courtroom Action!

There is actually another major hearing going on in the state today, in Sacramento Superior Court.  Various plaintiffs are suing to change the title and summary on two of the ballot measures in the May 19 special election, on the grounds that they were fraudulent and misleading.  And there’s already been one victory today.

The May 19 ballot measure to temporarily take money from a 2004 mental health initiative has a new overview that will be presented to voters, after a settlement to a legal challenge was reached this morning.

The challenge to Proposition 1E’s ballot title and summary, and its ballot label, was centered on charges by opponents that the Legislature wrote a “false and misleading” overview, in order to make Prop 1E’s redirection of some $450 million in mental health funds more palatable.

The new summary makes it more clear that earmarked mental health funds will be taken away from the voter-approved Prop. 63 and used to balance the state budget.  Earlier, the weasel words “provides temporary flexibility” were used.

The other dispute is over Prop. 1A, the state spending cap.  John Myers is Twittering from the courtroom, and the plaintiffs are making the same clear and obvious points about the legislature’s treachery in this matter that George Skelton made this morning.  The title makes no reference to the spending cap OR the extension of tax increases that was part of the deal, and the summary only alludes to the taxes near the end of the description as part of the fiscal analysis.  The summary uses words and phrases like “rainy day fund” and “overspending” and “reform” in ways clearly designed to persuade the voter.  Defense lawyers claim that the fleeting reference to revenue in the fiscal analysis is all that is needed, and anyway voters “already understand all the underlying budget issues” so there’s no need for any changes.

As I’ve said, this now is starting to look more like a cover-up, which is very bad for a legislature and a Governor who aren’t seen by the voters as trustworthy, and in at least the Governor’s case, for good reason.  If the aftermath of the ruling is a court order that the legislature deliberately wrote the title and summary in a way to obscure the truth about what Prop. 1A would do, there’s your fodder for commercials for the next 2 months.  And it’s a potentially fatal blow.

We’re awaiting a decision…

UPDATE: So here’s the answer – the judge would like some of the more misleading language removed, but isn’t inclined to add in big bold letters “THIS MEANS YOUR TAXES ARE GOING UP.”  This obviously can be exploited by whatever campaign coalesces around the No side – the “hidden tax,” et al. – but it won’t be on the ballot beyond the bit in the fiscal analysis.  We’ll see what the final language will read.