Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reason We Need Prop 89 #29845

Peter Schrag writes in the Sacramento Bee on big money special interests dominating the initiative process:

Yet with each election, it also becomes clearer that what was supposed to be the people's weapon against the "interests" is now the plaything of those interests -- Indian gambling casinos, railroads, tobacco companies, public employee unions -- and of rich individuals pursuing their own causes. [...]

But what does it say about a democracy where only the wealthy can get an initiative on the ballot at all and dominate campaign funding; where the system itself is so convoluted (often by prior initiatives) that most people can't understand it all, much less know who is accountable; and where the voters who decide elections are themselves just a majority of a minority?

What does it say? It says we need Proposition 89. We know the problem, we know the solution. But with the way the initiative system currently works, good policy isn't enough.

There is a reason the special interests who move big money don't like Prop 89.

UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee allows readers to comment on articles. Commenter nancyneff says:

There is a grassroots effort underway supporting Prop 89, the first truly comprehensive campaign finance reform. This measure includes a $10,000 limit on ballot initiative spending from a corporate treasury. Spending from corporate and union PACs remains unlimited, but at least it provides for some leveling of the playing field. You can't limit individual rich people from spending their own money, but voters have not reacted posiviely to that. In Arizona, Clean Money Elections have increased voter turnout and increased the number of women and minorities in elected office. It's the first thing in 20 years that's broken through my protective shell of cynicism with regard to politics.

Clean money renews people's faith and brings more people into the political discussion.