Regarding Tom Fakehany’s recent condemnation of Malibu’s campaign contribution laws-while the reading public may be amused by his attempts at humor, they would be well advised not to rely on his facts. With a Malibu City Council election scheduled for April, it’s important to set the record straight and point out that our election laws are among the most fair and stringent in the state.
Mr. Fakehany complains “Malibuites should move on city campaign reform quickly and extend the reforms to city ballot measures, as the City of Malibu has no city financial guidelines for these measures.” Fact! On free speech grounds, cities are forbidden from imposing contribution limits on Ballot initiatives. And Malibuites have demonstrated they are smart enough to take into consideration who is paying for an initiative (as revealed by state mandated ballot campaign financial disclosures) when deciding on its merits.
It’s curious that Mr. Fakehany’s comments so closely mirror Tom Hasse’s who was quoted in the Times issue of 2/15 regarding ballot measure financing as follows: “Mayor Tom Hasse’s language was even stronger. ‘It’s obscene,” he said, and it’s why he believes it is time to put limits on how much anyone can contribute to initiatives in Malibu.'”
The fact is that the Ballot Initiative is one of our most important safeguards to preserve our democratic process. Ballot measures enable citizens to exercise their will regarding issues with a widespread impact (i.e. taxes) or where legislators have been co-opted by special interests.
To hinder their funding would only serve to further remove the public from the laws that govern them and pave the way for government by the few. As far as Mr. Fakehany’s musings, my advice is-Tom, stick to your poetry, or else send yourself to journalism school to learn how to report just the facts and nothing but the facts.
Mr. Fakehany reports, “As to Malibu, spending $50,000 for a job that pays $300 per month, it is obscene.” Fact! No candidate in the history of Malibu has ever spent even close to $50,000 in a race, and the average spent per candidate in the last two City Council elections was less than half of that amount.
Mr. Fakehany reports, “Agoura Hills passed the toughest local campaign laws in the state. A $250 total cap on contributions per person.” Fact! Malibu has a $100 per person cap on donations for candidate races which is precisely why the amount of money a candidate raises is a good indication of his or her popularity-$20,000 raised through small donations of $10-$100 from hundreds of individuals demonstrates that through his past actions, a candidate has earned broad-based grassroots respect.