When the private financiers and contractors who gave us the phony Marine Life Protection Act “Initiative” falsely named their boondoggle an “Initiative,” it should have raised a red-flag, that something was very very wrong, and that the “public/private partnership” was not what it was cracked up to be.
The MLPAI was most certainly NOT an initiative. According to the California Constitution, an Initiative is a process by which any citizen, or group of citizens, can “propose statutes and amendments to the Constitution”:
ARTICLE 2 VOTING, INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM, AND RECALL
SEC. 8. (a) The initiative is the power of the electors to propose
statutes and amendments to the Constitution and to adopt or reject
(b) An initiative measure may be proposed by presenting to the
Secretary of State a petition that sets forth the text of the
proposed statute or amendment to the Constitution and is certified to
have been signed by electors equal in number to 5 percent in the
case of a statute, and 8 percent in the case of an amendment to the
Constitution, of the votes for all candidates for Governor at the
last gubernatorial election.
(c) The Secretary of State shall then submit the measure at the
next general election held at least 131 days after it qualifies or at
any special statewide election held prior to that general election.
The Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.
(d) An initiative measure embracing more than one subject may not
be submitted to the electors or have any effect.
(e) An initiative measure may not include or exclude any political
subdivision of the State from the application or effect of its
provisions based upon approval or disapproval of the initiative
measure, or based upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes
in favor of the measure, by the electors of that political
(f) An initiative measure may not contain alternative or
cumulative provisions wherein one or more of those provisions would
become law depending upon the casting of a specified percentage of
votes for or against the measure.
Since the closing of fishing and gathering rights in state waters is a legal act, that directly affects rights guaranteed under Article 1, Section 25 of the California Constitution, proponents of the MLPA should have gone through the legally mandated initiative process – by placing the matter before the voters, as required by the legitimate initiative process outlined above.
Instead, the private funders of the phony MLPA “Initiative” chose to make an end-run around the democratic process. They chose to deceitfully call their endeavor an “Initiative,” without going through the process that a legitimate initiative requires.
Suprisingly, though the laws of California were repeatedly bent and broken by this fake “Initiative,” our Secretary of State and Attorney General said nothing.
When the private sponsors of the MLPAI chose to circumvent the democratic process with their own interpretations of the law, and impose their own privately funded “public process” – riddled with illegality, conflict of interest and corruption – they planted the seeds of contention that have followed the North Coast MLPA “Initiative” from day one. The corporatized version of the MLPAI, provided by private contractors masquerading as legitimate public agencies, more resembled a hostile corporate takeover of public resources, than the legitimate implementation of the true Marine Life Protection Act.
It did not, and does not, provide the comprehensive, across-the-board ocean protection mandated by the 1999 MLPA law.