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Monday, March 16, 2009 | I read with interest the latest actions of the Ethics Commission with regard to their actions on minor unintended technical violations of campaign laws.
At the risk of the Ethics Committee imposing increased arbitrary fines on me for even more minor campaign violations when I ran a one-man campaign to replace Michael Zucchet, I feel obliged to comment on the story by Rani Gupta on their latest actions.
Generally, I am a strong supporter of the Ethics Commission and they have taken significant steps to eliminate loopholes in city ordinances to ensure fair elections. However, this nit-picking of candidate disclosure forms, as in the case of Stephen Whitburn, is an absurd waste of public funds. The risk of Ethics Commission action is becoming a serious consideration for individuals without access to professional help and who are forced to pay fines out of their own pocket on whether to run for elected office.
It is unnecessary for the Ethics Committee to act as if it were the Star Chamber to fulfill the role it was created for. If it cannot see that, then it may be time to examine whether its existence is doing more harm than good and save a substantial amount of public money by eliminating it.