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September 29, 2006

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Perhaps the most important conclusion of the report is that contribution limits are necessary for Carla's favored solution, public financing of elections.

I haven't read the report, but contribution limits are NOT necessary for public financing.

We don't have contrib limits in Portland - but the VOE reform worked very well in its first trial run this last spring. Not only was spending on campaigns was substantially less in 2006 than in 2004, but both of the candidates elected (Sten and Saltzman) spent substantially less time fundraising and substantially more time on talking to the public (oh, and doing their day jobs.)

The only glitch was Emilie Boyles - and she got caught abusing the system during the election cycle; unlike most cases of campaign corruption, which usually takes years to resolve.

If Wayne Scott keeps flying over to Hawaii to collect checks for $20 grand from beer and wine merchants, he'll be entrenched in the legislature forever.

Not necessarily. Go help Mike Caudle.

It may be speculation, but it's educated speculation, Terry. You can say it's not a given, but you cite the MipRap report that says essentially that--it won't hold up in court. And then we'll have small-time groups held under sway of M47, but not individual donors. That's bad. And that, I suspect, is why Carla said the report validates her. While the report reaches a neutral conclusion, they do agree that part of the measure is not likely to meet constitutional muster--so even if they don't want to extrapolate what would happen from that reality, Carla does, and she's right to.

Peralta, Buckley, and Thompson, along with a few of the anonymous commentors on the original post at LoadedOrygun are the only people who seem to have a solid grasp of these initiatives, and they seem to be the only ones to give a balanced opinion of them.

Most of the others, including Carla, seem to be slanting the arguments to fit a position that they'd taken before they had a good grasp of these measures.

Kari - the portland system will work without limits until someone comes up with enough money to overwhelm the system. Didn't that just happen in the last presidential election where both Kerry and Bush rejected public financing?

Also, Oregon voters don't want public financing. If Jack Bog is right, Portlanders don't even want it.

Jerome... under the current Portland VOE statute, the soft cap is $150,000. Above that, there's a dollar-for-dollar match up to the hard cap of $300,000. Once a private-money candidate goes over $300,000, then the voter-owned candidate is stuck at $300,000.

On the one hand, I think this is - as you describe - a fatal flaw in the system. It simply encourages those who can to race for the $300,000. I argued repeatedly with city staff and others involved that we should eliminate the hard cap altogether. Raise a million, match a million. Perversely, that would cause the private money candidates to stay down near the soft cap.

Some have argued, though, that a hard cap protects the city's budget - which is a fair argument. Beyond that, they argue that there's a "saturation point" - where more dollars simply cannot be employed to useful means. There's only so much TV ad inventory. There's only so many direct mail pieces that the voters will accept. I agree with them in general, but don't think that $300,000 is that saturation point. (Probably closer to $1 million.)

In any case, I basically agree with you that the system can be overwhelmed by a massive sum. But, as written, VOE is a good improvement. Not perfect, but better.

I'd just like to say that its kinda fun to be the headline on someone else's blog.

Heh.

:)

Hey, Carla. You're kind of famous. You deserve an occasional headline. My question is, where's Civiletti?

Regarding your question about Measure 42, I agree with the dictum "when in doubt, vote NO." Except in the cases of Measures 46 and 47. I have some doubts about possible unintended consequences, but there's so much money corrupting Oregon's electoral process --Minnis, et al-- that I feel compelled to vote yes.

Unless, of course, I can be absolutely convinced otherwise. And that hasn't happened yet.

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