Yes on H

By Sam Ferguson, Letter to the Editor

Editors, Daily Planet:

One would expect mudslinging and dirty politics to dominate the presidential election. I had always thought, however, that misleading statements and assertions without basis in reality had no place in our municipal public debate. Then I read Keith Winnard’s response (Letters, Daily Planet, Sept. 17-20).

Winnard apparently has not done too much of his homework. He attempts to scare Berkeley residents by claiming that with Measure H “City funds may have to be spent to support the campaign of an anti-Semitic, racist homophobe!†I guess he does not know that the qualification requirements to receive public funding are high enough to ensure only serious candidates with deep community support can run for office. To receive public funds, a council candidate must collect 100 separate $5 contributions in district from registered voters. Mayoral candidates must collect 500 $5 contributions from registered voters in the city. Would anyone in Berkeley consider giving a $5 qualifying contribution to a self-proclaimed racist, anti-Semitic homophobe, let alone 100 people? I certainly wouldn’t, and I imagine Winnard wouldn’t either…

Winnard apparently doesn’t know that at present incumbents generally outspend challengers two or three to one. I don’t understand Winnard’s logic that by making challengers financially competitive, incumbents somehow gain an advantage. Certainly all evidence in Maine and Arizona points to the contrary.

Where fair and clean elections systems have been working extremely well for years, not once has a frivolous or vanity candidate qualified for public funds. All that the systems have done is increased participation in the political process (voter turnout has increased), made elections more competitive (incumbents are frequently challenged, what a noble thought!) and restored trust in government (elected officials are responsive to voters, not donors).

Sam Ferguson

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

See the article on Berkeley Daily Planet website

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