Friday, September 15, 2006

Yes on Proposition 89

Last night, the Proposition 89 Blog began rolling out version 2.0 -- this will allow you more tools to stay informed about the campaign.

Speaking of websites, some Attorney/Business in Irvine named Mark Patlan is a real hack. He has an Op-Ed in today's OC Register that talks about websites and Proposition 89, but it is clear by the writing that the author hasn't visited this website. Mark Patlan is a hack. It might be that he is a hack writer, it might be that he is a hack lawyer, or maybe it is because he isn't much of a political hack when it comes to the internet, but Mark Patlan is clearly a hack.

Here's what really got me about his column, the way he transitions directly from, "Further restrictions are included in Proposition 89 on the November ballot" straight into setting up a pathetic straw man against the current system:

In order to understand how these regulations chill political speech, imagine that there is a cause that you wish to support or oppose – building a toll road, universal health care, universal preschool or saving the endangered brown gnatcatcher. Now you wish to do something about it.

You learn that there is a political committee supporting your position. So, you contact the committee and offer your ideas on how you could create some grass-roots support for the effort. Perhaps, you could set up your own Web site and launch an e-mail campaign. Then you could take donations to support your efforts, or channel donations to the political committee.

After consulting an attorney, the political committee politely declines your help, instead asking only for your money.

This example illustrates how campaign finance regulation reduces political speech to financial contribution, the very evil that it purports to address. Under the California Fair Political Practices Act, the minute that you spent any money on your cause or raised any money for the cause, you became a political committee subject to the Act. Once you raise or spend $1,000, you become subject to the Act's strict reporting and disclosure requirements. And you don't dare "coordinate" your campaign with another "committee."

Patlan's goal is a website and an email campaign. His straw man is that he thinks the cost of a website will force people to hire lawyers. Well, let's look at this website.

Notice the Proposition 89 Blog URL, this is a free blogspot site, you can start your own for free in a handful of clicks. In fact, today's upgrade is to take advantage of the free new tools by using Blog Beta. Patlan could start a free blog to post his column and support the issues he cares about in under 10 minutes -- all for free.


The other half of Patlan's goal is an email campaign. Thanks to feedburner, this site has has a feature where you can sign up and receive a daily email of all posts from this blog, any day that there is a post.

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Right now, it is big money special interests who dominate elections. Too many Californians have been turned off by the current system. In other states that have clean elections, participation has increased. We want more people caring about politics. There are easy tools like those listed above for people to make their voice heard. Proposition 89 will level the playing field, giving more people an incentive to start a website and contribute ideas.