We asked this before, we ask it again. Why is Proposition 59 on the November ballot? When California legislators passed a bill way back in 2014 to grandstand and put an “advisory measure” challenging the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission on the California ballot, they were blocked by a lawsuit.
But with a never give up determination, they tried again — aiming for the jam-packed November 2016 ballot — after they prevailed in court. They tried again, even though Gov. Brown warned an a-d-v-i-s-o-r-y measure will contribute to voter fatigue and won’t make a spit worth of difference.
Prop. 59 will only encourage California’s federal legislators to support efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to curb the harmful impacts of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has opened the floodgates of corporate contributions to political campaigns.
We agree. It was a lousy U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Just watch the advertisements and other political stunts to see why it was a lousy ruling. But that is no excuse for clogging an already clogged ballot with a worthless proposition.
That said, if you plan to cast a vote in the Prop. 59 contest, you are urged to vote yes.
Prop. 59 stems from a legislative-legal skirmish that began with the passage of a bill in 2014 to place an advisory measure on the 2014 ballot. Gov. Brown half-hearted signed the bill. But the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sued, alleging the Legislature had no specific power to take such a political pulse. The measure was pulled from the ballot.
In a 6-1 ruling this year, the California Supreme Court concluded the Legislature did have a legitimate interest, but required a new bill be passed in order for an advisory measure to be placed on the 2016 ballot.
Democratic state Sens. Ben Allen of Santa Monica and Mark Leno of San Francisco were the principal authors of SB254, the new bill to place the measure on the 2016 November ballot.
The Citizens United decision, which in part classifies corporations as “citizens,” giving them the ability to contribute to political campaigns, is credited with pouring more special interest money than ever into campaigns. Clearly this buying of America is a bad thing.
But placing an advisory measure on the November ballot does nothing to stop it. It’s a political stunt that leaves California voters falsely believing they actually have a voice in the matter. It’s just one more way to make voters cynical and distrusting of their government. A letter to the editor would have as much, or maybe more impact.