Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Bill's bill about too many bills. Pay to play -- nickle bets

Newly introduced campaign reform bill in a PDF with notes from me.

Hot off the presses. Some new rules are coming in time for the 2005 mayor's race, if Bill Peduto has his way. Bill is being talked about as a candidate. So, he is going to change the laws in serious ways now? Are you nuts? Let's change the goal post in the first quarter of the game.

I think I'll try to peg this the JIM THORPE rule. Thorpe was an Olympian. Great athlete. Poor background. Won medals. Lost medals because he broke the amateur athlete code and got some cash to play baseball. Those rule at that time were part of the sporting landscape to favor the rich. The poor kids, like today, can't travel to tournaments to compete without some cash to get there. But the rich could.

We do need to put these concepts onto the table and talk about them. There is a lot of "Pay To Play" in the city's fabric. However, this law is not yet ready for prime time. There should be a public hearing put on the law as soon as possible, for starters.

Trend: Too late. This should have surfaced six months ago.

If this isn't the JIM THORPE law, perhaps it will be the Earl Jones law. Earl has a wealthy nephew who could bankroll the mayor's race for Earl. Are the Democrats afraid of that?

Another kicker was today's city council action. A contract was awarded to a firm, Mockenhaupt Benefits Group that finances some of the benefits package of city workers. It is some finance deal that the administration wants to put into place. Deal like this happen all the time. But, two on council, Luke and Jim, voted no. They both, and Gene might have been absent but raised some questions last week, wanted to see a contract of that value be put out to bid -- or at least to a RFP process (Request for Proposals). But no. The mayor of the city wants to spend the money is a fashion as he sees fit -- without a bid. And, Bill Peduto is fine with that. I'm not.

Bid all the contracts.

New campaign reforms would not be needed if everything in the city was done on the up and up. The proposed law states that any person who makes a maximum contribution during an election cycle may not be awarded a contract relating to City affairs, without going through a competitive bidding process. Jeepers. Have all the awarded contracts be done with a competitive bid.

Furthermore, who is to say what's what. Who works at the benefits group, or owns it, or manages it, or rents space to it --- whatever --- who is giving to various campaigns. As it is today, no corporate donations can be made to campaigns. So, Mockenhaupt Benefits Group isn't going to show up in the campaign finance reports.

There are many better things to do than this law. How about, for starters, we give each candidate for office 10 hours on the government station as soon as they are on the ballot. Let's let all the candidates make their case. Rather, we get flashing photo billboards of all the members in office now for free for four years at a time.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I have two comments/questions:

1) The proposal seeks that each person may contribute up to $2000, but those who make the maximum contribution may not receive no-bid contracts. Does that mean that a person who contributes $1999.99 can receive a no-bid contract?

2) You propose that candidates be given 10 hours on "the government station". Are you proposing the creation of a government station, or does one already exist? San Francisco publishes a voter's guide, which may be a better way of filling this function.