Monday, October 23, 2006

It doesn't have to be as it has been

Timm Herdt has a great article in today's Ventura County Star:

Imagine a world in which politicians didn't have to sweet talk special-interest groups in order to raise money to get elected, in which the support of a waitress would be just as valuable as the support of a CEO or a union president, in which a truck driver would have as good an opportunity to run for political office as a lawyer.

Imagine also a world in which the arrival of campaign season didn't mean that it was time for wave after wave of incessant, insulting and cynical television commercials about ballot propositions, paid for with tens of millions of dollars in big-business contributions.

This is the world envisioned by supporters of Proposition 89, the initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot designed to fundamentally change the way political campaigns are conducted in California.

It proposes to change races for public office by creating a pot of tax money that candidates for state office could tap into if they agreed to reject private campaign contributions, and it proposes to end the ballot proposition wars as we know them by limiting to $10,000 the amount that any corporation could give to an initiative campaign.

Supporters call their plan a cure for corruption.

Everyone realizes the current system is broken, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Proposition 89 levels the playing field and allows campaigns that are judged by ideas, not decided like an auction.