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The Buzz: Petition gatherers know how to get you to stop

Signature gatherers using gas-price grab

Maybe the opportunity to support Tim Draper’s ballot measure to split California into six states is enough to stop you the second a signature gatherer approaches on the street.

If not, he or she may have a more familiar way of getting your attention: the price of gas.

Michael Arno, whose company is collecting signatures to qualify Draper’s initiative for the November 2016 ballot, has offered signature gatherers an unrelated “expression of support” that people can sign urging the Legislature to hold off expanding California’s controversial cap-and-trade program to vehicle fuels in 2015.

Arno, whose company has been paid more than $1.3 million to gather petitions for Draper’s initiative, said he is doing the cap-and-trade measure for free. For signature gatherers being paid for Draper’s initiative, the gas petition doubles as bait.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter of Consumers Union, a proponent of Assembly Bill 32, which mandates greenhouse gas emission reductions, said last week that the program’s expansion to include vehicle fuels is not a tax. “We saw the petition, and it’s disappointing to see these kind of misleading tactics,” she said.

– David Siders

Worth repeating

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