Proposition 28 is one of the most dishonest and deceitful ballot measures in the history of California and that is saying a lot. It represents the latest, dishonest effort by politicians and their special interest supporters to fool California voters into gutting California's voter-approved term limits law. Proposition 28 is designed to trick voters into thinking it strengthens terms limits when it does the opposite. The measure actually weakens term limits for legislators and dramatically lengthens the amount of time that they can stay in office.
The effort to place Proposition 28 on the ballot was funded with millions of dollars from special interest groups including unions that oppose pension reforms that could save taxpayers billions of dollars. Proposition 28's top backer is Ed Roski, a billionaire developer who sought and received a special exemption from environmental regulations by the Legislature so that he could make millions by building a sports stadium in Southern California. The Legislature gladly gave Roski the sweetheart deal he wanted and he rewarded the politicians by making sure that those who were elected to the Legislature would be able to stay in office for many more years than the current term limits law allows.
The Los Angeles Times on Dec. 30, 2009, reported, "Two months after state lawmakers exempted a football stadium proposed for the City of Industry from environmental laws, the sports venue's developer has contributed $300,000 to a ballot measure that would allow future legislators to stay in one office longer."
Here are the plain, simple facts. You be the judge. Proposition 28 allows politicians to be in the Assembly for 12 years not the six-year maximum permitted under current law. That means members of the Assembly will actually have their time in office doubled, not reduced. It also allows politicians to be in the state Senate for 12 years not the eight-year maximum permitted under current law. That means members of the Senate will actually have their time in office increased by 50 percent, not reduced.
A study was conducted on how Proposition 28 would affect current term limits. The conclusion by Robert Prener, professor emeritus of mathematics at Long Island University, was that, "The proposed change in law will weaken term limits; we may expect lengthening of incumbency for approximately 80 percent of legislators."
Yes four out of every five politicians in Sacramento would be able to serve longer if Proposition 28 is passed by the voters.
Is it any wonder that the groups urging you to vote for Proposition 28 are the same groups that opposed the original, successful term limits measure in 1990?
Politicians and special interests spent millions to stop term limits when they first passed. Since then, they have tried twice to trick voters into letting the politicians stay in power for many more years. Proposition 28 is just their latest effort to weaken term limits, by hiding behind dishonest rhetoric that makes it sound like the measure actually strengthens term limits.
It is important to remember that the reason for supporting term limits is as important today as it was back in 1990 when they were put into place by California voters. Those who we elect to the state Legislature should serve for a time, and then return back to the private sector and live under the laws they helped enact, and the budgets that they passed.
The politicians and their special interest allies are being deceitful in their arguments, trying to make it sound like they support term limits. Nothing could be further from the truth. Vote "no" on Proposition 28 and preserve strict term limits for our state legislators.Jon Fleischman is volunteer co-chairman of Californians for Term Limits.