A longtime source working to qualify Gov. Jerry Brown tax-hike initiative for the ballot says they are collecting signatures at a rate of 200,000 a week.
That would make this one of the most successful, and productive qualification efforts in history.
I know of only two qualification efforts that produced at a faster rate. The original lottery initiative in 1984, and the latter half of the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. Those were both phenomenal -- fueled by tons of publicity and authentic popular rallying to the cause.
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While Brown's initiative is popular in polls, there doesn't seem to be clamoring to sign it.
This is the product of a big machine of petition circulators and direct mail and internet posting.
Putting together this kind of mass signature effort is particularly impressive now -- because the methods of collecting signatures are under pressure.
There are fewer and fewer malls and retailers that permit signature gathering -- so there is literally less space to approach people on the street. Cutbacks in postal service make direct mail signature gathering a less useful bet; more and more people simply discard their mail, and anything that looks like a solicitation.
Of course, the success of this campaign is as much about money as organization. Circulators are making $3 per signature. No other statewide measure is paying more than $1.50.
Indeed, the only real competition for the initiative have been high-paying local measures in cities and counties. In my part of Southern California, the closest is a city of San Gabriel measure that was paying $2.50 per signature.