voting not to renew public campaign financing of city elections,
petition seeking enough signatures to put the question of public financing back to Portland voters on the November 2012 ballot
My New Year's Resolution is to take back our democracy from the corrupting influence of big money. I want you to join me. Please join us in the New Year helping establish local voter owned elections for Portland. I am concerned about a recent Supreme Court ruling called Citizens United and the impact it will have on Portland. This decision allows corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to influence our elections. That is why I filed a Citizens Initiative Petition to put a new Portland Voter Owned Elections Law on the 2012 General Election Ballot. We need a public campaign finance option now more than ever. To ensure the success of this measure, we are engaging a broad coalition of Portland community groups to gather the signatures necessary to put this law back on the ballot. In the challenging environment of the last election, a similar law almost won. It fell short by less than 1% of the votes. With greater public education, I am confident that a new Portland Voter Owned Elections Law will pass. The corrupting influence of big money, at all levels of government, has wasted billions of our tax dollars. In Portland, the influence of big money has affected decisions on the South West waterfront condo development, the denial of a new downtown for Linnton, the soccer stadium agreement, Rose Quarter planning and Portland Development Commission deals around the city. Our elected officials who make these decisions should not be controlled by wealthy special interests and downtown developers. These are people who expect to be paid back in public money through city contracts, jobs, and the selective enforcement of a variety of government regulations. By contrast, Portland Voter Owned Elections is a responsible investment in good government that will save the city money. This law ensures that politicians are accountable to voters instead of special interest contributors. There are smart, dedicated people who want to earn the chance to serve their community but do not have access to the money needed to run for political office. Public campaign financing levels the playing field for small business owners, people of color, and women who wish to run for public office. Candidates must demonstrate broad community support to qualify by earning the financial endorsement of 1,000 or more registered Portland voters. Once they qualify, they may not spend or raise money beyond the public campaign financing they receive. Frequent disclosure requirements and strict financial oversight ensure candidates' integrity. We need champions of the common man and woman representing us at City Hall who can give voice to our hopes and dreams for Portland. The public funding of campaigns allows us to take back our elections and makes grassroots democracy possible.