Councilmembers Alarcon, Cardenas, And Hahn Hold Key to Fair Elections in Los Angeles

* City Council vote to be held today on Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights

By California Clean Money Campaign, Press Release

PRESS RELEASE from the California Clean Money Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Trent Lange, (310) 428-1556

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote today on a critical electoral reform package, the Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights. Introduced by Councilmembers Jose Huizar, Eric Garcetti, and Paul Koretz, the Voters' Bill of Rights is designed to increase the city's anemic voter turnout and strengthen its public matching funds program to limit special interest control over elections.

"The outrageous amounts of money in politics, with over $2 billion likely to be spent in this year's Congressional elections, shows that Los Angeles needs to dramatically improve its campaign finance system before the new tidal wave of spending hits here", said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign. "The Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights is a key step towards allowing Los Angeles to better respond to the flood of ever-increasing special interest money."

A key component to the plan is to remove the cap on the city's matching funds Trust Fund. This will ensure that the full $3 million a year that Los Angeles voters specified go to public financing of campaigns when they passed the matching funds program in 1990 are available for qualified candidates. The city's matching fund system has increased the importance of small contributors and enabled grassroots candidates to run competitive campaigns, but has been used by fewer candidates in recent years. No general funds beyond those already allocated by the voters' would be required.

Removing the Trust Fund cap will also allow the city to move to full Voter-Owned Elections, or Fair Elections public financing of campaigns, when more funds become available, so that candidates who show a broad base of support have the option of running without raising any special interest money.

The Voters' Bill of Rights is supported by groups like the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles, California Common Cause, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Greenlining Institute, and the Los Angeles Federation of Labor. Its passage by council would put a measure on the March 2011 ballot to amend the city charter.

Councilmembers Paul Krekorian, Tom LaBonge, Ed Reyes, and Bill Rosendahl have all shown support for joining Councilmembers Huizar, Garcetti, and Koretz in voting Yes on raising the Trust Fund cap. Unfortunately, Councilmembers Bernard Parks, Jan Perry, Greg Smith, Herb Wesson, and Dennis Zine have either indicated they're likely to vote no or have voted no on similar measures in the past, though they could still vote for reform this time.

That leaves the fate of Fair Elections in Los Angeles up to Councilmembers Richard Alarcon, Tony Cardenas, and Janice Hahn. All have endorsed full public financing measures in the past, but have not yet taken a position on raising the public matching funds Trust Fund cap.

"Hopefully Councilmembers Alarcon, Cardenas, and Hahn will help the city address the huge growth in special interest fundraising by giving voters the chance to strengthen the city's public financing system,"L said Lange. "They have all championed Clean Money and Fair Elections in the past, and this is the perfect opportunity for them to do so again."

Councilmembers Alarcon, Cardenas, and Hahn are all Democrats. The California Democratic Party platform states that "California Democrats believe that a healthy democracy is based on clean, fair elections… We will work for public financing of political campaigns at all levels of government…"

Public financing of campaigns are supported by Los Angeles voters, as indicated by the 52% of city voters who voted Yes last June on Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act.


#####< br> The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to build statewide support for public funding of election campaigns. For further information, visit www.CAclean.org.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


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The Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote today on a critical electoral reform package, the Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights. Introduced by Councilmembers Jose Huizar, Eric Garcetti, and Paul Koretz, the Voters' Bill of Rights is designed to increase the city's anemic voter turnout and strengthen its public matching funds program to limit special interest control over elections.   Full story

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DirtyMoneyWatch.org Reveals Calif. Politicians' Dirty Secrets, Shows Need for Prop 89, The Clean Money & Fair Elections Act

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Consumer Federation of California Endorses Prop 89; Group Cites Corrosive Role of Big Business Money in Politics

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Arguing that the absence of campaign spending limits severely restricts access of minority and low-income communities to the political process, the Equal Justice Society on Wednesday filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Supreme Court in Randall v. Sorrell.  The California Clean Money Campaign joined a number of other groups in filing the brief.  Full story

Democrats' Weekly Radio Address

Democrats\' Weekly Radio Address, by Speaker Fabian Nunez, 2/6/06

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California Nurses to Sponsor Clean Money Initiative to Stem Corruption of Elections, Ballot Campaigns

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The California Nurses Association late Monday introduced a broad reform initiative to transform politics in California by providing for public financing of elections and tough restrictions on the corrupting influence of corporations, lobbyists, and other big money donors in candidate elections and ballot measure campaigns.  Full story

Abramoff Scandal and Calls For Reform

Public Campaign, by Nick Nyhart, 1/21/06

"... While lobbying reform is important, these proposals lack the crucial element needed to restore public confidence in our political system: addressing the pay-to-play campaign finance system that puts lobbyists and other special interests ahead of ordinary voters..."  Full story

Connecticut Assembly Passes Publicly Financed Elections For Assembly And State-Wide Races

Public Campaign, 12/1/05

"Voters won today and the Connecticut legislature made history when lawmakers approved full public financing of legislative and state-wide elections. Under this system, elected officials will be free to run without having to rely on lobbyist contributions or well heeled donors..."  Full story

Public Financing of State Elections Passes Assembly Committee

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This afternoon the Califonia State Assembly passed a California Common Cause supported bill to enact full public financing of all state offices... Passed by a 5-2 vote of the Assembly Elections Committee, AB 2949 (Hancock-Berkeley) would place a measure on the ballot to create a voluntary system of full public financing for all legislative and statewide races.  Full story

Campaign Finance Reform Press Event

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“To paraphrase an old saying, if it is broken, do fix it.  California's democracy is broken... A clean money system has worked in Arizona and Maine. California would do well to join those states and adopt public financing..."  Full story

Candidates Who Outraise Opponents Won 97.5% of the Time

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In all but two Assembly districts and one Senate district, the candidate who raised more campaign funds than their opponent won the race in the November 2002 elections, according to preliminary* analysis done by TheRestofUs.org.  Full story

Schwarzenegger Shell Game

Press Release, by www.RecallMoneyWatch.com, 2/2/04

Governor Schwarzenegger has been raising and transferring funds at breakneck pace of late.  By raking in $1,727,766, the Governor's total take since his election shot from just over $4,090,230 to $5,817,996 since the last edition of this newsletter on January 27.   Full story

The Real Color of Money

Public Campaign, Press Release, 12/11/03

A new study, Color of Money 2003, shows a dramatic disparity between America’s diverse population and the small number of people who finance political campaigns: nine out of ten dollars contributed by individuals to federal campaigns and parties (of contributions more than $200) in the 2000 and 2002 elections come from majority non-Hispanic white zip codes, yet nearly one out of three Americans is a person of color.   Full story

Public Campaign Statement on Supreme Court's BCRA Decision

Press Release, by Public Campaign, 12/10/03

“We’re pleased that the Court upheld the substantial provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). Clearly, the Court believes money does not equal speech and that we can regulate the role of money in politics to enhance democracy. However, big money is still drowning the voices of average people in our electoral system..."  Full story

The Hightower Report

Austin Chronicle, by Jim Hightower, 11/28/03

"Pundits and other political cynics scoff at citizens' efforts to reform America's money-corrupted political process.... if the cynics would only lift their eyes from their myopic focus on Washington, they would see something big taking place in such diverse states as Maine and Arizona ... public financing of elections."  Full story

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