California Could Use "Clean Money"
The Daily Breeze's Sunday editorial was disappointing in
the depth of its misunderstanding of both the provisions
of, and philosophy behind, Proposition 89. As one of the
primary drafters of Proposition 89, I know that the measure
does not seek to remove money from politics, which is, as
you point out, impossible. What it does do is seek to end
our current system of legalized bribery and level the
political playing field so that elections can be about
ideas and not money. With a Clean Money system in place,
more ordinary Californians -- not just the "political
class" -- would actually be able to run for office.
Experience in Arizona and Maine, which have Clean Money
systems, bears this out. The goal is an election landscape
that is a vigorous marketplace of ideas, with candidates
able to communicate effectively with voters.
We agree that there must be fast and full disclosure of all
campaign contributions. California law has already made a
start in achieving that goal. We've built 24-hour
electronic reporting of contributions into Proposition 89.
However, full disclosure alone has not solved the problem.
We now have a system in which full disclosure leads to the
overwhelming desire to vote for "none of the above.''
Relying on full disclosure of campaign contributions
without providing an alternative to the current corrupting
system has had the unintended consequence of breeding
cynicism and voter apathy. Voter turnout in California has
reached historical lows. The drafters and endorsers of
Proposition 89 do not believe in ceding our democracy to an
"it can't be fixed, just put up with it" attitude. Because
we believe that California's voters aren't ready to give up
either, we've put Proposition 89 on the November ballot.
Californians who have had it with our warped system of
political campaign funding will be voting yes on 89.
-- SUSAN LERNER
California Clean Money Action Fund
See the article on Daily Breeze website