Prop. 89 for Change

By Deborah Berger

Political corruption is everywhere in California. Special interests have too much power in Sacramento, and the rest of us pay the price. Proposition 89 is the antidote, the means for California voters to take back our government.

Gas prices in California average 50cents higher than the national average because refineries keep low supplies on hand and block effective price competition.

Oil and gas companies have piped in over $40 million in political contributions since 2002 to keep it that way.

Our classrooms are too crowded with inadequate supplies, computers, art and music programs for our kids.

Legislative giveaways to lobbyist-driven projects and $3.3 billion in corporate tax loopholes divert money that should be used to improve our schools.

State contractors get sweetheart deals to build highways on their schedule while our highways remain clogged.

Is it any wonder that two-thirds of Californians think the state is run by a few big interests, and 61 percent believe big political contributions have a harmful effect on public policy?

From 2001 through May 2006, more than $1.7 billion in checks of $5,000 or more were written to influence California elections.

The contributions have a crushing effect on our democracy.

Politicians are unwilling or unable to act on solving problems - from health care to pollution to fiscal policy - for fear of offending the big campaign donors. Regular Californians and small businesses see their voices drowned out by the biggest contributors. Voters feel the politicians won't listen to them, and increasingly they just stay home on election day.

With Prop. 89, voters can strike a blow at the corrupted politicians and the special interests and restore some balance and fairness in our political system.

It establishes tough limits on contributions from corporations, unions or individuals to candidates and all committees that seek to influence the election of candidates.

The measure establishes a limit of $10,000 on how much corporations can spend on initiatives (consider the $25 million Chevron has spend just on Prop. 87) and a bar on contributions from lobbyists and state contractors.

The measure also would offer limited public funds to qualified candidates who want to serve their constituents free from obligation to private donors. And there is tough disclosure and enforcement language to make sure participants play by the rules.

As you can guess, those who enjoy their present stranglehold in Sacramento will say anything and spend whatever they think it takes to protect their privileged status. That's why the opposition to Prop. 89 is being bankrolled by big insurance firms, oil companies, utility and drug giants, developers, large banks, and some of the other biggest corporations in California and the nation.

By contrast, Prop. 89 has the support of good government groups that have worked for years for effective political reform and other trusted community organizations, including the League of Women Voters, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Common Cause, California Nurses Association, the Sierra Club and scores more.

If you're fed up with the present system and you'd like to see it change, here's your chance.

Vote "yes" on Prop. 89.


See the article on Pasadena Star-News website



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