Friday, January 11, 2019

Price Soars for Dave Regan’s Ballot Initiatives

Dave Regan’s famously unsuccessful “ballot initiative” strategy just got a lot more expensive in California.

If you’re a member of SEIU-UHW, heads up. Diamond Dave will now be able to waste your dues dollars much faster than before.

Regan’s unquenchable thirst for ballot-initiative failure isn’t mere speculation. 

Several months ago, Regan pledged to re-file his unsuccessful dialysis ballot measure in 2020. He made this pledge just days after voters rejected Dave’s dialysis measure by a blow-out margin: 61.5% (“No”) to 38.5% (“Yes”).

Why is the price tag jumping for California ballot initiatives?

Every four years, California readjusts the number of valid voter signatures that must be collected in order to place an initiative on the statewide ballot. Specifically, it takes 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor during the most recent election.

That threshold was re-set during last November’s gubernatorial election when large numbers of voters turned out to boot Republican congressmembers from office. The threshold jumped from 365,879 valid signatures to 623,212 valid signatures.

That’s gonna make it much more expensive to put measures on the ballot. SEIU-UHW hires companies to collect signatures from voters, typically paying them between $2 to $3 per signature. Campaigns must collect far more signatures than the threshold because a certain percentage of signatures turn out to be invalid.

So that’s why the costs associated with statewide initiatives are going to “skyrocket,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (John Wildermuth, “Qualifying a California ballot measure to become a ‘playground of billionaires,’” San Francisco Chronicle, January 2, 2019.)

According to the newspaper: 
It already costs at least $2 million to qualify a measure for the ballot, and that’s before a single dollar is spent on a campaign to actually win the election. The new signature numbers are likely to boost that amount dramatically.

How much will the costs jump?

At least to $3.4 million, according to analysts.

So, unless Regan finally owns up to his record of uninterrupted failure, SEIU-UHW members can expect Dave to blindly pour more and more of their dues dollars into ballot initiatives… rather than using these precious resources to fund aggressive contract campaigns, organizing drives, and representational work to support the union’s members.