Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Clean Up Sacramento - An Editorial from the SF Chronicle


We are clearly gaining momentum in our effort to clean up politics in this great state of ours. And it all starts in Sacramento with the Clean Money System. I want to thank you for all your help.

Today is we will see a very critical vote in the Assembly Elections Committee, I hope to have your support and the support of the Committee.

Here is the editorial from the SF Chronicle:
THE 2003 RECALL of Gov. Gray Davis did nothing to lift the pull of special interests in Sacramento. It merely changed the roster of monied interests that have clout in the governor's office.

California legislators, meanwhile, remain a portrait of dysfunction -- their priorities contorted and their fortitude vaporized by their obsession with campaign contributions. Assembly members, in particular, are notorious for "taking walks" on tough votes -- and sometimes even switching their votes after the fact -- to appease contributors.

Elected officials in Sacramento spent far too much time on fund-raising, including in periods of peak legislative activity when the foul scent of "quid pro quo" taints the transactions.

This contamination of our democratic process with special interest has reached the point where this state must give serious consideration to proposals for public financing of campaigns. Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, has proposed a "clean money" system modeled after public-finance programs in Maine and Arizona. Hancock's AB583, which faces a critical vote this week in the Assembly Elections Committee, must reach the Senate by month's end to remain alive for the session.

Hancock's bill contains several unresolved issues, starting with how the state would pay for it. Also, some campaign veterans question whether the spending limits on certain races -- a $250,000 baseline for an Assembly candidate, for example -- are sufficient in some cases. That limit can be raised up to $1.5 million if the "clean money" candidate is facing a self-financed wealthy candidate who eschews the voluntary public-finance system.

To those Californians who may be reluctant to have their hard-earned tax dollars spent on political campaigns, we offer this thought: There are many special interests out there that are only too eager to pick up the tab. And their "special interests" often involve your tax dollars.

You can read more about it in the SF Chronicle by clicking here: SF Chronicle Editorial