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Category: California News

Sacramento, California - The effort to steal water and HSR money isn’t going to be on the ballot this year after all. A series of bad polls combined with the high cost of gathering signatures means that proponents are delaying to 2018 - if ever:

The campaign, led by Republican Bob Huff, the former Senate minority leader, and GOP Board of Equalization member George Runner, budgeted for $2.65 a signature, spokesman Hector Barajas said.

This week, amid soaring signature-gathering costs, the price rocketed to about $5 a signature. Rather than pay the spiraling rate, proponents are pulling back and targeting 2018, a non-presidential year where fewer Democratic voters, and presumably less supporters of high-speed rail, turn out to the polls.

Proponents had raised about $484,000 through mid-week, state filings show.

Their thinking about the 2018 election is delusional. The polling was quite clear that Californians see right through this proposal. It had anemic support and that was before voters saw TV ads from farmers complaining about their water being taken away. That isn’t going to change in two years.

More importantly, if they think 2018 is going to provide a more favorable electorate, they’re ignorant. The 2010 election saw the California Republican Party smashed into tiny pieces as Democrats bucked the national trends and showed up in big numbers. In 2014, Jerry Brown beat Neel Kashkari – who ran on an anti-HSR platform – by 20 points.

In 2018, the governor’s office will be up for grabs. There will be a surge of voters showing up to elect a Democrat to that office. Those voters will be more favorable to HSR than these initiative proponents realize.

So while I don’t think this initiative should ever be on the ballot, if it does make it in 2018, I don’t see any reason it would pass then. It’s not about the timing. It’s about this initiative being a godawful idea that voters just don’t want.