Tag Archives: public campaign funding

California Clean Cities Conference – Coming to You

(Here’s something we should think about… And act upon! – promoted by atdleft)

Prop 89 may not have passed, but the dialogue fostered by its being on the ballot shows there’s a lot of discontent with the role of big money in politics. Millions of Californians are disenchanted with the political process and the disproportionate influence that special interests have on legislation. And the desire for change that grew during that period last fall isn’t going away. More people now have an increased awareness of the problem and an interest in finding solutions to fix it. So what’s next?

For one thing, California Common Cause, CA Clean Money Campaign and others will be focusing on the same campaign funding issues in our local communities.  They are sponsoring a Clean Money – Clean Cities conference in Pasadena on March 15 and in San Jose on March 23 to educate us on the public campaign funding opportunities that could exist locally, modeled after successful efforts in Albuquerque and Portland. The conference will introduce us to the basics of clean money systems, the legal issues facing their implementation, and stories from clean money local campaigns.

Support for clean money and fair elections is still here. This conference is a great way to get involved in a new way. I know in my little Orange County city, donations in the thousands of dollars by developers and business interests went toward last-minute “independent expenditure” flyers that very likely affected the outcome of the races. We’ve seen bad practices all over the state – including in Modesto and Oceanside. Since when should it be acceptable for a Southern California group to send a mailer to Stanislaus County residents, or for a national Airport Owners and Pilots Association to back a city council candidate? At a minimum, voters need to clearly know which candidates are taking money from these outside groups, and candidates who are hurt from such independent expenditures need infrastructure to fight back. And disclosure laws just haven’t cut it. Good candidates don’t need help from shawdowy committees to get elected. California Clean Cities will help in making sure those good candidates get heard and can compete on a level playing field.

Clean money in local communities helps in two ways – there’s the immediate benefit of better representation and decision-making at the local level. But on top of that, each additional community that goes “clean” becomes another success story to support the ongoing efforts at the local, state and federal level.