Saturday, October 21, 2006

Latinos Rally for Proposition 89

La Opinion, the state's leading Spanish language newspaper, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, one of the most influential elected Latino leaders in the country, have recently endorsed Proposition 89 - an initiative to stem political corruption and create a level playing field for California elections.

"At a time when far too many Californians are disenchanted with our political system, passage of Prop. 89 will be a big step forward in getting more people involved in our political system and restoring public faith in our democracy," said Villaraigosa. "Prop 89. will broaden the playing field and allow Californians from all walks of life to run for office and help solve problems affecting all Californians – from improving our schools to protecting our environment to assuring access to quality healthcare for all."

Wednesday's edition of La Opinion urged voters to support the measure. "Proposition 89 is indispensable to put some trust in an electoral system in which money seems more important than votes. Vote Yes on Proposition 89!"

"In Sacramento, the priorities of our working class and middle class communities are too often shut out by the demands of big money campaign contributors," said Unai Montes-Irueste, statewide field director for the Clean Money Now, Yes on 89 campaign. "The Yes on 89 campaign is serious about opening the doors of democracy to all Californians, and we have sought to be unique and creative in our outreach to the Latino community."

The Clean Money Now, Yes on 89 campaign maintains a bilingual website dedicated to Latinos ( and this week "Bat Hombre-89" appeared on Telemundo to help clean up California by arresting corrupt "politicians." The campaign is also releasing a Spanish language version of the "Stop the Pounding" ad produced by cult media icon Bill Hillsman--the ad is the #1 most viewed political ad on YouTube this week with 50,000 total online views.

The endorsements of Villaraigosa and La Opinion come amidst growing support for Prop. 89 among Latino political organizations and leaders, including the Mexican American Political Association, the National Latino Congreso, United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, State Sen. Richard Alarcón, and Assembly members Ed Chavez, Cindy Montanez, Lori Saldaña and Pedro Nava.

Proposition 89 reduces how much corporations, unions or individuals can give to candidates, bars contributions to candidates by lobbyists and government contractors, and limits corporations to spending no more than $10,000 on ballot initiatives. It supports candidates who reject private fundraising with a set limit of public funds, paid for not by individuals but by a small 0.2% increase in the corporate tax rate. If politicians or lobbyists break the law, they can be fined, removed from office, or jailed.

In Arizona, where a Clean Elections system similar to that contained in Proposition 89 has been in places for several election cycles, the number of minority elected officials has tripled and voter turnout has increased over twenty percent.

Other major endorsers of Prop. 89 include the League of Women Voters of California, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) California, Sierra Club California, Common Cause, Foundation for T axpayer and Consumer Rights, United Teachers Los Angeles, Service Employees Intl. Union California Sate Council, and the California Clean Money Campaign.