A few hours ago, we broke the news: One of Mayor Jerry Sanders’ ballot measures will be contested in the Nov. 7 election.

Last week, a group calling themselves “Citizens Against Corruption: No on C” registered with the city clerk to formally oppose Proposition C, the measure that would allow private companies the ability to compete with municipal workers to perform city services.

The group – comprised of civic and labor activists – is playing up the potential for corruption in dealing government contracts. Citizens Against Corruption suggests that current leaseholders, developers, lobbyists and contractors contributed money to Sanders and his initiatives in order to gain business with the city.

Such an arrangement facilitated a “pay-to-play” relationship, the group said at its first official press event Friday.

“What happens is donors give huge contributions and they get great representation and regular residents don’t,” said former City Councilman John Hartley, who currently advocates for publicly financed elections.

Hartley and League of Women Voters spokeswoman Norma Damashek said they wanted the mayor to bar companies that made contributions to his campaign or the Proposition C effort from competing for contracts.

Mary Anne Pintar, a spokeswoman for the Yes on B and C campaign, said the measure would prevent the mayor from selecting the winners of the service competitions between city workers and companies. That duty would be assigned to an independent review board, comprised of mayor-and-council-appointed private citizens who have no ties to companies that do business with the city, she said.

The independent panel’s suggestions are either rejected or accepted by the mayor and City Council in their entirety, removing the potential for playing favorites, she said.

“They cannot say ‘I don’t like contractor A, I want to use contractor B,’” Pintar said.

Citizens Against Corruption has not reported any campaign donations in the filing period that ended a week ago. Donald Cohen, president of the liberal Center on Policy Initiatives, is listed as the group’s contact.


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