(cross posted at Fox & Hounds Daily)
Gov. Jerry Brown's budget and temporary tax push is stuck, in part for lack of leverage.
It sure would have been nice if he had been able to gather signatures on a ballot initiative as he negotiated with lawmakers in March. But that would have cost too much (thereby giving too much power to his financial backers) and taken too much time.
Jeez, it's too bad there isn't a quick, fast, cheap way to collect signatures on an initiative petition.
Oh, that's right. There is such a way.
E-signature gathering would have been perfect for Brown's predicament. The technology exists. E-signature gathering is not a panacea-it's hard to get attention for an initiative, and not just anything could qualify with e-signatures. But with all the attention Brown was receiving for his budget push, he could have directed people to the Internet and their smart phones to sign an initiative petition putting his temporary tax extensions on the ballot.
This likely would have cost a fraction of the typical $3 million needed for a pen-and-paper campaign. It also could have been much, much faster, permitting an initiative to qualify fast enough to hold a June special election. And just the process of gathering the signatures might have given Brown greater leverage to help him make a deal with Republicans.
Too bad then for Brown and his supporters in labor that electronic signatures aren't permitted in California. The state has maintained that they're not permissible under the law, though that claim is being challenged in court.
It's funny. A company named Verafirma had an e-signature technology and is leading that challenge. Its co-founder Jude Barry, a Democratic consultant, however, was put on a blacklist for his work at Verafirma. Who was it that put him on the blacklist?
Oh, that's right. He was put on the California Labor Federation's list - they didn't like the fact that a conservative group was among those trying to use electronic signatures for an initiative. Now the labor fed really, really wants the tax extensions Brown is pushing. If only...
Wow. Karma really is a... well.. you know.