Measure H

By Sam Ferguson, Letter to the Editor

Measure Hâ€"the Berkeley Fair Elections Actâ€"was developed to strengthen political debate, increase competition for municipal office and enhance the responsiveness of local elected officials. If adopted, this proven Fair Elections system will put challengers on equal financial footing with incumbents and curb the ability of well-connected candidates to amass large campaign war chests to scare away challengers. Instead, elections will be based on candidates’ ideas, experience and community support, not their fundraising abilities.

At the same time, Measure H will help enhance financial oversight over the city’s $280 million by creating the means for political newcomers to forcefully argue for changes in budget policies and priorities. At a cost of approximately .1 percent of Berkeley’s budget, Measure H will help ensure the remaining 99.9 percent is spent according to the wishes of the community.

Jim Hultman’s suggestion that Measure Hâ€"the Berkeley Fair Elections Actâ€"is Mayor Bates’ “baby†(see “LeConte Neighbors Fume Over Stolen Endorsements,†Daily Planet, Aug. 27-30) is completely misguided. Nothing is more threatening to an incumbent than an adequately funded challenger; the very essence of Measure H. Other LeConte members and Neighborhood leadersâ€"like Nancy Carletonâ€"understand the obvious benefits of public campaign financing of elections. If some neighborhood association members feel left out and inadequately represented, their best hope is to vote Yes on H. Then, they can run for office and ensure that issues of importance to long- and lifetime Berkeley residentsâ€"like myselfâ€"remain central in local elections.

Increase the diversity of candidates! Help make elected officials more responsive! Level the playing field! Institute a proven, tested and sound reform! Help make history here in Berkeley and vote Yes on H.

Sam Ferguson

Co-Chair, Berkeley Fair Elections Coalition/Yes on H

See the article on Berkeley Daily Planet website

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