Clean Campaign Finance

By Nicky Gonzalez Yuen, Letter to the Editor

Editor -- Regarding "Juggling act helped GOP put 2 in office" (Sept. 7): This story of campaign finance scandal is much more about a broken system than about corrupt individuals. Whether it is Republicans laundering $1 million through county committees, or Democratic state Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's acceptance of tainted money from a San Francisco wheeler- dealer, the lesson should be clear: We need publicly financed elections.

As long as candidates need to raise large sums, those with a lot of money will have too much influence on government. And candidates will be tempted to cater to the donors' interests, not the public's.

Arizona and Maine have proven "clean elections" laws. Candidates receive public financing for their campaigns if they can show they are legitimate by collecting a certain number of token contributions from the public.

This frees candidates from the leash of special-interest, big-money donors. It forces candidates to interact with regular people.

It also allows candidates to focus on the substance of public-policy issues rather than on raising money.

Voter turnout rises along with the voters' confidence in the independence of their elected officials.

Let's clean up California with clean elections.

NICKY GONZÃLEZ YUEN

Berkeley


See the article on San Francisco Chronicle website



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