EVER THINK of running for public office?
At one time, so did popular and effective candidates --
such as Leon Panetta. Want to know why guys like these
don't run any more?
Here's why: The Democratic candidates in this week's
primary race for governor spent more than $60 million
battling each other. The winner, Phil Angelides, will have
to pick up the pace just to match Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger, who hopes to raise $50 million for his
Need more evidence? Look at home. Right here in San
Francisco, the race for the District 12 Assembly seat broke
a new record -- but not a vision record, folks. Not an idea
record or a turnout record. A spending record. The cash
spent on Fiona Ma and Janet Reilly -- who pushed nearly
identical positions -- came to almost $2 million.
Proposition 208, we hardly knew ye. The voters may have
forgotten by now, but 10 years ago, Californians tried to
stop this madness. They passed Proposition 208, which
placed strict spending limits on political contributions
and issued prohibitions on politicians' worst practices. It
wasn't the best-written initiative, and that's why the
courts were able to strike it down when both political
parties, apoplectic at the thought of real change,
challenged it. So here we are.
Unfortunately, the "Clean Money" bill (AB583) by
Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, which would set up
a system of publicly financed campaigns, remains stalled in
the Senate. History has shown that special-interest money
will always find its way into an election, but we're
optimistic. Public financing wouldn't mean an end to
loathsome, loaded, independent-expenditure committees, but
it'd offer grassroots candidates the chance to be seen. It
might even encourage good candidates to run. To us, that
sounds like money in the bank.
See the article on San Francisco Chronicle website