Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Walters: Dems Ignore Voters’ Decisions
dan_walters
By Dan Walters, CalMatters Commentary
Published 5 years ago on
September 9, 2019

Share

In politics, as in sports, rules of the game often influence, or even dictate, who wins and who loses.
Just as professional sports leagues are wracked by internal conflict over playing rules, California’s politicians and interest groups joust constantly over campaign contribution limits, redrawing of legislative and congressional districts, voter registration, voting procedures and countless other electoral rules.


Dan Walters
CALmatters

Opinion
One of the many clashes occurred 31 years ago, when two competing ballot measures, Propositions 68 and 73, tested voter sentiment on providing public funds to candidates for office, a long-sought goal of Common Cause and other self-described political reform groups.
While both 1988 initiatives purported to limit campaign contributions, Proposition 68 created a mechanism for public financing of campaigns while Proposition 73 amended the state’s Political Reform Act to prohibit candidates from accepting public funds.
Both passed handily, but Proposition 73 had a higher margin of victory, so its prohibition on public financing prevailed.
The issue was joined again in 2006, when proponents of public financing, led by the California Nurses Association, placed Proposition 89 on the ballot. It specifically authorized public campaign financing, along with a corporate tax hike to finance it.
Business and anti-tax groups opposed the measure and both sides spent virtually identical sums, nearly $6 million each, on the campaign, but by an overwhelming 3-to-1 margin, Proposition 89 was rejected.

The Ruling Didn’t Sit Well With Public Financing Proponents

A decade later, in 2016, proponents of public financing took another shot, but instead of asking voters to overturn Proposition 73’s ban, they sponsored Senate Bill 1107, an end-run around the ban authorizing state and local governments to provide funds to candidates.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown, who sponsored the original Political Reform Act as a candidate for governor in 1974, signed SB 1107 and public financing opponents, led by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, immediately challenged it in court, contending that it violated Proposition 73.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley agreed with the opponents and the state appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeal.
Late last month, the three-member appellate panel ruled unanimously to uphold Frawley, saying SB 1107 “directly conflicts with a primary purpose and mandate of the (Political Reform) Act, as amended by subsequent voter initiatives…”
The ruling didn’t sit well with public financing proponents, including SB 1107’s author, state Sen. Ben Allen, a Santa Monica Democrat, who said, “The judge’s ruling is a disappointing setback to communities that rightfully want to reduce the influence of special interest money in campaigns.”

Arrogance Compounded

That may be, but regardless of one’s feelings about public financing of campaigns, the state’s voters have had several opportunities to embrace it, but refused, and it’s rather cheeky for legislators to ignore them.
Such arrogance is emerging as a pattern among the Democrats who now wield total political power in California.
Not only are they evidently willing to thumb their noses at their own voters, but have several times seen their “progressive” actions slapped down in the federal courts as violating constitutional rights, including the right to free speech.
If Ben Allen, other Democratic politicians and institutional supporters of public campaign financing want to pursue their cause, the legitimate way is to place a measure on the ballot and persuade voters to support it.
In fact, an earlier version of SB 1107 would have placed the issue before voters to decide, but that provision was removed even though the Legislature’s own lawyer warned that it “would require voter approval in order to become effective.”
Arrogance compounded.
CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary.
[activecampaign form=31]

DON'T MISS

Vibrational Healing Through Bees: Is It Just a Lot of Buzz?

DON'T MISS

Hot, Inland California Cities Face the Steepest Water Cuts With New Conservation Mandate

DON'T MISS

How and Why to Get a State Seal of Biliteracy | Quick Guide

DON'T MISS

Young Republicans on Why Their Party Isn’t Reaching Gen Z (And What They Can Do About It)

DON'T MISS

JD Vance Puts the Con in Conservatism

DON'T MISS

UC Merced Finally Annexed Into City Limits After Two Decades

DON'T MISS

Donors Challenged Fresno Pacific to Match Their $1.5M Gift. Was the Goal Reached?

DON'T MISS

Garlic, Curry, Fresh Corn – Would You Scream for This Ice Cream?

DON'T MISS

Meet Po: A Gentle Superhero Looking for a Home

DON'T MISS

Largest Housing Provider for Migrant Children Engaged in Pervasive Sexual Abuse, US Says

UP NEXT

I Am a Former Bitwiser and This Is My Story

UP NEXT

The Secret of Trump’s Resurrection

UP NEXT

Fresno State Weighs in on City’s Industrial Battle: Be Wary of University’s Data

UP NEXT

What Polls Tell Us About Biden’s Chances

UP NEXT

Republicans Will Regret a Second Trump Term

UP NEXT

The Deep Source of Trump’s Appeal

UP NEXT

When Progressive Ideals Become a Luxury

UP NEXT

John Roberts Makes His Bid for Infamy

UP NEXT

Quiq Labs Ongoing Camps Transform Summer Learning for Fresno Unified Students

UP NEXT

End of the Roar: Porsche Bids Farewell to the 718 Internal Combustion Engine

Young Republicans on Why Their Party Isn’t Reaching Gen Z (And What They Can Do About It)

18 hours ago

JD Vance Puts the Con in Conservatism

20 hours ago

UC Merced Finally Annexed Into City Limits After Two Decades

22 hours ago

Donors Challenged Fresno Pacific to Match Their $1.5M Gift. Was the Goal Reached?

1 day ago

Garlic, Curry, Fresh Corn – Would You Scream for This Ice Cream?

1 day ago

Meet Po: A Gentle Superhero Looking for a Home

1 day ago

Largest Housing Provider for Migrant Children Engaged in Pervasive Sexual Abuse, US Says

2 days ago

25 Million Watched Trump’s Speech at the RNC on Thursday

2 days ago

City Wants Hard Reset on Art Hop. Don’t Expect Food Trucks or Vendors in August.

2 days ago

More Victims Come Forward in Dinuba Sex Assault Case

2 days ago

Vibrational Healing Through Bees: Is It Just a Lot of Buzz?

Sound healing – also known as vibroacoustic healing – is a therapeutic practice that uses sound waves to promote emotional and p...

27 mins ago

27 mins ago

Vibrational Healing Through Bees: Is It Just a Lot of Buzz?

31 mins ago

Hot, Inland California Cities Face the Steepest Water Cuts With New Conservation Mandate

Juan Garcia was one of 828 students in San Joaquin County to receive the State Seal of Biliteracy in 2023. Courtesy of San Joaquin County Office of Education
32 mins ago

How and Why to Get a State Seal of Biliteracy | Quick Guide

Photo of President Donald Trump
18 hours ago

Young Republicans on Why Their Party Isn’t Reaching Gen Z (And What They Can Do About It)

20 hours ago

JD Vance Puts the Con in Conservatism

22 hours ago

UC Merced Finally Annexed Into City Limits After Two Decades

1 day ago

Donors Challenged Fresno Pacific to Match Their $1.5M Gift. Was the Goal Reached?

1 day ago

Garlic, Curry, Fresh Corn – Would You Scream for This Ice Cream?

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend