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Indybay Feature
Sun Jun 8 2014 (Updated 06/09/14)
Real Election Reform in Santa Cruz
Former Council Candidate Proposes City Remove Private Money from Public Elections
On Tuesday, June 10, council members Lane and Posner will introduce an ordinance that amends campaign finance rules in the City of Santa Cruz. They are proposing that donation limits for city council candidates be changed from voluntary to mandatory, and that the city implement a 1-to-1 match to campaign contributions if candidates agree to a $26,641 over-all expenditure limit. Former city council candidate Simba Kenyatta believes the ordinance does not go far enough and he is calling for real election reform in Santa Cruz.

Simba Kenyatta writes: "As a former city council candidate and as a poor, African American, my view of campaign finance reform is markedly different than what I hear is going to be proposed. I think that there should be no private money in public elections, at all. The city needs to come up with a way to finance our elections so that every candidate starts out with the same amount of money, and no more. Of course, the first reaction will be, we can't afford that, and our budget won't allow it. Well, I think we can't afford not to. Middle class people tend to have middle class friends, poor people tend to have poor friends, and there, is where the problem lies. Just because you put a ceiling on the amount of money doesn't do anything for people having a hard time raising any money because their friends and neighbors are as poor as the candidate, and raising money is much harder no matter how viable you might be as a candidate."

"We will have to be creative in financing the elections. I've often thought a quarter of a cent city tax on businesses would bring in enough money to finance it. I'm sure businesses will object but it would be a minor inconvenience, to support an actual democracy. They can pass that tax on to us because as a concerned citizenry we want to see the best candidates available, even if they are horrible at raising money. Sometimes as a candidate it felt way too close to begging. It would be nice to see businesses/corporations contribute toward a democracy instead of destroying it, as recent court rulings will allow them to do. I'm sure we have enough intelligent, forward thinking people to come up with a way to ensure equality in our electoral processes. Where there's a will, there is a way."

Read More: Real Election Reform | See Also: imc_video.gif Video: Simba Kenyatta on Election Reform | Santa Cruz City Council to Consider Campaign Finance Reform Initiative

Tuesday, June 10: imc_calendar.gif Bring Campaign Finance Reform to Santa Cruz
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