Thursday, June 29, 2006

Clean Money Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot!

I wanted to share this very special announcement with you. With the successful qualification of the "Clean Money" Initiative, we all must use our energy and all our resources to ensure it's passage in November. As a team, we have proven our ability to make significant change, and the passage of this initiative represents much needed change. I am looking forward to working with all of you on the campaign trail!

What follows is our official press release:
Clean Money Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot
Hancock announces she will drop her legislation

Sacramento, CA - Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) will be available to comment on today’s announcement by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson that the “Clean Money” initiative has qualified for the November ballot. Assemblywoman Hancock is the author of a similar legislative proposal, AB 583, which is currently in the Senate Elections Committee.

According to the Secretary of State, the initiative submitted by the California Nurses Association has garnered more than the 411,000 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot. As a result, Hancock announced she will drop her legislation so government reform groups can focus on the ballot measure.

The “Clean Money” system of public financing of elections is similar to those already adopted in Maine and Arizona. The legislation and the proposed initiative allow any candidate who raises a substantial number of small contributions from individuals residing in the district and agrees not to accept special interest money, will receive full public financing of their campaign.

“The public has lost faith in California’s electoral process. Poll after poll show voters think campaign contributions have a corrosive effect on public policy decisions. Clean Money will reform the electoral system and re-establish trust with the voters. I believe it is time to return the democratic process to the voters,” said Hancock.

A poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in November found 64% of likely voters believe that campaign contributions have had a negative effect on the public policy decisions being made in Sacramento. In May, a PPIC poll on campaign finance reform & public financing of campaigns showed that 51% of likely voters would favor a system of public funding for campaigns even if it cost each taxpayer a few dollars a year to run.

“Ultimately, Clean Money is an idea whose time has come,” concluded Hancock.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dellums victory signifies a sea change in Oakland politics


Oakland made history this weekend electing my good friend Ron Dellums as Mayor of Oakland.

I have known Ron for 30 years, and have seen first hand what he has done in Congress to advocate for the core values of the Democratic Party, revitalize downtown Oakland, promoting economic growth at the Oakland Port, securing funding for essential services and protecting the environment.

Kudos to the voters of Oakland and Ron Dellums for running a positive campaign that promotes a better future for all of us in the Easy Bay.

You can read about it at

Monday, June 12, 2006

They Can Look, But We Must Say No!

This article from Todd Milbourn of the Sacramento Bee shows how the unrestricted Indian Gaming rules will continue to get out of control unless we insist on changes.

Tribes look far afield for casino sites
Bills in Congress could block the trend and rewrite gaming rules.

An Indian tribe rooted in Lake County is pushing a Las Vegas-style casino in the East Bay.

Tribes from Humboldt and San Diego counties are vying to open casinos along busy Interstate 15 in Barstow.

And a tribe from Oklahoma is searching beyond its reservation -- even across state lines -- to build a casino near Denver.

Across the country, Indian tribes, often backed by wealthy investors, are aspiring to build casinos in lucrative markets -- even if those spots bear little or no historic connection to the tribe.

The trend is often assailed as "reservation shopping." It's stoking a national debate that might reshape the $20 billion-a-year Indian gaming industry.

Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are leading the charge to corral the practice. Both argue that some tribes and their non-Indian backers are simply trying to get rich off a law intended to alleviate tribal poverty.

"This is not what the public thought they were getting when they approved Indian gaming," said Alison Harvey, executive director of the California Tribal Business Alliance, a Sacramento-based tribal gambling association that generally opposes off-reservation gaming. "It's coming to a head."

California already is the nation's largest Indian gambling state, home to 55 casinos that generate $13 billion a year, according to the state attorney general.

Across the state, at least 40 tribes are proposing off-reservation casinos, according to Stand Up for California, a Penryn-based gambling watchdog group.

Almost all of those proposals face long odds -- even under current law. Even so, opponents of casino expansion are paying close attention, recalling that tribal gambling interests have proved adept at finding loopholes... (edited)

...On the state level, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is pushing to give communities more say over casinos.

She said the East Bay has become the nation's "poster child" for urban, off-reservation gambling.

"They do produce some jobs," Hancock said of urban casinos. "But if you have a $100 million profit at a casino, most of that is coming out of the pockets of local people. About 35 percent of it is going to investors in Las Vegas or Florida, and the rest is not being distributed in the community."

For the full, unedited text of this article, please CLICK HERE.