A Chance to Remove the "For Sale"

By Bill Walzer, Letter to the Editor

Our State Assembly members will have a chance to remove the "For Sale" sign from our public officials this month. So far AB 583, The Clean Money and Fair Elections Bill, has passed the Elections and Appropriations Committees and is about to be debated on the Assembly floor. Assembly members Sally Lieber and Alberto Torrico are co-authors of the bill and it is time for Rebecca Cohn and Joe Coto to support it as well. This is a chance for them to be public servants putting the care of citizens and voters above the big money special interests.

The Clean Money system has been working with great success in the states of Maine and Arizona for several years. In Arizona the Governor took no special interest contributions to get elected. The same cannot be said for California. In those states the public is increasing their respect for their legislators. The same cannot be said for California. We pay our officials, even those we disagree with, to do their job and part of their job is campaigning. We get what we pay for and if the public doesn't pay for campaigns then officials will not be public servants but rather private servants of big money special interests.

Lobbyists for special interests should be able to make their case but their influence should be proportional to the competence of their argument, NOT the size of their campaign contributions.

The cost of clean money would be recouped many times over by the elimination of tax loopholes that are traded for campaign contributions. We need clean money campaigns in California NOW! Democracy demands it!

Bill Walzer, Berkeley

See the article on San Jose Mercury News website

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