I see what you're [Jim Berstein] saying and think it probably applies a lot of the time, but I will pose a question/comment in order to ask a fundamental question I have (I'm young and still learning).
If a restriction was placed upon those seeking to financially benefit from the city on donating money to political campaigns (so that a financial conflict of interest could be avoided), would it be ethical to continue to take financial contributions from PACs? What about political payback? For example, if a candidate ran a campaign focusing on how they would vote on specific projects, would it be a conflict of interest if that person was elected and had the opportunity to vote on the project? I can see it reasonable that the candidate had already established their opinion, but was their opinion used to "buy" votes at the ballot box? (I am being over the top). My big concern/question is if local officials are charged with representing the electorate, which includes watching out for the public good...how do businesses and those who utilize or conduct business with the city have their impact on elections? In addition, should certain residents (those not connected to businesses that have financial interest with the city) have more "power" (by being able to donate money) than others? So many people have a stake in the city and those making decisions that I just am trying to figure out how reform would work. I agree, there are problems with the current system. Perhaps there are ways to improve it, but something black-and-white seems potentially unfair. As stated above and before, I'm trying to learn. I appreciate the good responses that both Jim and others have shared. -Thatcher Imboden CARAG Jim Bernstein wrote: An elected official who accepts campaign contributions from a developer (or anyone else who is seeking to profit financially from a project or a contract)and who then votes to support that project or contract has - at the very least - a perceived conflict of interest. [...] The difference I think is that the developer or vendor or bidder is seeking to profit from the elected official's vote while the constituent seeking pothole repair or a plowed alley is not. [...] In fact, I would like to see tough prohibitions imposed on elected officials at all levels that would prohibit accepting contributions from persons or entities doing business with the public body they are elected to. [...] Similarly, a developer who makes contributions and then secures favorable votes from those council or park board members to whom they made contributions should and will always be viewed suspiciously as having bought that support. How could it be any other way? REMINDERS: 1. Be civil! Please read the NEW RULES at http://www.e-democracy.org/rules. If you think a member is in violation, contact the list manager at [EMAIL PROTECTED] before continuing it on the list. 2. Don't feed the troll! Ignore obvious flame-bait. For state and national discussions see: http://e-democracy.org/discuss.html For external forums, see: http://e-democracy.org/mninteract ________________________________ Minneapolis Issues Forum - A Civil City-focused Civic Discussion - Mn E-Democracy Post messages to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Subscribe, Un-subscribe, etc. at: http://e-democracy.org/mpls