Contact: Gale Kaufman, 916.443.7817
SACRAMENTO, CA –Demonstrating their commitment to California’s comeback, a coalition of working families and community volunteers have collected and turned in more than 300,000 signatures through volunteer efforts to put Governor Jerry Brown’s Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act on the November ballot.
After years of deep cuts, public services that Californians depend on - like education and public safety - no longer live up to the promise of the Golden State. The all-cuts approach hasn't worked, and middle-class Californians are paying the price. The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012 is the only initiative that prevents more cuts this year, and provides funding for critical priorities including schools, colleges, healthcare, child care, local police and fire services, parks, transportation and programs for seniors, persons with disabilities and the poor.
“This was an amazing and efficient volunteer effort,” said coalition consultant Gale Kaufman. “Having more than 300,000 volunteer and mail-in signatures certainly helped finish the signature drive earlier than predicted and shows the strong support for this proposal.”
807,615 valid signatures are required to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. To allow enough time for the Secretary of State’s validation process, the practical deadline for signatures to be submitted is early May. Signatures will be submitted to the counties later this week. The broad volunteer coalition effort included the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, California Calls, California Federation of Teachers, California School Employees Association, California Teachers Association, Courage Campaign, Service Employees International Union, and the California Democratic Party.
Below are comments from the broad coalition that worked to collect the volunteer signatures:
“We believe in and are fighting hard for California’s comeback, because it’s our own future and our children’s future that we are fighting for. The Governor’s initiative will invest in our public schools and in our communities’ safety and balance California’s budget without raising income taxes on those hit hardest by the recession,” said Cheryl Stubbs, a homecare provider from Compton and SEIU ULTCW member. “That’s why we worked so hard to collect the signatures needed to put it on the ballot.”
“As educators, we are proud to be the champions for the middleclass in California. It’s time for the wealthiest to pay their fair share. Our students and their futures are at stake,” said Dr. Rosalyn Collier, a high school math teacher in Alhambra and president of the Alhambra Teachers Association. “We are going to keep working to engage California’s communities about the importance of this initiative to ensure we succeed in November and to avoid more state budget cuts that hurt all our families.”
"It's time to begin reinvesting in education for California's students and jobs for California's workers," said Allan Clark, president of the California School Employees Association. "We are proud to be part of a broad-based coalition who are joining together to put our state back on track."
"It's past time for everyone to pay their fair share of taxes to support quality public education and important services. That includes the wealthiest among us, who have doubled their share of income while their tax rates have been reduced over time. Our members have worked hard on this initiative, and are committed to winning in November so that our children and grandchildren will be able to achieve their California dreams," said Josh Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers.
"We could not have done this without the support of working California voters," said Anthony Thigpenn, president of California Calls, an alliance of 25 grassroots organization that collected thousands of signatures, many in places like friends’ living rooms and family birthday parties and weddings. "Gathering this many signatures in such a short time span shows the commitment and clout of everyday people in our state. We plan to do everything we can to pass this initiative and demonstrate our power at the polls this November."
"With 90% of the revenue coming from the top 1%, this measure is fair and it recognizes reality. It is something we will all work to pass," said Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign.
“AFSCME stands in strong support of the governor's initiative because it's a sound solution to help close the state's budget gap and put more Californians back to work. Our progress is a clear indication that Californians need these crucial services in their communities and refuse to accept the status quo,” said Barbara Blake, RN, State Secretary/Treasurer, United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals and chair of AFSCME California PEOPLE Executive Board. “Cutting services to balance a budget is a short-term solution that creates long-term problems. We will continue to fight for the future of our communities, education of our children, and the reestablishment of a strong economy by putting worker’s back to work.