The initiative battle over Doolan Canyon finds the supporters of one of them accused of spreading falsehoods to try to get Dublin voters to sign their petition.
Under California law, lying to induce someone to sign a petition is a criminal offense, and has been cited as grounds to invalidate an initiative.
The principals behind the Let Dublin Decide initiative have hired professional signature gatherers to get their initiative qualified for the Dublin ballot. They have shown up at the Dublin Library, and in front of Safeway, as well as going door-to-door soliciting signatures.
Some Dublin residents report that they were told some pretty amazing things to get them to sign. When asked if they would sign their petition, some Dublin residents informed them that they already signed “the initiative,” thinking it was the same group and the same initiative as the one they actually signed, the Dublin Open Space Initiative of 2014 (their volunteer, unpaid signature gatherers have also seen around town wearing distinctive green T-shirts).
Among other things the residents have been told:
- The petition they previously signed was found unconstitutional and had to be re-written, so they have to sign it again.
- The one they signed was found defective and had to be re-written.
- Their initiative is to prevent mud-slides in Doolan Canon.
- They are the same group that sought signatures for the Dublin Open Space initiative.
- Livermore intends to build a new gambling casino in Doolan Canyon so we can’t let Livermore get control.
- Signature gatherer claims he is an employee of the City of Dublin
One woman who was approached at the Dublin Library to sign the Let Dublin Decide petition was told something she knew was a falsehood. She filed a complaint with the Dublin city clerk, and was subsequently contacted by Dublin Police asking if she intended to press criminal charges. She has not decided what course to take.
Under California Elections Code 18600 it is a misdemeanor to utter falsehoods as
inducements to get signatures on a ballot measure. California law also provides that recording a conversation where neither party had a reasonable expectation of privacy is not a criminal offense.(Cal.Pen.Code § 632, California v. Gibbons 215 Cal.App.3rd 1204)).
Friends of Dublin Open Space spokesman Morgan King, one of the authorizing signers of the Dublin Open Space Initiative of 2014, says they are considering whether other steps should be taken. His group, lead by David Bewley and himself and, have already obtained the requisite number of signatures to qualify their initiative for the ballot.
Former Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart, speaking on behalf of the Let Dublin Decide Initiative of 2014, responded to the statement released by the Friends of Dublin Open Space representatives:
"Signature gathering campaigns may not bring out the best in everyone. I can't personally tell you if either group of campaign signature gatherers exaggerated their points. The spirit of local government and local control will be intact once signatures have been verified as there is a process which will be followed for both initiatives. We look forward to the opportunity to present our thoughts to Dublin residents and to see the results in November. We also look forward to a civil conversation and the sharing of opinions."