City to review campaign financing

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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“The council wanted information but they did not accept the premise that the system is broken; they’re simply going back and doing a review.” The review will include a comparison of Santa Clarita’s laws to those of similarly sized cities, such as Irvine and Glendale. The maximum contribution for individuals and businesses alike in Santa Clarita elections was raised from $250 to $360 in 2003 to allow for a cost-of-living increase. The council rejected Councilman Frank Ferry’s proposal to increase the cap to $1,000 to align it with the state limit. The $1,000 limit may resurface, Murphy said, but not at Ferry’s behest. Though contributions are capped, there is no limit on fundraising. A loophole may allow several employees of a company to contribute to a candidate, while the company itself would be hemmed in by the cap. Murphy will check for updates in Irvine’s laws, which inspired Santa Clarita’s cap. The Irvine City Clerk’s Office said its $300 limit has been raised to $390 to allow for cost-of-living increase, which is adjusted at the beginning of each election cycle. Glendale has no campaign contribution limits, preferring instead to follow state guidelines, and no measures have been proposed to change that, said Ritch Wells, a Glendale spokesman. In February, members of the Santa Clarita Valley Clean Money for Better Government Committee asked the council to consider campaign finance reform, specifically, adding a “clean money” option. On Tuesday, Carole Lutness learned the measure will be considered in June. The nonprofit California Clean Money Campaign proposes providing qualified candidates with money deemed adequate to run their campaigns, in exchange for candidates promising to reject other contributions. Additional money would be available – up to a cap – if the “clean money” candidates are being outspent by privately funded candidates. On the state level, Assembly Bill 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, garnered a 47-31 vote in the assembly in January. The measure is being considered by the state Senate. “We need to have the option of a clean money campaign here so the peoples’ voice is heard,” Lutness said Friday. “We can’t patch this issue; half measures will not avail us. We’ve got to have a drastic reform – the system is all set up to favor large corporate interests.” The statewide organization is working with the Los Angeles City Council to explore the viability of creating a clean-money measure for that city, which currently offers partial public campaign funding through matching funds. In November the council passed a resolution 11-0 in support of the proposal, and the city’s ethics commission voted 3-0 in March to recommend full public funding for the city’s campaigns. Eric Tang, a spokesman for the state organization, said building public support for the concept of full public funding is key. Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp took no position on the matter, saying the council would decide whether town hall meetings would be warranted. Meanwhile, while about 79,000 of the city’s roughly 170,000 residents registered to vote, only 15 percent did. The council will consider campaign finance issues on June 27. [email protected] (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – Spurred by a request from a community activist months ago, the City Council will review campaign financing laws next month to see if reform is needed. The proposal to explore public campaign financing will be added to the mix. The Santa Clarita council’s action was not in time for April’s city election – and may or may not be timely should a special election be called to replace Councilman Cameron Smyth if he is successful in his run for Assembly. “The council responded to her request, but they broadened it quite a bit,” said Michael Murphy, the city’s intergovernmental relations officer. last_img

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