Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Californians For An Open Primary Win First Round In Battle To Reform Sacramento

Sacramento judge blocks scheme to silence supporters of Proposition 14

SACRAMENTO – Californians for an Open Primary applauded a Sacramento Superior Court judge's ruling yesterday that supporters of Proposition 14 on the June ballot can intervene in a case involving a back-room scheme by the Legislature to mislead voters and derail the reform measure.

“AARP is pleased that Judge Allen Sumner has allowed supporters of the Open Primary to intervene in defense of the statutorily-required ballot label and title and summary for Proposition 14," said Jeannine English, California State President of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), one of the lead endorsers of the measure.

Opponents of Proposition 14 were joined by lawyers for the California Legislature in trying to block supporters of the measure from participating in a lawsuit that would make a last-minute change in the statutorily-required ballot label and title and summary language for Proposition 14.

"Those proposed changes plainly seek to aid the opposition campaign – by amending the official ballot label and title-and-summary to correspond almost exactly with statements made in the ballot arguments against Proposition 14. AARP believes the present wording of the ballot label and title-and-summary is accurate and fair, and should not be changed," said English.

“I applaud the judge for allowing intervention in this last-minute attempt to re-write the Open Primary ballot label and title and summary," added state Senator Abel Maldonado, a sponsor of the Open Primary reform measure. "This intervention means the attempt to re-write the ballot language days before it goes to print will be debated in an open and transparent process.”

The Legislature agreed to place the Open Primary reform measure on the ballot last year. Recently, however, lawmakers launched a legal scheme to scuttle the measure by changing the ballot label and title and summary language – a back-room move that was brought to light in court today when supporters of reform intervened.

Lawmakers last week quietly enlisted the California School Employees Association, a union that has given more than $421,000 to politicians in the past year alone, to file a lawsuit in an attempt to re-write the statutorily-enacted ballot title and summary for Proposition 14 that was passed by a two-thirds legislative vote and signed into law by the Governor.

“Under Proposition 14 every vote would count and the people would be involved in the electoral process. The petitioners want to block reform and maintain the status-quo that voters are fed up with. This ordeal is an appalling abuse of power and is a perfect example of why reform is so badly needed in Sacramento,” said Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce.

“Proposition 14 is an important measure which seeks to change the way primary elections are conducted in California," agreed English. "The current system contributes mightily to the partisan bickering and gridlock that is making our state government dysfunctional. Californians want and deserve real choice when going to the polls to select their leaders. Proposition 14 will help put an end to the hyper-partisan gridlock that has gripped the Legislature while California's problems continue to worsen.”

Proposition 14 backers say the Legislature, Capitol insiders and party bosses will continue to do everything they can to keep the people from fixing what is broken and that Californians will send them a message in June that says enough is enough when they vote to pass Proposition 14 and reform Sacramento.

Open primaries will provide equal access to the same ballot for all Californians and encourage elected representatives that are beholden to their constituents – not political bosses or special interests. Under an open primary system, Californians will elect pragmatic leaders who will focus on what’s best for the people of California – something that has partisan legislators scheming to protect their power. Open primaries will turn the Capitol back into the people’s house and change the behavior of elected representatives.

Californians want their elected officials to work on creating jobs and getting California ’s economy back on track – not wasting taxpayer money concocting politically-motivated schemes to re-write laws they enacted in attempts to defeat reform measures.

For more information, please contact yeson14openprimary

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