Sep. 15, 2014 (San Diego) In a letter that will be sent later today to State Attorney General Kamala Harris, and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Stephen J. Kauffman, of the Kauffman Law Group, presents evidence of deception during the petition process.
The deception, the letter alleges, is on the part of the Small Business Coalition, who lied to registered voters to get their signatures. This is a violation of election code 18600.
During the news conference announcing this letter, Will Moore, a Business Attorney, told media “I heard that the signature gatherers were lying to people at the locations where they were getting people to sign.”
Moore added that he did not believe it himself, until one day he was approached by one of these signature gatherers outside Ralphs in Hillcrest. He was asked if he wanted “to sign this petition to raise the minimum wage.”
Moore knew that the petition was to lower the minimum wage and repeat the legislation passed by the San Diego city council.
This is the video embed of his encounter with the petition gatherer.
“This is obviously problematic,” according to Moore. He added, “this is illegal, lying to people, under elections code 18600 here in California.” He emphasized that it was considered a misdemeanor, therefore a crime, under California law.
The reason for this was that “the petition process allows people to express their views, and people are being deceived to express the opposite of their views.” He added that these petitions are full of the names of people who want to raise the minimum wage. In his view this should disqualify the whole process.
Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-80) said that she represents many of the South San Diego region. “We have joined the effort to formally ask the District Attorney and the Attorney General to look at what has become a practice in San Diego.” This practice is to overturn any policy passed by local and state bodies by petition drives that the business community does not like. These initiatives and referendums are filled with “flat out lie to voters in order to get them to sign a petition.”
She added that people have been “told a variety of things. That they are going to vote to increase the minimum wage that they are going to put this on the ballot because they don’t know this has been passed.”
Gonzalez said that this feels to “like a concerted effort, and that this is not the first time we have seen this from the business community.”
Gonzalez added that it is time for the DA and the State Attorney General to investigate this. If that is not possible, she said that it is time to look at legislation to regulate the industry.
A staffer for State Senator Marty Block read a prepared statement and said that he also stood with his legislative colleagues to ask for a review of the process. There were laws clearly broken, according to the read statement. There needs to be “appropriate legal action and protect the public interest.”
Council Member Myrtle Cole (District 4) emphasized that the process was to pass the ordinance was “open and democratic process.” Stakeholders were part of the process.
She also was emphatic that there were a series of open meetings where this was discussed. Cole added that “opponents have promised to overturn the measure, and it has become clear that they will do anything to take away sick days and minimum wage for hard working San Diegans.”
Assembly Member Shirley Webber (D-79) said that “when people are given accurate and correct information they make the best decisions on behalf of their city, their state, their nation and the world.” But when people are deceived, this has a corrosive effect on the process and makes us not believe in it.
While they are supporters of the increase in the minimum wage, this goes “beyond that because it goes to the heart of what is happening in the process of democracy.”
People who are a small minority have resorted to lying and relying on emotions, this is a criminal act that “needs to be responded by the State Attorney General.” She added that they are calling on Kamela Harris to investigate this, since goes “to the heart as to who we are as Californians, and who we are as Americans.”
This is a full video of Webber’s statements.
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