Who Is Behind Scaring Californians Away From Signing Petitions For Ballot Initiatives?


Let’s start with this screenshot of a new website launched by a yet-unidentified group that is calling itself “Californians Against Identity Theft.” Apparently, the sole purpose of this group is to scare Californians away from signing petitions to put ballot measures on California’s November 2011 and 2012 ballots.

According to Capitol Alert, whoever is behind the scary site (and a radio ad) doesn’t appear to want to be identified and their motives are questionable.

The group does not appear to have any ties to legitimate organizations dedicated to protecting consumers from identity theft. A spokeswoman for the San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center disputed the premise of the ad.


Derek Cressman of government watchdog group Common Cause said he was “hard pressed” think of a situation where signing an initiative petition led to identity theft. He said the ad sounded like an attempt to “provoke a fear” to discourage people from signing petitions.

“If they really wanted people to take their warning seriously, they’d have more credibility by revealing their own identities,” he said.

So, what petitions are being signed for which ballot measures?

In San Francisco, there are two competing pension reform initiatives, one is backed by government unions.

In addition, there are a large number of other initiatives cleared for signature gathering that, if enough signatures are gathered, would be placed on the November 2012 ballot.

A few will meet near-certain union opposition, including one that certain groups would consider anti-illegal immigrant, as it:

Requires state and local agencies to check immigration status of applicants for public benefits, including certain children. Requires agencies to report applicants whose immigration status is unverified to federal immigration authorities, including parents requesting benefits for legal resident children. Denies CalWORKS benefits for certain children with unverified immigration status. Requires state and local law enforcement to comply with direction from federal immigration authorities for holding and transferring undocumented immigrants arrested. Requires commitment for law enforcement agencies to perform federal immigration functions. Bars policies against enforcement of federal immigration laws.

And there’s this one that…

Restricts union political fundraising by prohibiting use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Same use restriction would apply to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Permits voluntary employee contributions to employer or union committees if authorized yearly, in writing. Prohibits unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates and candidate-controlled committees.

As well as this one that…

Amends state Constitution to eliminate employees’ option to designate union representation by proving majority support to their employer. Would require formal secret ballot election for any designation of labor representation. Restates existing Constitutional guarantee of vote by secret ballot in elections for public office and upon an initiative or referendum. Adds that secret ballot is a fundamental right.

And this one too…

Sets retirement age at 62 for persons who are or will be public employees. Limits pensions to 60 percent of employee’s highest average base wage for three consecutive years. Requires employees match public agency pension contribution. Mandates public employees work fulltime for five consecutive years to receive pension. Provides public agency full discretion to modify pensions, and prevents pension changes through contract or collective bargaining.

While whoever is behind trying to keep Californians from signing petitions for ballot measures remains a mystery, it’s clear that unions are likely opposed to the ballot measures described above.

Coincidentally, though a spokesman says the SEIU is not involved with the radio ad, the purple behemoth is sending out its thugs personnel to “persuade” Californians not to sign petitions.

SEIU California is dispatching its own representatives to the streets to persuade voters not to sign petitions. The union has sent members a toll-free number to report canvassers circulating petitions for the measure, urging them to dial in “if you see someone trying to fool voters in your community into signing away our rights.”

SEIU California spokesman Christopher Calhoun said the union’s effort is intended to “make sure folks get a chance to hear our side of the story” before signing the petitions.

There is the remote possibility that the SEIU is not behind the scare tactic. Of course, it could also be any number of other left-wing unions groups.

We’ll just have to wait and see.


“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Cross posted.

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  1. I heard this ad on KFI AM 640 not once but TWICE in less than an hour, drive time this afternoon (Friday) on the John and Ken show – that’s BIG money paying for that. I should contact KFI and find out what 30 seconds costs on John and Ken between 4 and 5pm. Whatever the cost, there has to be big money trying to scare people from signing petitions. Very insidious. Thanks for the article.

  2. I just heard the same ad. Identity theft??? My butt!! Do they think we are that damn? I will make sure that I sign every petition that destroys the Unionistas.

  3. Too bad unions can’t be honest and upfront, let the people really decide. Instead they are deceivers and cheaters. Don’t believe ANYTHING you hear or see nowdays…find out who’s behind it. You will be surprised.

  4. I think organizations should have to say who is behind the organization rather then hide behind a phony name! There is more lies and fraud behind these groups then the so called causes they rail against! I’d sign a petition for a law requiring identification of who is behind these groups!

  5. i find that the union representatives have used video cameras to record citizens signing the petition requiring annual signatures for use of payroll deducted monies. As a signature gatherer, I hear more people saying ‘I won’t give you my information’. I assume these people to be union members who have been instructed to use this street theater to discourage others from signing. From reports of other signature gatherers, there seems to be a growing histeria over this as signature signing is down approximately 50%.
    If a ‘BIG LIE’ is repeated often enough, as in NAZI Germany in the 1930’s, people stop questioning the issue and ‘get in line’ as ‘good’ citizens.
    What to do? Perhaps a congressional investigation into this attack on the constitution would be very appropriate.


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