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We Get Letters: Money Matters

Published on Thursday, October 14, 2021 | 1:46 pm

Dear editor,

I’m writing today in regards to an ordinance that is apparently being proposed for approval by the CIty Council.  This proposed ordinance would add the following to Chapter 2.05:

2.05.030 – No Contribution Limit. As authorized by the California Political Reform Act, specifically Government Code Section 85702.5, there is no limit on local campaign contributions for the offices of City Council or Mayor.

After a quick (albeit with minimal legislative understanding on this specific topic) review of the State Government Code (Sections 85702.5 and 85301), I have to implore the council to reject this proposed ordinance. 

As I read the California Government Code, a de facto $3,000 per person donation limit would apply under current State Law, assuming no further action by the City Council.

Our County, State, and National politics are already driven by those parties who can raise the most money.  I appreciate that money will always find a way into politics, and appreciate that at least here in the US there is some level of transparency.  That said, I also very much appreciate that local government remains one of the last bastions of true representative democracy, free from the vitriol of the current national political debate.  

A limit on individual donations of $3,000 should be sufficient for a city like Pasadena.  It requires candidates to actually engage with local residents. It requires candidates to speak to the actual issues faced by local residents. 

If we allow for unlimited donations to local candidates, I fear that each election cycle will feature the same types of tired narratives we see in statewide and national elections.  A candidate could bombard the City with lawn signs, billboards, ads on buses, ads on bus stops, car-wrapped ads, ads in local and regional newspapers, television commercials, you name it. A candidate wouldn’t really have to engage with actual residents, and could spend their time raising funds from some of the major donors in this City to advance their interests, ahead of the broader community. 

I urge the Council to reject this proposed ordinance, and plan on making a similar comment at the Council Meeting Monday October 18, 2021.

Sam Morrissey

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One thought on “We Get Letters: Money Matters

  • I urge the City Council members to read the book titled False Alarm by Bjorn Lomborg before enacting any of the League of Women Voter’s recommendations on climate change. The author is a Danish climate expert who does not deny that the planet is warming. He does give a rational, informed, non hysterical explanation of why there is no reason for alarm.