Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Never Grocery Shop On An Empty Stomach

Not only because it may cause you to make unhealthier food choices, but because it may cause you to lash out at your local signature gatherer.

Short of standing next to the table and dissuading every would-be signer to save their ink for worthier endeavors, there isn't much I could've said to slow the inexorable march toward ANOTHER FREAKIN' statewide election this fall - especially as I staggered from the market laden with a few pounds of london broil and a laptop. As I saw the petition circulator ensnare a young mother with her young daughter via some meaningless save-education rhetoric, I lost it.

Lies, all lies! Don't sign!

I didn't look back to see if she signed or not.

I did, however, get a "Right On!" from a heavily pierced, punked out dude walking next to me. Ah, San Francisco . . . . A city so forward and progressive, they'll sign anything before pausing to realize it's backed by raging, monied Republicans. We should be our own country here.

In related news: Via The Roundup - since the court ruled that Schwarzenegger's controlled committee can raise unlimited cash, a Governor's aide warns Democrats that they'll "Face everything we've got.":

Everything, in this case being, lots and lots and lots of money. Oodles of it. Good policy and a buck-fifty gets you a cup of coffee. Ambiguously constructed, half-baked policy and millions gets you a special election.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's political team [that's the California Recovery Team types] is moving to take over his special election campaign after last week's court ruling that allows politicians to raise unlimited money for ballot measure efforts at the same time they fully control them.

Before a Sacramento court judge ruled in Schwarzenegger's favor, his political committee was limited to how much it could raise from individual donors. A business committee [that's the Citizens to Save California types] with close ties to the Republican governor could raise unlimited funds as long as Schwarzenegger didn't direct its activities.

"Any advantage the Democrats thought they'd have because of the bifurcated nature of the campaign has evaporated," Mike Murphy, Schwarzenegger's top political adviser, said in an interview Tuesday. "Now they're going to face everything we've got. If I were them, I'd make a deal."
Nothing makes me want to negotiate more than threats, arrogance, and unadulterated bravado, that's for sure.

The article notes quotes on academic type arguing that it will be easier for people to support (monetarily) the measures with Schwarzenegger directly related to it, free of the guise that the campaign is operated by an independent expenditure committee. I recall, however, seeing a recent Citizens to Save California spot, however, featuring the Governor - so take from that what you will - at least as far as measure qualification is concerned. The pre-decision tango:

Before the regulations were tossed out by Chang, Schwarzenegger's California Recovery Team could only accept individual donations of $22,300 or less. To get around the limit, a business committee with close ties to Schwarzenegger, Citizens to Save California, was established to help raise what he has said will be $50 million from contributors around the nation. But the committee had to keep arm's length from Schwarzenegger and his political operatives.

Co-chaired by Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, and Joel Fox, an anti-tax activist who is also president of the Small Business Action Committee, the CSC is free to pull in individual donations of several hundred thousand dollars or more, which it has been doing.

But because the FPPC rules said the contributor limits would apply if such committees are run by politicians, Schwarzenegger's lawyers gave strict instructions for the governor and his team to keep their distance. They could offer advice and guidance, the rules said, but they couldn't be in charge. That meant Murphy, a campaign consultant who has helped elect more than a dozen U.S. senators and governors, including Schwarzenegger and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, could not call the shots for the committee that was raising and spending most of the money. . . .

Schwarzenegger also had to stay somewhat removed. He could appear at CSC fund-raisers, but he couldn't tell the committee which initiatives to endorse or how to spend its money.
I think the word I'm trying to find for these various campaign finance laws and regulations is "untenable" - but if you have a better one, please let me know.

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