In the face of the massive, ongoing power-grab by the right-wing conservatives in the service of their corporate masters there has been little to cheer about in recent months. Item by item we have seen our constitutional protections threatened, our rights degraded and our societal safeguards pulled out from under our feet.
Underlying so much of these losses is the fact that our politicians are almost completely bought and paid for by corporations looking to curry favor from elected officials. And in the face of such large amounts of money, most politicians lose any shred of integrity they may have had and think only of how they will win re-election when their current term is up. By accepting large corporate campaign donations the elected official feels obligated to make political and legislative decisions that favor their corporate donors – usually at the expense of the middle class, the working poor, seniors, the mentally ill and other vulnerable groups, not to mention the environment.
BUT! We finally have some good news as a result of the passage of Ballot Measure H which passed in yesterday’s Los Angeles election. Measure H is the first step in changing the way elections are held in the state of California. Establishing public funding for political campaigns is the only way we will ever get our democracy out of the clutches of big money and level the playing field so that qualified candidates can run for office without having to seek out or accept corporate or private donations. When elections are publicly funded the elected officials will not be beholden to any donor. They will be able to do the job they were elected to do without corporate influence and without spending – as they do now – almost 30% of their day fund-raising for their next election rather than doing the people’s business.
Public funding for campaigns exists now in 7 states and it works! Read on for a statement from the California Clean Money Campaign:
Voters Resoundingly Say “YES” to Fair Elections in Los Angeles!
Last night, Los Angeles residents sent a message to leaders across the state and across the country: It’s time to end corporate and big money special interest control of our political system.
By an overwhelming 3-1 margin, 75% of Los Angeles residents voted “YES!” on Measure H, the Los Angeles Clean Money, Fair Elections measure.
The immediate ramification of Measure H is that bidders on large city contracts will no longer be allowed to make campaign contributions to elected officials who decide who wins – some of the most potentially corruptive campaign contributions one could imagine.
But the most important result of Measure H is lifting the maximum balance in the City’s public financing campaign trust fund. This will eventually allow L.A. to move to full, Clean Money, Fair Elections public funding of campaigns, so that candidates don’t take big money from any special interest donors and are accountable only to the voters. And believe us, when the time is right, we’ll be asking you all to help demand that it does!
This victory has statewide and national implications. As Nick Nyhart, President of the national Public Campaign said:
“There should be no doubt about it – this is a victory that will boost the fortunes of money and politics reform far beyond LA.”