A Question For Mayor Newsom At Tonight’s Debate: Which Campaign Finance “Reform” Do You Support?

As most people don’t know, there’s the one and only “debate” between the Mayor and his Baker’s Dozen of no-names. No one is really covering it, and the TV cameras won’t be there, so you probably won’t see much of it. But, if you have nothing better to do and get a chance to ask Mr. Mayor just what is his position these days on “public financing” of campaigns.

Now don’t get me wrong – there’s no question that the term “campaign finance reform” is a loaded term designed to help one side over the other. Fine. But here’s where I get confused when it comes to Mr. Mayor’s position on the allegedly important issue of taxpayer financed elections (which have done so well here in San Francisco).

I got some plea for money from the from the so-called “Californians for Clean Money” campaign, and as you can see in the accompanying image, I was asked to “join Mayor Newsom” who apparently endorsed the effort at some meeting at some new office in Our City.

Now, let’s put aside the many failed predictions made when the proponents got this thing passed, since that’s obvious. Instead, let’s look at the record of Our Mayor on this supposedly important issue, and wonder if perhaps the folks at the “California Clean Money” campaign might need to do a little more homework before putting press releases out for their cure-all.

Even a cursory glance at the archives of the Voice of the West, little blogs and the Bay Guardian reveal the fact that the mayor has proposed cutting matching funds
Mayor Newsom made it clear he was openly contemptuous of the idea
on more than one occasion and if that is what he thinks, more power to him. Not everyone (including I) are convinced that this is a cure-all, and I’ve been saying for years it’s time to come up with rules that ensure fairness, but do not attempt to guarantee outcomes for one side (i.e. Magical Matt Gonzalez) or the other (Mr. Mayor) or another (some goofball with a blog and an attitude.)

If the California Clean Money folks want me to take their ideas seriously, they perhaps oughta do a better job researching their fundraising appeals before sending them out, and ask Mr. Mayor to take a consistent position. Otherwise they look foolish.

Likewise, if Mr. Mayor thinks the idea is dumb, fine. But why then go out to a meeting of a group dedicated to taking such an apparently dumb “progressive” idea and inflict it statewide and appear in a fundraising email as well?

Apparently the clean money people have some meeting coming up this month. Perhaps one of those wise reporters from those “real” newspapers could show up and ask them some questions. Maybe ask the Mayor some too, while their at it.

Or do we have to spam the Chronicle with “400 comments” before the Big Kids of Journalism like CW Nevius or Phil Matier try some real journalism for a change?

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