You Tell Us: Campaign finance reform needed in Oakland
on September 29, 2010
The Oakland Campaign Reform Act of 2008 was devised to promote good government and to protect Oakland’s electorate from the undue influence of money in the choice of our elected leaders.
Former Senator Don Perata has shown by his actions that he will not abide by those laws, even while he is running for the office of Mayor of Oakland, the position sacredly charged with guarding both the letter and the spirit of those laws.
Months before his TV ads were aired he had almost topped out on the spending limits he had agreed to stand by. Now his friends and employers (organizations that he consults for on an ongoing basis) have overshot the “independent expenditures” limits that were also established by the voters, thereby providing Mr. Perata with the excuse to spend even more money.
Out of the 9 other candidates for mayor, eight of them have pledged to continue following the law as Oaklanders intended it. Only Don Perata has thumbed his nose at his promise and at Oakland voters.
That’s why the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club joins with other Democratic Clubs and good government organizations to demand that: 1) the City Council, along with the City Attorney’s office, immediately enact legislation that corrects the loophole which is now being used to break the spending limits agreed to by all candidates, and 2) demand that the Public Ethics Commission move quickly to enforce all applicable laws.
The Wellstone Club has watched with horror while services in our federal, state, and local governments have decreased while ever more obscene amounts of money are poured into federal, state, and even local campaigns.
The effect of those dollars is the opposite of democracy. As more and more voters perceive that elections are just auctions to the highest bidder, fewer and fewer people choose to vote.
Oaklanders made a statement with this legislation that they did not want their city put on the auction block, and they do not deserve to have their desires ignored and their choices thwarted even by Don Perata.
Pamela Drake is the local politics chair of the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club.
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