California: Opinion - Ballot Measure Titles and Summaries Should not be Written by Attorneys General

Tue, Jan 31 2012 — Source: Fox and Hounds

A couple of months ago, at a discussion on the initiative process at a Zocalo Public Square meeting in Los Angeles, the panelists were asked what one thing they would change with the initiative process. As a panelist, my answer: Take away the power to write the initiative title and summary from the attorney general’s office.

Now come two newspaper columns that highlight the mislabeling of initiatives by the current Attorney General, Kamala Harris. John Diaz, editorial page editor of the San Francisco Chronicle simply used the word “unfair” to describe some of the titles and summaries written by Harris.  Columnist Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee argued that Harris’s titles and summaries “fixed the game” to sway political outcomes.