Friday, May 19, 2006

Bird's My Word Column

I was surprised to see Times- Standard reporter, Andrew Bird, do a My Word column arguing against Measure T. Seems like kind of an offbeat argument to me, but his point is well made.

His My Word actually got me to thinking about a slightly different subject: Publicly financed elections.

Some nurses union in the state is gathering signatures for an initiative that would provide for publicly funded elections. This, as proponents suggest, would get the money out of politics. I hardly think so.

Sure, it might limit some of the fundraising, but there'll always be ways to get around that, as Bird points out in his commentary.

But who's going to be in charge of these publicly financed elections? Who will decide who qualifies for funding and who doesn't? Bird points out that one of the main players in the hit pieces against Chris Kerrigan was,

"Wayne Ordos, a former executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, the state agency that enforces California campaign law.".

I realize this Ordos fellow was a former ED of the FPPC, but does that mean he was any different kind of person when he was with the FPPC? I doubt it.

Whether the FPPC ends up being in charge of public financed campaigns, or some new agency is established for that function, they'll still be run by the same people that have made the mess of elections we have today.

And for those of you third party folks who complain about the hurdles you face just staying on the ballot now, the same people who make the decisions about ballot access and election law will still be in charge if elections are publicly financed.

You better hope they feel generous in letting you or your party partake of the public funds for your campaign. Remember, when you give government the power to give you everything you want, you're also giving it the power to take it all away.

I'd be very leery of giving government control over the purse strings for campaigns.

36 Comments:

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was a great article with great points, well written, good to see andy back

 
At 10:12 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

He manages to actually say nothing about measure T in his pitch here.Is he trying to say that these 2 events he refers to happened because of measures like T,which don't exist?T may not prevent these from happening,but would expose those behind the hits, as it is a better watchdog for tracking where the money came from.

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

As I stated in a comment on this blog before, I'm opposed to limiting campaign contributions from out of towners. My reason is less than noble. I believe it's good for our economy to let the money in. If the voters are too disinterested to see through sleaze campaigns, then we're screwed anyways. Kerrigan won. The recall was unsuccessful. What we do need is quality reporting, and so far we've been fortunate to have reporters who exposed the sleaze. Without that we're also screwed. I'll likely be voting no on Measure T, unless I get a different understanding of what it does.

 
At 12:29 PM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Why should out of towners decide how life should be here?Instead,they should put that money back into their home community.

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The money from these local companies goes to pay for ads, polling, consultants...this does nothing to bolster our local economy or local jobs.

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like Bird has a pet issue and is using T as a platform to push it. I think that his cause is noble but it doesn't really have anything to do with T. So T doesn't solve every problem with elections...no one ever said that it would. But that loophole is something that needs to be closed at the state level and shouldn't keep us from supporting local control.

 
At 1:41 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Ok, Mark. Then Gallegos should give back the money he took from his brother in New Mexico and that guy in Berkeley.

As far as Wal Mart "deciding how life should be here"; First, they lost. Second, forty some percent of the people who voted wanted a Wal Mart here. With Wal Mart's help, they were able to make the best case they could for it.

They lost.

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger Tim Hooven said...

mresquan, why should you decide where out of towners spend their money? Is it fair that the measure T definition of "local" is different, depending on if you are a union or corporation?

 
At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

or that orgs aren't mentioned at all? And are thus exempt? That ought to be the next law that gets passed, to rein in the uncontrolled orgs. There's no corporation as corrupt as some of these orgs.

 
At 11:17 PM, Anonymous mresquan said...

We are not deciding how out of towners spend their money,we are deciding that out of county corps should not be able to exert their influence over our political structure here.The No on T folks maybe should be enthused that Democracy Unlimited would fall into this category.

 
At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mresquan, what part of 'the system works' don't you understand?
Palco's money didn't carry the day.
WalMart's money didn't carry the day.
Huffington (the male)'s money didn't win him a seat.

why are you into censorship?

why do you think people are too stupid to see through the money?

why so you want to impose your idea of what's right on others who might not agree?

let the free marketplace of ideas - and yes, money - run.

For all it's imperfections, our system does work.

DON'T BREAK IT.

 
At 9:58 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

11:27, the system doesn't work.We as a nation have the lowest voter turnout in the western hem.Why, partly because we are often forced to vote in unnecessary elections which are not determined by individuals, but corporations with a specific interest in exerting their power over communities at their will.It keeps people far from being interested in the electoral process when a corp can show how much more influence they can have in determining the communities political structure compared to any ordinary citizen who lives there.How much did Palco/Maxxam spend to unseat Gallegos?How many employees have been laid off since then?Oh yeah,blame that on the environmentalists huh.

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

many initiatives are brought forward by groups, not corporations, many are not thought through, like Measure T. you can't blame all the world's ills on corporations

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

And 11:27,thanks for letting me know that corps have no influence on the FCC,and that Cox Cable has no influence over our public access channels.Explain to me what happened to pirate radio.

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Fred said...

esquan writes, "We as a nation have the lowest voter turnout in the western hem.".

So what. Who cares how many people show up to vote?

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger Tim Hooven said...

mresquan, you have no faith in the individual. Yes, some people are lazy, and some are stupid. They vote, or they don't, and the lazy and stupid ones live with the consquences of their action or inaction. Nothing wrong with that. I didn't realize it was somebody's responsibility to keep people interested in the electoral process. One could make a fair argument that Wal-Mart & Palco have done just that, haven't they? Were the voter turnouts higher or lower than "normal" on those two election days?

 
At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what happened to pirate radio, mark konkler asks? why dont you ask your new friends at the arcata eye? fcc goons swooped in and killed the last real free expression on humboldt free radio only after the complaints from kevin hoover and his trolls. local liberals are just as much a threat to free speech as the corporations are.

 
At 6:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the public access channels have been hijacked by the left, who took something that was intended for things like airing the board meetings, showing school plays, and recitals, film projects and the like that would never be given airtime on commercial stations, good things and high ideals, usurped by democracy now propagandists who use it, and avoid having to pay for a network, or establish real affiliates, avoid having to play in the real world, under the rules everyone else has to follow, and we all pay for it while they preach thier subversive message.

I wish Cox Cable did have the ability to make Democracy Now pay its own way. Once they are buying ads in big publications, the incubator status should be terminated and they should have to stand on their own two feet. I resent paying for it and i don't see it as a free speech issue. Doesn't matter if it's right wing or left wing, at a certain point they should lose their little guy who can't be heard any other way status. Play fair

 
At 10:47 AM, Anonymous BT said...

Have you seen the latest Seeking Solutions so-called debate on Measure T? Ten minutes to Crawford and the rest of the hour to pro-T nutjobs. It was a complete travesty, which means its just what Local Solutions is known best for.

 
At 11:39 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

So Tim Hooven says I have no faith in the individual.Why do I back measure T?Look no further than the no on T website.They argue that the measure gives to much power back to the individual.Get yourself into a conversation with anyone from our elections department about proposals I've made to them.Demanding manual recounts to ensure our votes our accurately counted,instead of relying on a memory card,is a suppression of indivuality?To Fred,who cares about voter turnout?The Marina Center folks who constantly remind us that even though Walmart's wishes were rejected,the turnout was only around 40%,and that to them is no mandate.

 
At 11:50 AM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Anon 3:37, who are my new friends at the Arcata Eye?Ask anyone there if they even know me.Search through my e-mails and see what conversations have transpired between us.Are you accusing Kevin Hoover of being liberal?I don't see that.I certainly agree and attest to that part of your post.I don't agree completely with your last sentence though.

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger Tim Hooven said...

OK - I scanned the website, but I could not find where they argue that measure t gives too much power back to the individual. I must have missed it, where is it? I don't know what you did at elections dept. I don't think it is a fair and reasonable measure. Why is there a different definition of "local", depending on your organization?

 
At 1:06 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Tim wrote:"I could not find where they argue that measure t gives too much power back to the individual. I must have missed it."

I guess I missed it, too. The way I read it, it says businesses won't be allowed to contribute to local political campaigns, but unions and other special interests will.

mresquan writes: "who cares about voter turnout?The Marina Center folks who constantly remind us that even though Walmart's wishes were rejected,the turnout was only around 40%,and that to them is no mandate.".

Well shame on them for even bringing up the work Mandate.

So what? There's no way of knowing how the election would of turned out if 100% of the voters went to the polls. It might have failed even worse, Wal Mart might have won, or it might have been the same 40%, or so, that ended up voting for Wal Mart.

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Brian Morrissey said...

mresquan writes: "The Marina Center folks who constantly remind us that even though Walmart's wishes were rejected,the turnout was only around 40%,and that to them is no mandate."

When did I, or anyone else at Security National, ever say that? I put my foot in my mouth more than enough on my own - please do not hep me.

We are not opposed to having a vote of the people on this issue, never have been. We have just been following the system in place.

 
At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess brian morrissey will be endorsing the waterfront approval initiative then. have you signed up yet? it would put you on better footing on mark esquan and his creg friends who denounce the public's right to vote.

 
At 9:22 PM, Anonymous mresquan said...

Brian,you haven't said that,but some of the project supporters have.Anon,7:23 who ever said I didn't support that.When I signed up,I was told my signature was no good since I live outside of city limits,and wouldn't be voting on it.The Marina Center project affects much more than just the city of Eureka.And if you don't remember I'll remind you:I told the city council on Feb.7th that the 5 of them had no right to make any decisions on the matter,and it needed to be decided by a vote amongst the citizens of Eureka.Brian Morrissey,Randy Gans,and I talked about that for a minute after the meeting.If you don't believe me,get a recording of the meeting,then see if I truly denounce the public's right to vote.

 
At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i disagree. those of us who live in the outlying towns think of eureka as much ours as our towns, eureka is where we go for services, where we go to shop, where the govt. is, where the events are, it is a huge effect on all of us.

besides, i would think you in-fill folk would be happy to see that kind of development where the development already is, rather than sprawling out into fortuna and elsewhere. city stuff for the city

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put it to a countywide vote!

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clean it up first! Why limit planning options because Union Pacific doesn't want to spend some pocket change cleaning up their toxic legacy by the bay?
Sheesh.

 
At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why didn't the city clean up its sites to the same arbitrary standard?

Why didn't you want CostCo or any of the other hundred sites in Eureka to clean up their toxic legacy.

Why the "special" treatment for Union Pacific?

 
At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why treat Union Pacific differetnly than any other entity. they are within the law and now you want to rewrite the law. Why? If it was your youth hostel you'd be arguing in favor of capping.

 
At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it all should be cleaned up. Fair is fair.

 
At 12:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides, UP is only within the law leaving the site unused. They have heald Eureka hostage since they stopped using the site.

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

horse-pucky 12:58

 
At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry but it is true.

 
At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nobody's held anybody hostage
that's just pure unadulterated horse pucky

 

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