With staggering sums from special interests pouring into campaigns for
office at all levels, it’s become perfectly clear that political money
is toxic, corrupting our democratic institutions instead of nourishing
Washington and Sacramento is repeated at the local level all too often.
corrosive effect of money from big business and big unions has produced
a political machine in Los Angeles that makes it almost impossible for
ordinary citizens to compete for elective office, for the will of the
people to be heard except in extraordinary circumstances.
Glendale has seen the corrupting influence of big money with revelations
that people connected with the scandal-plagued affordable housing
developer Advanced Development & Investment Inc. contributed more
than $100,000 to city election candidates.
The result is
alienation of voters reflected in low turnout on election days and the
loss of faith in our government institutions — problems that have been
compounded by Supreme Court decisions that treat spending vast amounts
of money by individuals, corporations or organizations to influence
election results as simply a 1st Amendment right to free speech.
irony of “free” speech and billion-dollar campaigns for president and
$150-million campaigns for governor seems to be lost on the court.
has not been lost on Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian, who has been
pushing for campaign finance reform for several years and has rounded up
support for a major overhaul of the city’s laws on raising political
money and ethics. It comes to the full council on Tuesday.
point is just to level the playing field and to give all the candidates
the ability to get their message out in proportion to the real community
support they have and not let someone with a few big donors blow
everyone out of the water,” he said.
The proposed ordinance
makes major changes in an effort to make elections fairer, reduce the
likelihood of corruption and allow council members to establish
officeholder accounts with up to $10,000 to pay for various costs
directly associated with the service in office.