Remember last summer when City Council member Marti Emerald called out her colleague Carl DeMaio on KPBS over deceptive messages used by paid signature-gatherers for his managed-competition initiative?
Do you recall how voiceofsandiego.org reporter Emily Alpert outed the "misleading" pitches by a signature-gatherer outside of Target named "Jeff Smith" for a proposal to add appointees to the San Diego Unified School District's Board of Trustees? And how the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the dude had also lied about his name?"
Well, Democratic Assemblymember Ben Hueso has introduced legislation to force paid petition-circulators to wear "a clearly visible badge on his or her chest stating 'EMPLOYED BY' followed by the name of the employer. The lettering on the badge shall be in at least 30-point type."
Maybe we can call it the "Goodbye Jeff Smith Act of 2011." Or maybe not. The bill in its introduced form is toothless—no verification system, no penalties.
AB 651 would also order the Secretary of State to create a public, online database of signature-gathering firms, such as the La Jolla Group, including the names of officers, owners and partners. The firms would also file copies of their training materials with the state.
If the bill passes, I wonder if these companies will start collecting signatures to get a repeal on the ballot.