Thursday, June 29, 2006

Clean Money in Mar Vista

On Monday, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and I hosted the second in a series of Town Halls geared towards educating communities and garnering support for a clean money campaign, which would provide for public financing of the city’s elections. As I've written before in this space, clean money would take special-interest contributors out of the election process, level the playing field for new candidates, empower voters and encourage greater voter turnout, and provide a sensible approach to elections that is popular in other states and around the world. The city currently has a partial public financing system; last November I joined Councilmembers Rosendahl and Greuel in asking the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) to develop a proposal that would expand the scope of the program. Earlier this month, the Council received the CLA's report showing how we can realize a clean money program.

With the report in hand, Councilmember Rosendahl and I visited Walgrove Elementary School in Council District 11 to speak with residents about the clean money initiative. We were met with great enthusiasm as we answered questions and received feedback from the community, addressing concerns and explaining what comes next. As we move towards a ballot initiative in 2007, we will be working with city departments, neighborhood councils, and community members to identify funding sources and lay out the details of the program. We will continue to hold Town Hall meetings to gather more community feedback and answer questions. Look for one in your neighborhood soon!

Our efforts coincide with a broader movement throughout California towards the establishment of a statewide clean money campaign program. The California Campaign for Clean Money is coordinating the effort to spread awareness about the issue and provide individuals from all walks of life with the opportunity to get involved in changing the nature of our democracy. They are currently in the proccess of forming a grass-roots working group that will be essential in their campaign; if you want to join, please visit their website at Together we can make California a place where the model of American democracy is an everyday reality.