Pushers of the Comprehensive Pension Reform initiative breathed a big, expensive sigh of relief today.
The proponents turned in 145,000 signatures today to the City Clerk’s Office, according to Craig Gustafson at the San Diego-Union Tribune, for a needed 94,346.
What’s in Gustafson’s story that made my eyes pop and in a related estimate from Voice of San Diego’s Liam Dillon – that the measure could have cost more than $1 million so far. That astounding figure was attributed to Councilman Carl DeMaio and Lincoln Club President T.J. Zane, a major backer of the effort.
Alluding to, but not directly stating outright, Gustafson noted that the measure faced serious opposition at store fronts by those wishing to preserve the current pension system which led the campaign to resort to sending 2,500 volunteers door-to-door in San Diego to meet the valid signature requirement.
That labor-intensive move, combined with a third-party independent analysis to fish out 25,000 duplicates and bad signatures, got the job done.
While they may be successful, it certainly leaves us consultants seriously contemplating the future of ballot initiatives.
Are we doomed to fail without such deep pockets on measures with heavy opposition? Is third-party verification the way of the future? What about hourly-paid signature gatherers? Would that costing less? Are there better public places to get valid signatures? Are these costly measures the only recourse to blocking?
Last night, while chatting a bit with an opponent of the measure, he said he expected it to qualify but his solace was knowing he helped drained the proponents’ coffers.
Turnabout is fair play.
– Follow me @erica_holloway.