The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

November 2, 2012
'Claw' backers try to dump Sacramento's yard waste measure

You can't blame them for trying.

But the last-ditch effort by opponents of the city of Sacramento's yard waste measure isn't going anywhere.

They want Measure T taken off Tuesday's ballot because, they argue, its wording is "vague, uncertain and confusing" to voters.

The measure would repeal Measure A, which bans the city from requiring residents to use containers for yard waste. The city wants that prohibition lifted so it can put in place a series of changes in garbage collection that it says will be more efficient and would allow overall residential rates to stay the same through at least June 2015.

The language rather clearly lays out the choice for voters: "Shall the ordinance enacted by voter approval of Measure A at the City of Sacramento municipal election on September 27, 1977 be repealed, which would then allow the Sacramento City Council to require yard and garden refuse to be placed into containers for collection?"

However, the opponents say the ballot should quote the full text of Measure A. It passed with 75 percent of the vote, but it's a mouthful, citing a specific part of the City Code.

They made their case in a letter this week to Mayor Kevin Johnson and the rest of the City Council. They apparently aren't going to get an official response.

But I was told today that the letter has been reviewed by the City Clerk's office and City Attorney's office, and both say it has no merit.

While there's a requirement to repeat verbatim state propositions that a ballot measure would repeal, there's no such mandate for local measures, the city says.

Besides, the city says, the ballots have already been printed, voters have already sent in mail ballots and it's just too late.

Of course, nothing would stop the opponents -- Annette Deglow of College Greens, J. Bolton Phillips of McKinley Park and Dennis Neufeld of Land Park -- from going to court with their complaint on the ballot language if the measure passes.

To read their argument against Measure T and an argument in favor from Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, go to The Bee's op-ed page on Saturday, in print and online.

As a reminder, The Bee's editorial board recommended a vote in favor of the measure, saying that "voters have the chance to replace a costly and confusing yard waste collection system with one that is more efficient and better for the environment."

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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