Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Proposition 89 Momentum

Ruth Rosen, a history teacher at the University of California, Berkeley and a senior fellow of the Longview Institute, has an article in the current issue of the American Prospect:

Now the battle in California begins. On one side the measure is supported by the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, State Treasurer Phil Angelides, the League of Women Voters of California, Common Cause, and other nonprofit and community organizations.

On the other side is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who as a candidate in 2003 promised to end "pay-to-play" politics, but whose tireless fund raising has made his predecessors look like amateurs at a bodybuilding contest. He is joined by the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Taxpayers' Association, insurance companies, oil companies, HMOs, three powerful unions, members of the entrenched political establishment, and consultants and lobbyists. They argue that clean-money campaigns limit free speech, by which they mean the freedom to give a candidate as much money as they please. They also claim it's a wasteful public subsidy for politicians. (Some of their objections will almost certainly end up in the courts. Fortunately, the California initiative was written so that each part can be implemented separately, if any section is litigated.)

Right now, there seems to be considerable popular momentum for Proposition 89. In 2005, a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 92 percent of California adult residents believe that special interests control the electoral process.

Special interests aren't going to give up their power without a fight, so help Proposition 89, go Buck the System Now.