Friday, February 03, 2006

SF Chronicle takes stonger position on Clean Money!

The momentum is growing and growing and growing!
A clean-money plan

HERE'S THE latest appalling statistic on money and California politics: More than $300 million was spent on eight initiatives that all failed last November.

It puts a new price tag on political futility, but it makes a bigger point. Elections are way too costly, letting big money take over where public debate should rule.

On the candidate side, money is chasing out competition and deadening voter interest. That's why a public-financing bill that cleared the Assembly holds promise. It seeks to cap runaway spending and equalize campaign budgets among rivals.

The measure, AB583 by Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is on a shakedown cruise with the author's blessing. For now, the bill calls for state financing of as much as $1.5 million if a candidate forgoes the endless check-collecting from special interests who now rule Sacramento.

The Assembly-passed package is a starting point. Hancock expects the state Senate will come up with its variation on public financing before a conference committee of both chambers hammers out a final version to give to the governor. Voters would most likely have final say.

If you don't like the idea of state money for political campaigns, consider who pays for it now. California's statehouse campaigns aren't supported by average citizens writing grocery-bill checks. The money flows from public employee unions, industries and professional groups who all want favors, not tempered policy.

California politics needs lots of reforming. Redrawing political districts to restore competition and tough financial reporting rules are also good ideas. But a workable and fair system of public financing should also be considered to restore voter enthusiasm to a tainted process.

You can see the article in the SF Chronicle and thank them for their support by clicking HERE.