In January I spoke with UC-Berkeley linguist and progressive activist George Lakoff about his proposed referendum to repeal California’s Propostion 13—the infamous ballot initiative that mandated a 2/3 supermajority to approve tax-raising measures. For a state locked in a perpetual budget crisis (sound)—and with an ideologically polarized state legislature—Lakoff’s attempt to restore “majority rule” (as he put it), would have dramatically altered the most dysfunctional state government in the union.
As of Wednesday, however, things weren’t looking so good for Lakoff’s initiative. After sparring with state Attorney General (and presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee) Jerry Brown over wording changes, Lakoff has now withdrawn the measure. Although he plans to re-submit the referendum, even Lakoff isn’t too optimistic about his odds of collecting the required signatures by the June deadline, telling supporters “the timeline will be tight.” In other words, don’t bet on it.