Democracy Reform Groups Urge Californians to Vote Yes on Prop. 59 This November

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  • sylvia moore

LOS ANGELES – Decrying the torrent of campaign spending since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision, Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) and a coalition of democracy reform groups, grassroots activists, students and Occupy L.A. members gathered on Friday at a fire station community room in the Westchester area of Los Angeles to urge Californians to pass a ballot measure in support of overturning the high court’s ruling.

Proposition 59, a voter instruction on the Nov. 8 ballot, calls on the Legislature and California’s congressional delegation to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning Citizens United, and to say money is not speech, and that corporations do not have the same rights as human beings. Allen, whose state Senate district includes Westchester, was the author of SB 254, which eventually became Prop. 59 after Gov. Jerry Brown in June allowed the bill to go to the November ballot.

Stated Allen, “Ultimately, for Democrats and Republicans, the message that has been clear throughout this election cycle is that the role of money in our political system is becoming increasingly corrosive, increasingly impactful, and that it’s detracting from the vibrancy, the vitality, the health of our democratic system.”

Noting that Citizen’s United has affected lawmakers’ ability to enforce accountability and transparency so voters would know where campaign money from outside groups are coming from, Allen added, “That’s why we came forward with Proposition 59. To give the voters of the largest state in the country the opportunity to weigh in on what is perhaps the most important constitutional question of the day – the role of money in politics.”

Sylvia Moore, California Common Cause’s Southern California Organizer, stated, “Today our democracy is broken. Campaign spending is out of control, our elections are being handed over to the highest bidders, while average Americans are feeling shut out of the political process as they increasingly find it difficult to get their concerns heard. Many talented people don’t run for elective office and serve their country because of the enormous amount of money required to mount a serious campaign. We can no longer allow wealthy special interests to continue to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

Joining Sen. Allen at the Friday morning press conference were representatives from the Yes on Prop. 59 coalition: California Common Cause, California Clean Money Campaign, CalPIRG, Free Speech for People, Money Out Voters In, Move To Amend and the Westchester-Playa Democratic Club. Allen and conference attendees each took turns in front of a giant “We the People” banner to sign their names pledging to vote “yes” on Prop. 59 in November.