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Monday, October 4, 2010

Let's Bring More Campaign Finance Reform to Long Beach

Got to admit it. The City of Santa Ana has two very interesting pieces of legislation on the books concerning when electeds can take campaign money that I think we should take a look at.

Sec. 425. - Disqualification due to campaign contributions.
A councilmember shall not participate in, nor use his or her official position to influence, a decision of the City Council if it is reasonably foreseeable that the decision will have a material financial effect, apart from its effect on the public generally or a significant portion thereof, on a recent major campaign contributor. As used herein, "recent major campaign contributor" means a person who has made campaign contributions totaling two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) or more to the councilmember or to any campaign committee controlled by the councilmember in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the date of the decision. The mayor is a councilmember for purposes of this section. 

Sec. 2-107. - Prohibited campaign contributions.
No councilmember or any campaign committee controlled by the councilmember shall solicit or accept any campaign contribution or loan of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) or more from any person for a period of three (3) months following the date a final decision is rendered in any proceeding before the council involving a license, permit, or other entitlement, if the councilmember knows or has reason to know that the person had a financial interest in the proceeding. Financial interest, for purposes of this section, shall have the meaning it is defined to have in Title 9 of the California Government Code (the Political Reform Act). The mayor is a councilmember for purposes of this section.

Some may ask how can an elected official be influenced by a mere $250? (In Long Beach the limits are higher -- $350 for council and $500 for the mayor.) Campaign contributions are an indicator of support and while the amount doesn't look high enough to really have an impact on a vote, the reality is that the contribution is what it is: support for the elected official.

I am going to move forward on proposing these reforms -- with more to come about limiting how and when former City employees and/or appointees to key City Commissions, Committees and Boards may lobby or represent clients after they leave employment or appointment.

Save Station 18

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