how to get sued for a ballot argument (Part I)

As mentioned in an earlier post, I was one of a few select people to get sued by one of the less than “Five Most Powerful People in Silicon Valley” to stop our “No on Measure A” argument from appearing on the June 6, 2006 ballot here in Santa Clara County. A little bit of a correction here, apparently at the very least, Rick Callender is one of “10 Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area for 2005”.

So what was the reason for their excitement? Well we over here in the powerless and influenceless corner were a little surprised. Here we are being used as being dismissed as not being relevant and we get sued!

So how can you or your group join the lucky elite. Lets start off with some basics.

  1. You need opposition that is generally willing to not listen unless you are agreeing with them in all details. In this case, Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) fits the bill. Now I want to put in a cavaet here. SVLG does some good things. For example, the Sierra Club of which I am part and SVLG generally agree that more housing, denser housing is a good thing in developed areas not on greenfields.
  2. You need to do some googling and some basic research on your opposition.
  3. Finally, you need a ballot argument that will cause some excitement.

Now the “sue” part. In our case, we discovered through the State of California legislative website, that the SVLG is trying to lower the sales tax their members pay by trying to get we found SB552 – Elaine Alquist passed. In Santa Clara County, they would lower eliminate the State tax portion of the sales tax bill so that while you and I will continue to pay 8.25% or higher. SVLG members get to only pay 2.75%! This bill has an “Inactive Status”. There is also this reference for the last historical action:

LAST HIST. ACTION : Returned to Secretary of Senate pursuant to Joint Rule 56.

Joint Rule 56 refers to the California Constitution Art. IV, Sec. 10(c), which states:

(c) Any bill introduced during the first year of the biennium of
the legislative session that has not been passed by the house of
origin by January 31 of the second calendar year of the biennium may
no longer be acted on by the house. No bill may be passed by either
house on or after September 1 of an even-numbered year except
statutes calling elections, statutes providing for tax levies or
appropriations for the usual current expenses of the State, and
urgency statutes, and bills passed after being vetoed by the
Governor.

In other words, nothing happened with the bill so it died. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice that until after we submit our argument. Fortunately, our opponents let us correct this by filing a lawsuit. The correct number turned out to be SB1291.

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