I agree with Ganka Brown and her call to limit campaign spending for city council elections. How about an ordinance? Oh yeah, we already have one. In fact, Village Laguna championed one several years ago and the City Council passed a $30,000 spending limit and because of our First Amendment rights the limit needed to be voluntary. However, when there was a change in the council majority the limit was changed. Cheryl Kinsman, Elizabeth Pearson, and Kelly Boyd voted to reduce the maximum spending limit to $15,000. This is an unreasonably low amount, and essentially made the ordinance useless, which is what the change was meant to do.
Not surprisingly, no one has volunteered to adhere to that ridiculous limit since that vote.
Many changes that Ganka says “will take back our city” already exist. Candidates must report all contributions whether from individuals or groups and the contributions are limited to $360 per election cycle. Ganka would also like to see a limit on “spending by any groups promoting a candidate”. However, this limit would infringe on our First Amendments rights. In fact, a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down much of what the McCann-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act hoped to achieve and now the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.
Sometimes when people are upset or when things don’t go their way, it’s easier to find a group or person to scapegoat then to actually deal with the facts. There seems to be a lot of that going around lately.
Johanna Felder, Laguna Beach