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Friday, March 19, 2004

Citizens in Petaluma Take Matters unto Their Own Hands
After finding that their current laws that limit campaign contributions to $500 were too weak to prevent development interest from unduly influencing who gets elected to local office, citizens are fighting back. They are working to qualify a ballot measure that would lower the limit to $200.

The developers aren't happy, but they'll still have plenty of influence given that they have nearly 200 members in Petaluma. They just won't be able to outspend other citizens who have less of a financial stake in city business.

Turns out that the citizens are trying to reverse an action that the politicians took a year ago to increase the contribution limit from $200 to $500. Those incumbent politicians claim that they raised the amount of money they could raise in order to make it easier for challengers to defeat them. Does something sound fishy? It should. Incumbents usually dramatically outraise challengers, and higher limits allow them to do so even more.

Details can be found here in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

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