Kevin McDonald wrote:
You may recall that in October 2005, Albuquerque adopted full public
financing reform in a decisive 69 percent victory on a city charter
amendment. Portland is also a model of campaign finance reform through
its "Voter-owned Elections" ordinance." In both cities, participating
candidates receive limited amounts of campaign dollars from a publicly
financed fund if they agree to:
1) Collect a large number of $5 qualifying contributions to demonstrate
2) Reject private money contributions
3) Limit campaign spending
4) Agree to comply with strict administrative regulations
Public financing of Minneapolis city elections is much needed - and I
like the term "Voter-owned Elections" as it gets to the point.
In my bid for Ward 3 City Council, I spent roughly $4/vote while my
opponent spent roughly $40/vote, 10 times as much and largely funded
from her own pocket. Also, there's a connection to Sherman Associates -
a huge player in city development projects - as I remember reading
that CM-elect Hofstede had an Sherman Exec as her Campaign Manager
initially (can someone verify this?) and was criticized for an
appearance of conflict of interest. In my opinion, that's too close for
comfort. I realize people have the right to funds their own campaigns
and take PAC and special interest money (which Greens are prohibited
from taking), put I feel that there must be at least a public financing
component to campaigns to level the playing field. I would advocate for
a majority of money to come from residents of the Ward/district/etc. and
NOT from outside interests that do a lot of business with the city. It
seems that city elections may be more "Developer-owned" that "Voter-owned."
I believe the time has come for electoral reform. Many of us can agree
that this is sorely needed at the national level, so let's give it a
whirl at our local level.
1. Campaign Finance Reform (like the publicly financed Portland model)
2. Charter reform such as Instant Run-off Voting.
3. Lower legal age to run for City Council form 21 to 18.
This would be a good start. From there we could discuss amending the
City Charter to create at-large council seats (again using at least
IRV), more council seats in general (possibly 2-3 CMs per ward). Only
when we have comprehensive democratic reform - primarily electoral
reform - will we actualize true Grassroots Democracy at the municipal
level where all interests are represented. With electoral reform,
including IRV and public financing of campaigns, a truly effective
government is possible.
Bottineau Neighborhood, NE Mpls
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