This move, incidentally, comes on the heels of a number of previous labor efforts to derail pension and health care reform: A drive to have the Board of Supervisors strip funding from the public defender's office; poison pill language negotiated into police and fire union contracts that nullify $20 million in wage concessions if Prop. B passes; a purported effort by local union heads to cajole Rep. Nancy Pelosi into diverting federal dollars from companies owned by Michael Moritz,
the venture capitalist who largely bankrolled Adachi's
signature-gathering drive; a conspiracy theory that Smart Reform
treasurer Craig Weber -- now Adachi's co-defendant -- managed to hoodwink 18 fellow members of the Civil Grand Jury into writing a report critical of the city's pension system; and, finally, accusations Adachi is a tax cheat.
petitions are excused if the form of the petition is in substantial compliance
with statutory and constitutional requirements."
required material that is not essential to understanding the substance
of the challenged ordinance, the petition is still valid under the substantial
You can read that ruling here: CALAPP-BVHP-RULING.pdf
Incidentally, while the elections department sends ballots to the printer on Sept. 1, that doesn't mean the end of the month is the drop-dead deadline for the unions to attempt to keep Prop. B from ever appearing before the voters.
Willis, the unions' attorney, said he believes the matter will be decided by then. But if it isn't -- or if it's decided in a manner his clients don't like -- he said he and his clients "would have to decide" whether to take this matter to the court of appeal.
Should voters ever get to decide on Prop. B, will unions' increasingly frenetic efforts to drown it in the bathtub reflect badly with the electorate? Hard to say, says San Francisco political consultant Jim Ross.
"I think it's pretty inside baseball; I don't know how much voters pay attention. But it is an example of how concerned labor is about the issue," he says. "I've seen polling that shows it as a popular measure ... The concept is very popular to voters in general."
It's difficult to knock initiatives off the ballot, Ross continues. But it may be cheaper than mounting a full campaign against it come election time. But this strategy may be penny-wise, pound foolish. "It might be a strategic error to try and fight this in the courts rather than have a real debate about it with voters and win that debate," says Ross. "If they defeat it in the courts, Jeff Adachi or some other group will be back next year with a cleaned-up version of this. But if they can win at the ballot box, you probably won't see pension reform for 10 years in San Francisco. Unless we really go broke. Who knows?"
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