By Kevin Akin
With some reluctance, and by a narrow margin, the State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party decided to call for a "Yes" vote on Proposition 15 on the June ballot. There are many problems with this proposal, but at least one good reason why we will be better off it it passes.
Proposition 15 sets up a pilot project for public campaign financing at the state level. It only applies to the office of Secretary of State, though of course the program could be expanded to other offices through a later initiative in another year. In many of its details, the program is quite unfair. For example, a candidate of a smaller party would need to demonstrate exactly twice as much support as a Democrat or Republican in order to qualify for the same funding level. The threshhold levels are high, and few candidates of smaller parties would be able to raise enough money in $5 contributions to qualify even for a quarter of the standard funding. So why are we supporting it, even reluctantly?
The one important positive part of this proposition, that merits voting for it, is that it would repeal the existing state prohibition on any local program that would provide public financing for campaigns. It is these local programs that could show voters clearly that public financing has big benefits for them, and lead to acceptance of the idea generally. The main benefit is a reduction, to one degree or another, of influence over candidates by the corporate rich, who currently call the shots throughout California and the United States.
There is also a chance that if Proposition 15 passes, and Proposition 14 passes by a lesser margin, that some portions of the odious Proposition 14 could be found invalid. Not a particularly good chance, but enough that some election law experts advise supporting Proposition 15 just in case.
Taking all this into consideration, the Peace and Freedom Party recommends a YES vote on Proposition 15.
Last revised April 20, 2010