One of my coworkers wrote this, and it’s too funny (and well-written) not to share. Anyone can propose pretty much anything in California, so here’s one for the next ballot.
It is basically a Proposition to redo the Proposition process, and creates the “Office of the Initiative Editor,” who will be responsible for proofreading Propositions, among other, very necessary things.
The underlined text below is what’s new, the rest is already in effect.
It’s not a short read, but it is fun. Thanks to Daniel for sharing this!!
Be it ordained by the people of the City and County of San Francisco:
Section 1. The Charter of the City and County of San Francisco is hereby amended by amending Section 14.101 and adding Section 14.105 to read as follows:
SEC. 14.101. INITIATIVES.
An initiative may be proposed by presenting to the Director of Elections a petition containing the initiative and signed by voters in a number equal to at least five percent of the votes cast for all candidates for mayor in the last preceding general municipal election for Mayor. Such initiative shall be submitted to the voters by the Director of Elections upon certification of the sufficiency of the petition’s signatures and approval by the Initiative Editor as specified by Section 14.105.
A vote on such initiative shall occur at the next general municipal or statewide election occurring at any time after 90 days from the date of the certificate of sufficiency executed by the Director of Elections and the date of certification of approval by the Initiative Editor (whichever is later), unless the Board of Supervisors directs that the initiative be voted upon at a special municipal election.
If the petition containing the initiative is signed by voters in a number equal to at least ten percent of the votes cast for all candidates for Mayor in the last preceding general municipal election for Mayor, is approved by the Initiative Editor, and contains a request that the initiative be submitted forthwith to voters at a special municipal election, the Director of Elections shall promptly call such a special municipal election on the initiative. Such election shall be held not less than 105 nor more than 120 days from the date of its calling unless it is within 105 days of a general municipal or statewide election, in which event the initiative shall be submitted at such general municipal or statewide election.
No initiative or declaration of policy approved by the voters shall be subject to veto, or to amendment or repeal except by the voters, unless such initiative or declaration of policy shall otherwise provide.
SEC 14.105. OFFICE OF THE INITIATIVE EDITOR.
(a) The Office of the Initiative Editor shall ensure that all initiatives submitted to voters by the people adhere to the following criteria:
1. The initiative is free of errors in spelling and grammar.
2. All provisions intended to be non-binding are clearly indicated as such, and all provisions not so indicated are enforceable by a court.
3. No provision clearly contradicts the law of the State of California or the law of the United States of America, nor does any provision clearly contradict the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco unless ordaining an amendment to the same.
(b) The Mayor shall appoint or reappoint an Initiative Editor, subject to confirmation by the Board of Supervisors, who shall perform and manage the functions of the Office of the Initiative Editor. The appointee shall be a member in good standing of the California Bar Association. The Initiative Editor shall have a term of office of two years, and may be removed by the Mayor subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors.
(c) Upon submission of an initiative to the Director of Elections, the Office of the Initiative Editor shall determine whether the initiative adheres to the criteria laid out in subsection (a) of this section, and, in consultation with the proponent, make the minimum set of changes to the language of the initative reasonably necessary to bring it into adherence. Upon determination that an initiative complies with the criteria of subsection (a), the Initiative Editor shall certify his or her approval of the initiative. The Initiative Editor shall not refuse to approve an initiative on any grounds other than those laid out in subsection (a), narrowly construed.
(d) The Office of the Initiative Editor shall consult with the proponent on matters of style, clarity, and good legislative practice, but the Initiative Editor shall not refuse to approve an initiative on such grounds.
(e) If after 60 days from an initiative’s submission to the Director of Elections the proponent and the Office of the Initiative Editor cannot reach an agreement on the language of the initiative, and the proponent petitions the Municipal Court for a writ of mandamus ordering that the Initiative Editor certify his or her approval of the initiative, then the court shall presume in the petitioner’s favor, and shall find otherwise only upon a standard of summary judgment.
(f) The Department of Elections shall provide sufficient staff and resources for the Office of the Initiative Editor to perform the functions defined in this Section.
(g) In the event that the position of Initiative Editor remains vacant for 30 days or more while an initiative is pending approval or certification thereof, approval shall be deemed certified.
Section 2. The Municipal Elections Code of the City and County of San Francisco is hereby amended by amending Section 820 and 840 to read as follows:
SEC. 820. INITIATIVE PETITION FEES.
At the time a proponent files a notice of intention to circulate an initiative petition, the proponent shall pay a petition filing fee of $200.00 $750.00 pursuant to Section 320 of this Code.
SEC. 840. SIGNATURES IN LIEU OF FEES.
Each signature submitted in lieu of a fee that is specified in this Article shall reduce the amount of the fee by $0.50, but in no case shall the petition filing fee specified by Section 820 be reduced to less than $250.00.
Section 3. Sections 820 and 840 of the Municipal Elections Code, as amended by Section 2 of this initiative, may be repealed or amended by the Board of Supervisors without a vote of the people.
If you managed to read through this whole thing, I’m totally impressed. Now, tell me, what do you think the chances are of us getting this onto the ballot?