Prop. 89 gives voters a chance to take back government
Big special interests are steadily increasing their control
of California politics. The rest of us pay the price.
Californians pay roller-coaster prices for gasoline,
usually 20 to 50 cents higher than the national average
because refineries are able to block effective price
competition. Oil and gas companies have piped in more than
$40 million in political contributions since 2002, and
every bill this year that might have helped counter the
vicious gasoline price cycle was killed or stalled.
Our classrooms remain overcrowded and inadequately supplied
while at least $3.3 billion in corporate tax loopholes
annually divert money that should be used to improve our
schools and other infrastructure.
Cable TV viewers can expect higher prices, poorer customer
service and unequal access to cable after phone companies
spent $20 million to persuade legislators to lift
regulation of the cable TV market with no protections for
Chronic asthma rates, linked to polluted air, are rising.
Yet, bills to reduce diesel emissions at Los Angeles and
Long Beach ports were vetoed due to heavy opposition by the
polluters and the sellers of cheap imported goods.
Thousands of Southern California homeowners who lost
everything in wildfires are burned again by insurance
companies who raise rates, cancel insurance, or delay
claims with burdensome paperwork. Bills to help homeowners
died a quiet death in the Assembly Insurance Committee this
year after insurers showered committee members with
campaign cash and gifts.
Californians are fed up with this system of corruption, and
rightly so. Proposition 89, however, is the way for
California voters to take back their government.
Voters understand that their voices will otherwise continue
to be drowned out by the special-interest contributors who
write the checks that keep getting bigger every year. They
know that politicians are too often unable or unwilling to
act as they should for fear of offending the big-money
From 2001 through May 2006, more than $1.7 billion in
checks of $5,000 or more were written to influence
elections and legislation. The average check was $33,000,
far beyond the reach of average Californians. Who do you
think has the ear of the politicians?
With Proposition 89 on the November ballot, voters can
strike back and restore some balance and fairness in our
Here's what it does: Restricts what corporations, unions,
or individuals can contribute to candidates and all
committees that seek to influence the election of
candidates. Limits corporations from spending more than
$10,000 on initiatives (consider the $25 million Chevron
alone has spent on Proposition 87). Bars contributions from
lobbyists and state contractors.
Public funds are offered to qualified candidates who want
to serve their constituents free from obligation to private
donors. If politicians or lobbyists break the law, they can
be fined, thrown out of office or put in jail.
Not surprisingly, the opposition to Proposition 89 is being
bankrolled by big insurance, oil and drug companies and
other corporate giants across the state and nation. They
will spend and say whatever they think it takes to protect
their stranglehold over our government. What they most fear
is the fairer elections that Proposition 89 would create
â€" a level playing field in which a broader,
more diverse array of candidates could run for office and
win, even if they are not wealthy and in the pocket of the
big donors. And legislators who no longer have to spend
most of their time dialing for dollars would be accountable
to the people, not the big special interests.
Proposition 89 has the support of good government groups
that have worked for years for effective political reform
and other trusted community organizations, including the
League of Women Voters, AARP, Common Cause, California
Nurses Association, the Sierra Club and scores more.
There is a solution to the creeping rule by lobbyists and
the big money donors in Sacramento â€" a yes
vote on Proposition 89.
See the article on Ventura County Star website