January 29, 2012
Anjuli Kronheim (213) 623-1216
Initiative Targeting Big Money in Elections One Step Closer to Being on L.A. Ballot In May
Los Angeles, CA- The L.A. City Council took one more step today to put the CALPIRG and Common Cause supported measure on the ballot. This means Angelenos would see this question on the ballot in May:
Shall the Voters adopt a resolution that there should be limits on political campaign spending and that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of human beings and instruct Los Angeles elected officials and area legislative representatives to promote that policy through amendments to the United States Constitution?
As per City Charter for the passage of ordinances, since the ordinance did not receive 12 unanimous votes - only 10 on its first reading, this ordinance will be held over for one week, to be placed on the agenda for Tuesday, February 5, 2013. On February 5, eight votes will be required for approval by the City Council to have the initiative placed on the May ballot.
"Unlimited corporate and secret money, undermines the basic principle of one person, one vote," said Austin Price, field director with CALPIRG. "This gives citizens the opportunity to use the very tools of our democracy to reclaim it from the undue influence of big money."
This motion comes in the wake of what was by far the most expensive national election in history. Emboldened by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, outside groups spent over one billion dollars in the presidential election. This past November, citizens in the states of Colorado and Montana, and municipalities, like Chicago and San Francisco, all passed similar initiatives with greater than 70% of the vote.
"I expect dozens of cities will now give voters a chance to speak out against the false premise that corporations are people and that unlimited campaign spending is free speech," said Derek Cressman, director of Common Cause's Campaign to Reverse Citizens United.
The measure was introduced by Councilmember Richard Alarcon, who represents the northeast section of the San Fernando Valley.
"I thank the City Council for voting to allow the people of Los Angeles to weigh-in on the Citizens United decision and continue the momentum that is building across the nation on this important issue," said Alarcon. "In state after state, and city after city, voters are decisively voicing their support of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and unequivocally state that corporations do not deserve the constitutional rights that people are afforded. I'm pleased that the voters of Los Angeles now have the opportunity to join in this chorus and continue to put pressure on the federal government to overturn the Citizens United decision."
California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring an open, honest, and accountable government, also working to strengthen public participation and ensuring that political processes serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.
CALPIRG, the California Public Interest Research Group, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public advocacy group. For more information visit www.calpirg.org.
Office: California Common Cause
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.