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Marin, Sonoma County, CA June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Money is Poison to the Political Process

By Alex Easton-Brown

Candidate for Member of the State Assembly; District 6; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
This race shows what's wrong with politics
I entered the Marin/Sonoma Assembly race because the other 5 candidates have raised over a million dollars to purchase the election. The best interest of the public is not served by politicians who owe so many favors, because each dollar raised is a potential favor owed. Corruption is not necessarily bribery. Corruption is a loss of integrity, a taint. Lobbyists don't have to be heavy-handed to whip legislators in line. All they have to do is use money to get them elected. They don't even have to have an understanding with them. But if officeholders fail to go along, they face a fight for their political lives next time around. This means that legislators must spend most of their time raising money. So how does the work of the people ever get done? And, of the little work that does get done, who really benefits? Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh said "Money is the mothers milk of politics". It's a spoiled milk and it produces rotten legislation.
The state of Vermont, facing the same issues of fund-raising and corruption, recently imposed a spending limit of $2500 per legislative candidate. So, instead of chasing voters with floods of junk mail, tv ads and yard signs, the voters are invited to visit the issues through relatively thoughtful free media coverage. The voters do not like to be constantly advertised to and screamed at. That sort of thing keeps people from wanting to vote.
I'm not accepting campaign contributions because even a small, well-intentioned, `Mom and Pop' contribution is part of the money continuum. Where does the line get drawn? You can't be a little bit pregnant. Money is poison to the political process. With few exceptions the Democratic leadership and politicians are afraid. They are afraid of Bush, they are afraid of their corporate sponsors, and they are afraid of losing their perks and fat jobs.
There are real problems that need to be addressed--Such as working families who are barely able to make ends meet because corporate interests pay so little taxes that the state is unable to provide essential services, adequate education or health care. --Such as the young people who are kept from taking their places as adults in our society or start their own households due to dismal job prospects and depressed wages.
If elected, I propose to curtail the power of the special interests in Sacramento by putting up a firewall between the lobbyists and the legislators and their staff: No more campaign contributions, free lunches and ski trips. No more private meetings and secret pacts. If lobbyists want to be heard, let them do it in writing which is then published on the internet, or in committee meetings like the rest of us. Transparency requires that we put a stop to `ghost voting', changing ones' vote once the bill has been voted on, or taking a walk to avoid a vote. We need to elect someone who will represent us, not another patsy for big business or developers.
Our list of needs is long, but doable:
+A fair tax code that takes the burden off the middle classes and the poor; +Universal healthcare; +A new look at usury laws to stop the abuse of those least able to afford it; +A reemphasis of the `war on drugs' away from marijuana and against the crippling epidemic of crystal meth and its disastrous costs to society; +A complete overhaul of school funding, raising teachers salaries and achievement levels for students. The list goes on and on. Getting money out of politics is our first step.

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