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Public funding of campaigns

Reducing the impact of money in politics is not a partisan issue. No one I’ve spoken with thinks it’s a good idea for politicians to spend more than half their time fundraising and no one seems to think that is the best way for our country to use the millions of dollars they are given. Certainly there are those who would disagree, but they are likely the ones who benefit from having the money in those campaigns, and that would not be your average citizen.

The Public Campaign Action Fund and Public Campaign have set aside this week as “Fair Elections Action Week.”

In the Senate, thanks to Republican Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Democrat Richard Durbin (D-IL), wonderful opportunity exists to make headway toward returning elections into the hands of the voters, through the introduction of the Fair Elections Now Act. Similar legislative efforts are being put forth in the House.

As Senator Durbin recently stated, “So many monied special interests have so much at stake in the current system, Fair Elections [is] one of the most difficult bills I’ve ever tried to pass.

To make campaign finance reform a reality, we must build momentum in neighborhoods throughout the country.

That is what Fair Elections Action Week is all about.”

There is a measure in California for which I was collecting signatures at the Montrose farmers’ market a few days ago. I

t was completely dismaying how many people said “No thanks” when I asked if they would sign a petition to help get the money out of our political campaigns. Clean Money measures have made it into the legislatures in 27 states and have become law in six states (most recently New Mexico). Clean Money politics in Maine and Arizona (two early adopters of Clean Money Acts), have produced diverse legislatures, a high level of campaign integrity and candidates that are truly representative of the populace at large.

Even when told these things, folks at the farmers market said, “Sure, but it will never happen here.” They are right. If that is their attitude, it will never happen here. They are right, if we don’t do something, even something as simple as signing our names, it will indeed never happen here.

For more information about Clean Elections and/or to find out what action you can take, please go to www.caclean.org (for California) and www.publiccampaign.org (for national).

For information about the success in other states go to www.azclean.org and www.ccec.state.az.us/ccecweb/ccecays/home.asp (Arizona), www.maine.gov/ethics/mcea/index.htm (Maine).

— Daniel Katzen

La Canada Flitnridge



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