A ballot initiative that seeks to require California state lawmakers to wear the names of their top ten contributors begins gathering signatures today. Backers seek to gain the 365,000 signatures necessary to place the initiative on the 2016 November ballot, and while the idea seems pretty hilarious, the man spearheading it is extremely serious.
San Diego businessman John Cox is the Chairman of the "California Is Not For Sale" initiative, and in a recent conversation with Vice he detailed what he hoped would be the result of a successful effort.
"This initiative will require every state legislator to wear on his coat, stickers, or some kind of logo representing their top ten contributors," he explained. "It can't be a sign that they hold up. It's funny and it's inventive, but it really is a serious proposal."
Cox further noted that this plan is not intended to call out any one particular legislator, but rather to highlight what he believes to be flaws in the political process.
"I'd like to tell you that we're doing this so that people can make good judgments about is this a good guy or a bad guy," he told Vice. "[But] that's really not part of our motivation. To us, the whole system is the bad guy."
The text of the initiative makes the requirements pretty clear.
"State elected officials shall wear stickers or badges displaying the names of their ten highest campaign contributors when participating in any public session of the Legislature or any Committee thereof," it reads.
As to what kind of stickers or badges? The language doesn't exactly specify. It does, however, make one thing clear: expect them to be big.
"The disclosure required by this Section shall be printed clearly and legibly," reads the initiative text, "be conspicuous and in a type size sufficient that it can be read by a member of the public observing any public session of the Legislature or a Committee thereof."
The initiative actually goes even further, requiring lawmakers do more than just wear their donors on their sleeves.
"Candidates for any state elective office shall identify the ten highest campaign contributors in all campaign advertising."
Cox is traveling the state trying to get his message out, and has staged publicity stunts wherein he displays large cardboard cutouts of lawmakers with donor stickers attached to their persons. But does he actually think his initiative will pass? It's hard to say, but a recent press release notes that Cox is backing this with a million dollars of his own money, so one can assume at least a certain level of seriousness.
At least one thing can be said for sure: if this passes, the halls of the state capital will be a lot more colorful.
What if Politicians Had to Wear the Logos of their Sponsors?
Here is a look at our protests happening across the state! It's time we take California back from the corrupt politicians, corporations and unions. Will you join us? #CaliforniaIsNotForSalePosted by California is Not For Sale on Thursday, January 7, 2016