Wednesday, April 07, 2004
The Portland City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the study of a comprehensive campaign finance system today. Details can be found here in a post by Maureen Kirk, executive director of OSPIRG.
In testifying before the commission, Kirk said:
"What we hear from the public is that excessive campaign spending has turned many elections from being contests of ideas into mass marketing campaigns that bear a closer resemblance to product advertisements than serious policy debates. This big money style of campaigning is detrimental to voter education and to the values of free speech and vigorous public debate.
OSPIRG supports many policy solutions to remedy this problem, and no one policy is a panacea, but an opportunity to develop a key policy solution for Portland is before you today. By authorizing the development of policy proposals to move the city toward the public financing of elections, you will be taking an important step toward bringing average Portland residents into the election process and leveling the playing field between average Portlanders and big money special interests."
As they say, it ain't over till it's over. This only starts the process and several members seem to have voiced concerns that will need to be overcome. But, this is a great start and goes to show that citizens can make a difference when they get themselves organized.