The MediaNews editorial opposing Proposition 15 is out of step with the views of an overwhelming majority of Californians. They believe - correctly - that money has corrupted our political system.

An astonishing 73 percent of Californians believe that state government is "pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves," according to a poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California late last year.

The profound disillusionment with government expressed by that figure is directly related to this fact: More than $1 billion has been spent by special interests to influence election outcomes and public policy decisions in the last 10 years.

Is it any wonder that people are losing trust in government to work on their behalf?

California is the poster child of a broken campaign finance system because of the state's size and the high cost of campaigns.

That's why organizations who speak for the common good like the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, AARP, the Consumer Federation, Sierra Club, and Church IMPACT support Prop. 15.

Prop. 15 takes a small but real step in getting money out of politics.

It establishes a voluntary pilot program of public financing for the office of California Secretary of State - the state official who oversees our elections and makes sure they are fair.

It won't cost taxpayers a dime. The program is financed by a small increase in the registration fee paid by lobbyists in Sacramento.

My experience in the Legislature convinced me that we must change the way we finance election campaigns so that elected officials are able to focus ONLY on the needs of the people who elected them, rather than on fundraising from special interests.

It ends the fundraising game because those who qualify for the Fair Elections System by raising $5 contributions from 7,500 registered voters are banned from raising or spending money beyond the limited funds they receive.

Prop. 15 is tough: It imposes strict new limits on how much money participating candidates can spend and what they spend it on. Candidates and special interests who violate the law face possible jail time and prohibitions from running for office in the future.

The Fair Elections pilot project is funded by raising registration fees on lobbyists and the interest groups that hire them to $350 a year.

Currently, registered lobbyists in California pay only $12.50 a year,"o among the lowest rates in the country. The new fees would provide enough money to fully fund all of the Secretary of State candidates who ran in 2006.

Each clean money candidate would be able to spend far more time talking with voters than they do under the current broken system, which forces them to be constantly on the phone dialing for dollars.

The editorial worried that Prop. 15 might conflict with Proposition 14, the top-two primary initiative.

I believe Prop. 15 would have no affect whatsoever on Prop. 14. Voters should decide each initiative on its own merits.

The benefits of clean money campaigns have been proven everywhere they've been used.

Seven states have implemented some form of campaign public financing and almost 400 officials, of both political parties, have been elected under the system.

Because they never take campaign contributions, they can speak their mind and work for the people, not the special interests.

Voters have a rare opportunity to send a message that they want a change in our broken system by voting yes on Prop. 15 in the June primary election.

Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, represents the 9th district and was the author of AB 583, the bill that put Proposition 15 on the ballot.

financed by a small increase in the registration fee paid by lobbyists in Sacramento.

My experience in the Legislature convinced me that we must change the way we finance election campaigns so that elected officials are able to focus ONLY on the needs of the people who elected them, rather than on fundraising from special interests.

It ends the fundraising game because those who qualify for the Fair Elections System by raising $5 contributions from 7,500 registered voters are banned from raising or spending money beyond the limited funds they receive.

Prop. 15 is tough: It imposes strict new limits on how much money participating candidates can spend and what they spend it on. Candidates and special interests who violate the law face possible jail time and prohibitions from running for office in the future.

The Fair Elections pilot project is funded by raising registration fees on lobbyists and the interest groups that hire them to $350 a year.

Currently, registered lobbyists in California pay only $12.50 a year,"o among the lowest rates in the country. The new fees would provide enough money to fully fund all of the Secretary of State candidates who ran in 2006.

Each clean money candidate would be able to spend far more time talking with voters than they do under the current broken system, which forces them to be constantly on the phone dialing for dollars.

The editorial worried that Prop. 15 might conflict with Proposition 14, the top-two primary initiative.

I believe Prop. 15 would have no affect whatsoever on Prop. 14. Voters should decide each initiative on its own merits.

The benefits of clean money campaigns have been proven everywhere they've been used.

Seven states have implemented some form of campaign public financing and almost 400 officials, of both political parties, have been elected under the system.

Because they never take campaign contributions, they can speak their mind and work for the people, not the special interests.

Voters have a rare opportunity to send a message that they want a change in our broken system by voting yes on Prop. 15 in the June primary election.


Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, represents the 9th district and was the author of AB 583, the bill that put Proposition 15 on the ballot.