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I think I just realized something reading John’s response. I looked back at his prior responses and realized in each he says campaign contribution limits have failed — or words to that effect. That means his entire position, to a certain extent, is based on the assumption that things were better pre-campaign contribution limits.
That is pre-Watergate, pre-Pete Wilson (who as you may recall billed himself as a reformer against a San Diego history of hand picked politicians by a few San Diegans), pre-politics as we know it today. I appreciate nostalgia, but I am not sure I can agree that things were better before we had campaign contribution limits.
Contribution limits diffuse the influence of the wealthy few. We do not talk today about one or two people who hand-pick our city leaders. Instead, we talk about factions and groups having undue influence. Now we need to tweak the system to make sure our candidates and officeholders are not beholden to moneyed groups by finding the right contribution limit that encourages candidates to seek a broad level of support without requiring them to rely heavily on the parties or independent expenditures. Couple that with greater disclosure (which we both agree on) and a public finance option and we move a giant step forward in improving our campaigns and our politics.
I enjoyed our debate today John and the comments of all the readers. I look forward to continuing the discussion in the coming months as the Commission works through these very important issues.
— GIL CABRERA