Elizabeth on Fair, Local and Clean ElectionsPolitical campaigns in Benicia should be clean and fair elections, decided by Benicians, not outside influences.
MY PLEDGE: I promise to abide by Benicia’s 2009 Fair Campaign ordinance which I helped to pass (Contribution and Voluntary Spending Limits). I pledge to take contributions from individuals and local businesses only, AND not to take out-of-town or large corporate donations ... (which means we need lots of contributions from citizens like you).
LOCALAs a principle of good government, I have long opposed outside funding for local elections.
In January 2006 long before I became Mayor, I introduced a clean campaign reform ordinance for action at the City Council. I proposed Voluntary Expenditure Limits of sixty-five ($.65) per resident. Another proposal by Vice Mayor Schwartzman was for $1.00 per resident.
At that time I also introduced campaign donation restrictions for corporations with headquarters out of the city, county or state. (Note that Seeno is headquartered in Concord, California, and Valero is headquartered in Texas.) This does not limit corporate officials or employees from supporting candidates of their choice - it only limits the corporations (with much more money behind them). My proposed ordinance also introduced the posting of expenditures or contributions over $1,000.00 within twenty-four (24) hours on the city website. Additional recommendations were that elected council members who received $2,500 or more in donations must recuse themselves from participating in a discussion or voting on a project by the source of the donation. All of these proposals were rejected in May 2007. This action by the council majority rejected the public’s advice, suggestions, and recommendations over several months. The council majority said that the public that showed up or wrote did not represent the majority of Benicia citizens. I most certainly did not agree and continued to support clean campaign reforms.
Later in 2007, these matters also became a rather personal issue. I was targeted in the last campaign by large corporations and outside political action committees (PACs) with expensive last-minute negative hit-pieces mailed to Benicia voters. Benicia voters are smart - whether these attack mailers helped or hurt my election outcome is debatable - but the principle remains: Benicians should decide Benicia’s elections based on local support and accurate information about the candidates.
In 2009, with my qualified support for the proposed resolution by Council Member Campbell (more or less reflecting an initiative that was being circulated in the city), the City Council passed a new Fair Campaigns ordinance. While far from perfect, the new ordinance included many of my 2007 recommendations. My opponent in this year’s election supported the new 2009 ordinance, but was himself the beneficiary of very large contributions from outside corporations and PACs both times he was elected, in 2005 and 2009. (For details, see Will Gregory’s Benicia Herald article, June 1, 2011.)
Quote from Benicia resident Dick Lubin, Benicia Herald, May 31, 2011: This coming election will be hard-fought, but our mayor wants it to be a clean election, decided by the voters and based on issues, not dirty politics. She will accept donations from individuals and only from Benicia businesses, not from any outside business or agency interested in interfering with our election. She will abide by Dr. Tom Campbell’s ordinance that invites candidates to voluntarily cap their expenditures and will limit her total expenditures to $28,000.
FAIR AND CLEANFair campaign contribution guidelines: Under Benicia’s Campaign Finance ordinance, your contribution limit is $500 per donor. My campaign committee will accept contributions from individuals and Benicia based businesses only. Contributions should be made payable to Committee to Re-elect Mayor Elizabeth Patterson. Contributions are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. The campaign is required by law to disclose the true source of all contributions. Contributors may incur reporting obligations under the state campaign reporting laws. Additional information may be obtained from the campaign or at www.FPPC.gov. See also the California Local Government Finance Almanac at http://www.californiacityfinance.com
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or send contributions to Benicians to Re-elect Elizabeth Patterson, P.O. Box 1933, Benicia, CA 94510.
Under Benicias Campaign Finance ordinance, your contribution limit is $500 per donor. My campaign committee will accept contributions from individuals and Benicia based businesses only. Contributions should be made payable to Committee to Re-elect Mayor Elizabeth Patterson. Contributions are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. The campaign is required by law to disclose the true source of all contributions. Contributors may incur reporting obligations under the state campaign reporting laws. Additional information may be obtained from the campaign or at www.fppc.ca.gov. 94510. FPPC #1289634, Mary Frances Kelly Poh, Treasurer. You may contact the campaign firstname.lastname@example.org.