Anti-HSR Ballot Initiative Backers Call It Quits
In news that should not come as any surprise, the backers of an initiative to stop the California high speed rail project announced today they are quitting the effort:
Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and former Republican Rep. George Radanovich announced this week that they are suspending their campaign to qualify a measure on the matter for the 2014 ballot.
Initiative backers have decided to focus for now on derailing the project through litigation but have not ruled out the possibility of pursuing another initiative, according to a statement released by the campaign Wednesday.
“We’re still committed to it in the future, but I think it’s just easier to let the legal matters roll by first and get those resolved, and we can reassess the depth of support and the necessity for the repeal,” LaMalfa said Thursday in an interview.
Uh-huh. That’s a nice cover story. But later in the article we see the real reason they’ve abandoned the effort – they couldn’t raise any money:
The campaign has raised at least $135,000, according to campaign finance reports filed on the Secretary of State website. The cost of hiring paid petition circulators to collect signatures typically exceeds $1 million.
“It takes a lot more than that to be successful statewide, LaMalfa said of the money raised so far, “So I want to conserve the resources we have and conserve and respect the volunteers we have out there.”
Well, at least he’s honest. With only $135,000 in the bank there’s not nearly enough money to get anywhere close to qualifying for the ballot. The effort, already pointless since it wouldn’t go before voters until November 2014 when construction would be well under way, had not gathered the support of any of the major right-wing funders. Oil companies weren’t coming anywhere near this thing, nor the deep-pocketed rich conservatives who sometimes fund these sorts of initiatives. Nobody showed up to help.
This hasn’t been a good summer for HSR opponents. They lost the big vote in the State Senate earlier this month. Now their ballot initiative drive has petered out. Their only recourse is the courts, which have not been friendly to them these last four years. It’s not how they hoped 2012 would go, and though there’s still a lot of work left to be done by HSR advocates, the HSR project appears to be getting stronger every day.