Do not vote yes, go directly to no

The author of a transportation initiative that will appear on California’s February presidential primary ballot says he’ll will recommend voters reject it.

Yep, you read that right: The guy who wrote the measure wants you to vote no.

Jim Earp, director of the California Alliance for Jobs, a pro-construction lobbying coalition, wrote the initiative. His organization began gathering signatures back before legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hashed out a series of infrastructure bonds and put them on the November 2006 ballot. The state’s package included Proposition 1A, which restricted the state’s use of the gas tax on fuel to transportation and limited the amount and duration of loans from the fund. Everything passed.

In return for the bond measures, the alliance agreed to trash 300,000 signatures gathered for its initiative, an amount considered sufficient to keep it from qualifying for the ballot.

But that’s not what happened.

In Los Angeles County, 70 percent of the signatures qualified as valid, an extraordinarily high percentage. It was enough to push the total over the number of signatures required with 7,000 to spare.

Interestingly, Earp’s measure would have more severely tightened rules governing loans from the road fund than Prop 1A but the alliance will not campaign in favor of the measure.(Click here to read the measure.)

“There are people in my industry who wouldn’t be upset (if the alliance’s) measure passed, but in my view, a deal is a deal and we have kept our agreement with the Legislature,” Earp said. “We don’t need it to pass.”

As the initiative proponent, Earp says he will write an explanation of what transpired for the ballot statement, and he will recommend voters check the “no” box.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen