Proposition 15

June 2010 Election Day: Corporations vs. Democracy

By Robert Cruickshank

There is a very clear theme to today's election: will corporations take over California's politics, or will the voters stand up in defense of their democracy?

This theme appears again and again and again in races across the state, from the governor's race on down to the ballot propositions and state legislative races. Corporations and the CEOs that used to run them are convinced that their money will be enough to sway voters to give those corporations and CEOs much more power over our wallets and our elections. A massively underfunded, but broadly-based progressive coalition is fighting back, and in some of the key races, the outcome is far from clear.

Take Heart! The End is Near!

By Peter Schrag

So who ran the sleaziest campaign? Now that this election is all but over, the best catharsis other than a long shower may be in reflection. I fantasize about a poll for who should be chosen as having spewed the largest, slimiest mass of political sludge into the soil of what used to be called our democratic process.

The contest should not be just among candidates for office or among the sponsors of ballot initiatives – Meg Whitman? Steve Poizner? PG&E? Mercury Insurance? – but among the political consultants and campaign managers who, it seems, tend increasingly to invest both the bodies and the brains of the people they manage.

Prop 15: Step One in Breaking Big Money’s Strangle Hold on California Elections

By Zack Kaldveer
Consumer Federation of California

Our state's broken campaign-finance system forces lawmakers to spend too much time begging for money from big contributors seeking favors and not enough time focusing on solving problems and representing their constituents.

Nearly $400 million was spent by candidates in California in the 2006 election – and over $1 billion since 2001.

The Consumer Federation of California witnesses first hand how this "pay to play" system undermines the public interest, as one proposed consumer protection law after another is crushed under a ton of corporate special-interest donations.

It’s not hard to understand why. California has among the weakest campaign finance rules of any state in the country.

Prop. 15 Means Fair Elections

By Janis Hirohama
League of Women Voters

It’s not news to any of us in California that our governance is dysfunctional. One reason for the mess we’re in is our current campaign finance system. The amount of money spent on elections is outrageous. The system gives big donors outsized influence, drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens.

And our elected officials spend far too much time raising money and not enough time doing their jobs. To break this pattern, we need to change the way we fund election campaigns, so that politicians can get out of the fundraising business and focus on fixing the serious issues facing our state — like education, public safety, and the budget crisis.

California Democratic Party Convention Preview

By Robert Cruickshank

Democrats from across the state are gathering in LA this weekend for the 2010 CDP Convention, and I too have made the schlep down from Monterey, as I'm a delegate. Steve Maviglio has already offered his take on the upcoming convention, but I thought I'd offer a slightly different perspective. Here are the stories I'm expecting to dominate the convention:

How Prop 15 Makes Expansion of Clean Money Possible

By Robert Cruickshank

Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act, is widely known as the proposal to have the Secretary of State elected by a clean money system beginning in 2014 as a way to demonstrate the viability of the concept to Californians. But that's not all Prop 15 does, and not the only way it can expand clean money to the rest of the state.

Prop 15 also removes a 20-year old restriction on local governments adopting clean money, and makes it easier to expand the system in the future by not requiring a follow-up vote to create public financing for other statewide races.

Prop 15 Gains Momentum

By Robert Cruickshank

The California Fair Elections Act, on the ballot as Prop 15, has been getting some serious momentum of late. Which is fitting, since it is one of the necessary first steps for breaking corporate power in this state. Yesterday the San Jose Mercury News came out in support of Prop 15:

Proposition 15, the initiative on the June ballot to publicly finance the 2014 and 2018 campaigns for secretary of state, won't eliminate the influence of money in politics. It's a small step in the right direction, however - and if it's successful, it could lead to much-needed broader campaign finance reform. Vote yes....Proposition 15 is a pilot project that attempts to remove the corrupting influence of money in one race. Given that the secretary of state oversees elections, it's a good place to start.