South Bay Residents Say Yes to Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act
Assembly Members Jim Beall, Jr., Joe Coto, Paul Fong, Ira Ruskin, Sally Lieber (ret.), Fred Keeley (ret.) and San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon join state and local leaders to support Proposition 15, California Fair Elections Act on June Ballot
San Jose - On the heels of the recent U.S. Supreme Court
ruling that allows unlimited corporate expenditures in
elections, Assembly Members Jim Beall, Jr. (D-San Jose),
Joe Coto (D-San Jose ), Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), Ira Ruskin
(D-Redwood City), Sally Lieber (ret.) and Fred Keely
(ret.), and community leaders came together today to
educate the South Bay community about Proposition 15, the
California Fair Elections Act, a ballot proposition which
would get elected officials out of the fundraising game and
focused on solving California's problems.
San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon joined the
California state and local South Bay leaders in a forum at
the First Unitarian Church of San Jose. "Candidates are
forced to spend much too much time fundraising under our
current electoral system. Campaigns are unfortunately
expensive enterprises," said Assembly Member Jim Beall, Jr.
"When California passes a fair elections system on the June
ballot, elected officials will be able to focus on doing
the work they were elected to do." Since 2000, over $1
billion has been raised by California politicians, buying
special interests unprecedented access but shutting out the
rest of us. That's why polls show nearly three out of four
voters want to change the way elections in California are
"We can all agree that the influence of special interest
money means ordinary Americans don't have a voice in the
debate," said Senator Loni Hancock. "By passing Proposition
15, we can begin to break the connection between political
donations and public policy."
Authored by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) and signed by
Governor Schwarzenegger, the California Fair Elections Act
would establish a voluntary pilot project for California's
Secretary of State races in 2014 and 2018. Candidates would
qualify for public financing if they agree to strict
spending prohibitions and raise a large number of $5
contributions from Californians. The pilot program would be
funded primarily by fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms, and
lobbyist employers, with no taxpayer dollars going to
A version of the California Fair Elections Act is already
in place in seven states and two cities. Nearly 400
candidates were elected using only fair elections funding
in their 2008 campaigns, and the programs enjoy popular
support across party lines. National surveys show that two
out of three voters support public financing.
When these financial barriers are eliminated, as they have
been in Arizona and Maine, more women and people of color
are allowed to run for office. In Arizona, Former Governor
Janet Napolitano was elected under the fair elections
system and the number of Latino and Native American
candidates running for office nearly tripled in the first
year that the system went fully into effect, from 13 in
2000 to 37 in 2002.
Voters are ready for elections that money can't buy. In an
October 2009 survey, likely June 2010 voters supported the
California Fair Elections Act by a nearly 3-1 margin.
Support held strong across all political parties and
geographic regions of California with support of 65% among
Latinos, 65% among Democrats, 65% among independents, and
59% among Republicans.
"Please join me in voting 'Yes' for Proposition 15," said
Assembly Member Joe Coto. "The passage of Proposition 15 in
June will make sure that candidates can focus on solving
California's problems and not on fundraising."
"Under a fair elections system, elected officials truly
represent voters, not campaign donors," said Trent Lange,
chairman of the California Fair Elections Campaign. "Public
financing has freed elected officials across the country to
pass bi-partisan, groundbreaking legislation that is only
possible when our leaders do not fear retribution from
powerful special interests."
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