Note: The Editors remain neutral about this initiative and are providing this information as a public service.
By Former Councilman John Hartley
“Clean elections” is a phrase used to describe the public financing of elections. It’s a voluntary system that allows individuals to earn the right to public financing of their campaign by gathering the support of large number of registered voters. If they qualify, candidates neither can put their own money into their campaign nor can they solicit financial contributions from others. If elected, clean election candidates are not beholden to the special interests that control our politics today.
Arizona and Maine have had clean elections since 2000 and both were enacted through citizen petition efforts. Clean elections have leveled the political process, enabled more women and people of color to be elected to office, demonstrated that you don’t have to be wealthy to run for political office and serve, and have limited the influence of the special interests who seek to control government for their own interests, like the Koch brothers.
Here in San Diego, we also believe that clean elections would empower our local neighborhoods. Neighborhoods for Clean Elections is an organization working to put a “Clean Elections” citizen initiative on the city ballot in 2016. So far it has the endorsement of 22 town councils, community councils and community associations throughout the City of San Diego. To obtain more information and to share your support, contact John Hartley, coordinator of the San Diego Clean Elections campaign, at (619) 299-8870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.