Reconnecting Politicians to the Citizenry

*Letter to the Editor

By Ellen Stern Harris, Beverly Hills

You correctly describe how California's current campaign financing works: "politicians shake down contributors and pay them back with favors at the citizenry's expense." Fortunately, there's now a better model. It's called "clean-money campaigning." This requires a prospective candidate to collect a large number of signatures, accompanied by contributions of $5 each. These are submitted to the state to qualify for public financing.

Both Arizona and Maine have enacted this form of public financing. It allows for viable competition by those not financed by the special interests. And the results are most encouraging. For example, in Arizona, seven out of nine statewide offices, including that of the governor, were won by clean-money candidates. Maine's Legislature recently passed a form of universal health care that has been signed by the governor. Clean-money candidates there now hold over half the state's legislative seats. Efforts are underway in California to enact similar legislation. For further information: .

Ellen Stern Harris

Beverly Hills

See the article on Los Angeles Times website

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