Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ventura County Star

ventura county star The Ventura County Star supports Proposition 89

The Star supports Proposition 89 because we believe it will help control out-of-control campaign fundraising, which taints the Legislature. It also allows more people to run for public office, as has been demonstrated in states such as Maine and Arizona, where similar measures were approved. Among its supporters is the League of Women Voters of California.

Star state bureau chief Timm Herdt captured the scene perfectly in an August article, "Lawmakers rake in end-of-session cash," which described state legislators working overtime raising campaign money just before the legislative season ended, at the time they were voting on hundreds of bills. Most fundraising events were breakfasts, lunches and dinners, attended by contributors with checks for $500, $1,000 or $3,000.

Raising money this way is a fact of life for politicians of all stripes, but it takes away valuable time from legislating and certainly creates the perception that lawmakers are beholden to big donors.

It is a perception, if not a fact, that Proposition 89 would address by changing the way political campaigns for state candidates and state ballots only are funded. [...]

Proposition 89 is needed to end what amounts to legalized bribery in Sacramento. The Star encourages a yes vote.

Last week, Timm Herdt has a great article:

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.