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A little-known measure

Proposition 15 seeks public financing for 2014 and 2018 secretary of state elections.

April 05, 2010|By Erik Holmes

“There’s a claim about whether it raises taxes,” said Goodman, an entrepreneur and veteran activist. “It’s only on lobbyists and those who hire lobbyists. No general fund taxpayer dollars will go to candidates. … None.”

The legislative analyst’s office said in its analysis that if not enough money is raised to provide full funding, “public funding provided to the candidates would have to be reduced so that overall expenses do not exceed the funds available to the program.” The analysis makes no mention of taking money from the general fund.

Wiebe said that is just beginning to organize its efforts against the measure. The campaign against Proposition 15 is funded by the Institute of Governmental Advocates, the lobbyist trade group.


The campaign is drawing a large and diverse group of players, he said, but is unlikely to spend a large amount of money to defeat the proposition.

“This is going to be a very modest effort,” Wiebe said. “We’re going to rely largely on the news media to get the message out. We’re not going to spend a lot on advertising.”

Proposition supporters, organized as, are taking a different approach, organizing a statewide grassroots campaign.

The de facto headquarters for the campaign in Orange County is Goodman’s home.

Nearly 20 people gathered on Goodman’s back patio in late March to plot strategy. The June 8 election was approaching, and they needed to get to work.

“Today’s meeting is about getting the volunteers who are passionate about this proposition organized effectively to promote the proposition,” he said.

The volunteers — many of them veteran activists — brainstormed ways to get the word out to voters, most of whom have likely never heard of Proposition 15. They planned booths at farmers markets, festivals and colleges; speeches at city councils, voters’ organizations and senior centers; and phone banks to get voters to the polls.

“The biggest challenge is getting out the word,” Goodman said. “There are millions of voters … but there are, at best, hundreds of us.”

The volunteers said they are motivated by the corrupting influence of the more than $1 billion candidates for California statewide offices have raised for campaigns since 2001. Goodwin-Noriega said she wants to tell voters there is another option.

“Teaching people about how much our country is controlled by corporations,” she said, “and teaching them that this does not have to be.”

Both sides say they are confident of success.

Proposition 15 supporters tout an October poll of 800 likely voters showing that 63% of likely voters favored the proposition, 22% were opposed and 16% undecided. Even 58% of registered Republicans support the measure, the poll found.

“This is, I feel, a bipartisan issue that is equally attractive to anyone who has studied it no matter what their leanings,” Goodman said.

Wiebe dismissed the poll results.

“The most reliable poll that I’m aware of was the general election four years ago when 74% of the voters said no” to Proposition 89, which would have publicly funded elections with a tax on businesses.

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