Campaign Finances a Hot Topic

By Kristofer Young

Ventura-based Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions believes that elected officials serving without the influence of special-interest money are critical to the functioning of a democracy. To that end, CPR has organized a presentation and discussion today, from 3-5 p.m. at E.P. Foster Library, 651 E. Main St., Ventura, to inform our community of solutions to the current corruption, and to inspire action to further the existing efforts to clean up our electoral system.

To take money out of politics requires campaign finance reform.

Our local expert, Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, will share his views and experience on how to separate big money from election outcomes. Bennett knows that money has corrupted local politics and has eroded public confidence in elected officials. He has written two of the toughest campaign contribution-limit laws in the state â€" one for the city of Ventura, the other for the county of Ventura.

Eric Tang, communications coordinator for the California Clean Money Campaign, will also speak on the work of his organization and will educate us about the reform legislation that was passed in January in the Assembly and which is now headed for the state Senate and potentially the governor. Tang will also show a brief video featuring Bill Moyers explaining his views and commitment to the Clean Money Campaign.

Timm Herdt, chief of The Star's state bureau, in his Feb. 8 article on campaign finance reform, shared the following example of why reform is needed: "(It was revealed) ... last week by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights that Schwarzenegger's campaign paid PUC Commissioner Susan Kennedy $25,000 in campaign funds two weeks after she had voted to approve AT&T's merger with SBC Communications â€" and three weeks after AT&T had contributed $25,000 to the governor's campaign committee."

Herdt had more to say. He reported that he recently heard former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, in response to a question about campaign financing following a speech at the University of California, Davis, say that he now believes the only way to deal with the corrupting influence of money in politics is to make it so that if a politician accepts even a single dollar from a private donor "he'd go to jail."

But, back to the question: Can we take the money out of politics? My answer is to remind us that we live in a democracy. We, the people, can vote to fix this broken part of our electoral system. Please join us today as we discuss getting the money out of politics and regaining trust in our elected officials.

For more information, call CPR at 850-5849.

Kristofer Young, of Ojai, is a Steering Committee member of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, .

See the article on Ventura County Star website

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

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