Who Knew What, And When?

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A three judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals may have a decision next Tuesday as to whether the initiative to change political redistricting is on the November ballot.

But while today's two hour hearing focused on legal and constitutional issues, it also shed some light on what might become a political powderkeg: who knew there were problems with the initiative's language, and when?

In particular, Dan Kolkey, the attorney representing the authors of Proposition 77, was asked when he knew of the language differences between what was circulated for signatures, and what was submitted to the Attorney General.

Kolkey said he was first told of the problems in phone calls from the Schwarzenegger allied group Citizens To Save California, and the governor's state-paid legal affairs secretary, Peter Siggins.

As to when all of this happened: we only know it was after May 5, when petitions began to be submitted to various counties. Today in court, Kolkey admitted he was informed "sometime in May", but did not elaborate.

Why is all of this important: because Secretary of State Bruce McPherson certified Prop 77 for the ballot on June 10. And his staffers weren't informed of the language snafus until June 12. And by then, of course, the measure was technically on the ballot.

All of these questions about who knew what, and when, are going to be the focus of a special hearing called by Democrats in the Legislature for the week of August 15th. The story is far from over.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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