As voters begin to focus on the Feb. 5 presidential primary - and especially on the array of non-presidential ballot measures - they’ll need a scorecard to follow the players.

While all campaigns on ballot measures tend to be misleading, those lining up for and against the Feb. 5 measures are an especially odd collection of bedfellows.

It’s ba-aaaaack! Like the hockey-masked assailant in the “Friday the 13th” movies that refuses to die, the GOP ballot measure designed to ensure that its presidential candidate wins nearly half of California’s electoral votes has been revived. And it’s got Democratic leaders nervous.

California’s elected officials have failed this year to take care of any pressing state problems — except their own. No healthcare reform. No prison reform. No solution to the multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

A February ballot measure that would deliver a windfall of cash to community colleges has the two higher education communities in Santa Cruz County in opposite corners.

A California ballot measure that could give Republicans an edge in next year’s presidential campaign by changing the way the state awards its electoral college votes won’t make the June primary ballot and is now headed for November, backers said Thursday.

Mike Zapler of San Jose Mercury News has a downer of an article about the hurdles of winning health care reform on the ballot. He writes about the odds of any ballot measure, especially those with a funded opposition. The history on health reform isn’t pretty either. In the early 1990s, two such measures, Prop 166 and Prop 186, got 32% and 27% of the vote, respectively.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is planing to ask voters next year to approve a “carbon tax” on businesses.

Frustrated by opposition in the Legislature, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to take his health care plan to “the people” next year in the form of a sweeping ballot measure.

A local activist suing Newport Beach to keep a measure off the February ballot to decide whether to build the next City Hall next to the central library said Tuesday he hopes a ruling in the matter will come before the end of the year.

Placer County officials are backing off plans to put a transportation sales tax measure on the 2008 ballot, saying polls show not enough voters support it.

Backers of two campaigns to change California law are crying foul over donations to their opponents made through nonprofit groups that can hide the origin of the money.

Leaders of a campaign to alter California’s term limits demanded Wednesday that their opposition disclose the names of individuals tied to a $1.5 million donation by U.S. Term Limits.

Last week, a coalition led by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association announced that more than one million signatures have been collected to qualify the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act (CPOFPA) for the June 2008 ballot. This eminent domain reform measure will stop government from taking homes, family farms, small business and places of worship and giving the land to other private interests.

California is one of the few states that has yet to pass serious property-rights reforms following the U.S. Supreme Court’s otherworldly 2005 decision affirming the “right” of cities and other government agencies to use eminent domain to take property from private owners and give it to big developers, who promise cities higher tax returns and “economic development” on the targeted property. Cities have long abused property rights this way, but the court’s affirmation shocked Americans and propelled most states to pass additional protections.