Orange County Support for Proposition 15 California Fair Elections Act

Garden Grove – On Saturday, February 27, former State Senator Joe Dunn, Reverend Minh-Hanh Nguyen, and Trent Lange, the Proposition 15 California Fair Elections Act (CEFA) Campaign Chairman, gave participants an overview of the proposition, which will be on the June 2010 ballot, before answering questions at Saint Anselm Episcopal Church.

“The system doesn’t allow public servants to gain experience to be as effective, as it did 50 yeas ago…due to conducting fundraising to be re-elected,” said former State Senator Joe Dunn. “Proposition 15 is a place we have to go.”

Currently, there are more than 360 bipartisan endorsements for this ballot measure. The financial support would not come from any existing or new taxes—it would come from increasing fees on lobbyists. There are 1200 California lobbyists and 3300 lobbyists representing employers.

Reverend Minh-Hanh Nguyen, Associate Rector for Vietnamese Ministry at St. Anselm of Canterbury Episcopal Church, who hosted the event, said, “It is the bridge to other things that citizens can accomplish by their vote. Without this bridge, this access to the seat of democracy is limited.”

“Ninety-three percent of California state races in 2002 were won by the candidates who spent the most money (California Clean Money Campaign Study). It’s outrageous and corrupts the system,” said Trent Lange, the campaign chairman.  “If we had public financing, the bailouts wouldn’t have happened. California state candidates have raised $1 billion since the year 2000.”

Laguna Woods  – On Sunday, February 28, Laguna Woods Mayor Milt Robbins, Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Larry Agran, and Geri Jenkins, RN, Co-President of the California Nurses Association and community leaders came together today in a forum at Laguna Woods Village to educate the South Orange County community about Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act, a ballot proposition which would start to end the outrageous amounts of money in politics by getting politicians out of the fundraising game.

Since 2000, over $1 billion has been raised by California politicians, buying special interests unprecedented access but shutting out the rest of us. That’s why polls show nearly three out of four voters want to change the way elections in California are financed.

“The California Fair Elections Act will be a big win for California’s citizens,” said Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Larry Agran.  “In the seven states that have fair elections systems, legislators were able to pass good laws to benefit their constituents instead of spending half their time raising money for the next campaign.  The California Fair Elections Act will put Sacramento back to work for California.”

Fair elections systems similar to that Proposition 15 that are in place in seven states and two cities have been successful. Nearly 400 candidates were elected using only fair elections funding in their 2008 campaigns, and the programs enjoy popular support across party lines.   A January 2010 poll of Connecticut residents found that 79% support their Fair Elections system.

Authored by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, Proposition 15 would establish a voluntary pilot project for California’s Secretary of State races in 2014 and 2018. Candidates would qualify for public financing if they agree to strict spending prohibitions and raise a large number of $5 contributions from Californians. The pilot program would be funded primarily by fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers, with no taxpayer dollars going to candidates.

“Under a Fair Elections system, elected officials truly represent voters, not campaign donors,” said Trent Lange, chairman of the California Fair Elections Campaign. “Public financing has freed elected officials across the country to pass bi-partisan, groundbreaking legislation that is only possible when our leaders do not fear retribution from powerful special interests.”

Geri Jenkins, co-President of the California Nurses Association said, “I have no doubt that if we had public campaign financing that this nation would already have a national health care system.”

“When I first ran for Laguna Woods City Council in 2004, I signed a Form 470, which limited my campaign financing to $1000,” said Laguna Woods Mayor Milt Robbins. “This kind of limited funding may work only in a small homogenous community of 18,000 seniors with its own TV station and its own newspaper, for larger races I fully support public campaign financing.”

Voters in California are also ready for elections that money can’t buy. In an October 2009 survey, likely June 2010 voters supported the California Fair Elections Act by a nearly 3-1 margin. Support held strong across all political parties and geographic regions of California with support of 65% among Latinos, 65% among Democrats, 65% among independents, and 59% among Republicans.

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  1 comment for “Orange County Support for Proposition 15 California Fair Elections Act

  1. Eric Cooper
    March 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I say YES on 15 BUT , it should have covered ALL elective offices in California, not just Secretary Of State

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