California Pension Reform suspends campaign

The following is a statement from Dan Pellissier, president of California Pension Reform:

Dan Pellissier“California Pension Reform is suspending its effort to qualify an initiative for the 2012 ballot after determining that the Attorney General’s false and misleading title and summary makes it nearly impossible to pass. We will continue to push our elected representatives to reform our broken pension system and if they fail we will focus on qualifying an initiative for 2014. California taxpayers face more than $240 billion in pension debts that grow every year, a brutal math problem that requires courageous leadership instead of the special interest politics that is blocking meaningful reform today.”

BACKGROUND:

“..the title and summary of two pension-reform measures aimed at the November ballot could not have been cast more darkly – and, on some key points, deceptively – if they were written by the public-employee unions that oppose them.” (John Diaz, “Attorney General’s Role in the Initiative Process,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 2012)

“The attorney general’s summary fairly well reflected the opponents’ anticipated arguments against pension reform. It did not represent any reasonable interpretation of impartiality. In fact, unlike the office’s title and boosterish summary of the governor’s tax measure, its selective and shaded characterization of pension-reform provisions did not attempt to accentuate any of the public benefits of reining in pension costs. It was, in a word, unfair.” (John Diaz, “Attorney General’s Role in the Initiative Process,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 2012)

“The latest examples, under Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris, are the very positive description of the Brown-sponsored tax-increase measure that unions support and the negative, and even misleading, way two proposed public pension initiatives that unions despise are described.” (Dan Walters, “California Politicians Use Power to Fix the Ballot Game,” Sacramento Bee, January 30, 2012)

“…the chosen words clearly make Brown’s measure more palatable to voters and the pension-reform measures more onerous.” (Dan Walters, “California Politicians Use Power to Fix the Ballot Game,” Sacramento Bee, January 30, 2012)

“Harris, like attorneys general before her, appears to have put her thumb on the scale, and issued titles and summaries that serve the political purposes of her political allies.” (Joe Mathews, “Who Should Write Ballot Measure Titles? The Voters,” Prop Zero, February 2, 2012)

“The fact that attorneys general follow their political bearings should not be a surprise to anyone. Not only is the attorney general’s office partisan, but also that particular office is seen as a jumping off point for higher office in the political food chain.” (Joel Fox, “Ballot Measure Titles and Summaries Should Not Be Written by Attorneys General,” Fox & Hounds, January 31, 2012)

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