By now you probably have heard the deceitful radio
ad funded by a group called Californians Against Identity Theft that is
attempting to discourage people from signing initiative and referendum
petitions by scaring them into believing their signatures on the petitions
could lead to identity theft. The dishonesty of the pitch has brought
from across the political spectrum and by groups that battle
identity theft.

The goal of the Californians Against Identity
Theft is to limit the use of direct democracy. That can clearly be detected on
the group’s
which highlights not problems with identity theft but accusations
against the initiative process.

At least one California public employee union
has admitted being behind the ad. The public unions are opposed to some
initiatives and referendums that are currently in circulation.

But, in attempting to block the peoples right to
petition their government the unions must be feeling more comfortable with
their ability to sway the legislature in coming years.

The ad concludes with a woman, who has been
scared by her husband about signing petitions, declaring: "That’s it! I’m not signing any more of those

Any more? Including the
public union sponsored initiatives?

We’ve been told
initiatives sponsored by public employee unions, especially in the area of tax
increases, are on their way. So why poison your own well?

Of course, different
public unions have their own agendas and there is not necessarily a meeting of
the minds on this strategy. But, those that are discouraging signature drives
believe they can control government power from within.

Ironically, the day the
news broke on the radio ad, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission
released maps of California’s political districts for the next decade. Most
analysts say the maps favor Democrats to the point that they may secure the
two-thirds majority to absolutely control the agenda in both houses of the

As I’ve noted on this
page many times before, when the voters decide issues at the polls on statewide
measures they often take a different stance than the majority in the
legislature would take on the same issues.

It is easier for the
unions to get their way by influencing two-thirds of the legislature than by
capturing a majority of the people at the polls. Public unions have already
declared their intent to elect friendly legislators from both sides of the
political aisle under the top-two primary system that will be fully tested next

With maps favoring their
allies in the legislature; with the top- two primary giving them an opportunity
to capture a few more votes, some union leaders feel they can benefit their
members if they shut down, or at least slow down, opponents who take their case
directly to the people.

Under such a scenario,
the public unions would have the same grip on power that the Southern Pacific
Railroad enjoyed at the turn of the Twentieth Century that brought about the
direct democracy reforms in the first place.

The changing state
political landscape spurred the creation of the ad more than any particular
ballot measure did.