More on Clean Money

By Lynn Davidson

Editors, Daily Planet:

J. Douglas Allen-Taylor’s gloomy article about the vulnerability of the California Clean Money bill, AB 583, seems strangely out of step in the wake of the passage of the bill by the full Assembly on Jan. 30. The bill passed 47-31 on a party-line vote, with two Republicans abstaining and one Democrat voting against. The bill will now go to the Senate.

Yes, Clean Money is an uphill battle and yes it will be difficult to get it passed into law. But there is a major grass-roots action behind Clean Money involving thousands of Californians who wrote letters and made phone calls to their assemblymembers in support of AB 583. Several of the assemblymembers who spoke on the floor Monday in support of the bill remarked about the strength of this grassroots support as well as about the recent PPIC poll that revealed how 78 percent California voters feel that the government is in the hands of big corporate interests. It is clear to California’s elected officials that real reform, as opposed to a little tweaking of lobbying laws, is required to win citizens’ confidence in government.

Although in the past some have criticized earlier versions of the bill for being too favorable to major parties and incumbents, the bill has been amended to be more friendly to third parties. Thus, in December the Green Party of California formally endorsed AB 583 with its amended performance-based system that allows candidates regardless of party an opportunity to get full funding in the general election if they can show substantial community support.

Less cynical hand wringing about the obstacles and more energy and creativity put into overcoming them will bring publicly financed election campaigns to California. It has happened in Maine and Arizona, it can happen here.

AB 583 enjoys huge popular support and a growing number of activists are getting involved in helping with its passage. In addition, there are a number of decent, well-meaning legislators who are working hard to create a well-crafted law that will really work to restore democracy to our state. So be part of the solution to our myriad political woes, and join the Clean Money campaign!

See the article on Berkeley Daily Planet website

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