Good Government email — sample
I wanted to remind you of today’s meeting on municipal campaign financing at noon. I’ve pasted the meeting notice at the end of this email.
Campaign finance is a tough subject to address. No one likes the vast amounts of money raised and spent on campaigns, yet spending more money than your opponents is a very good, though not foolproof, way to get elected. I’ve attached some notes I took while learning more about this issue last winter, but the reality is that few places do have implemented viable campaign financing reform and there are lots of hurdles to doing so here, not the least of which is the sheer amount of money people are willing to spend to get elected, regardless of its source. Some City Council candidates already have over $20,000 in their accounts and at least one special interest PAC, A Better Cambridge, has over $8,000 dollars on hand, twice what many candidates (including myself) have in their accounts. Even local state reps spent tens of thousands of dollars in 2018 in unopposed races, indicating just how thoroughly money is intertwined in campaigning.
Robert Winters has some pretty interesting stats on 2017 campaign funding that show the massive imbalance in how much various candidates are willing to raise and spend to get a seat on City Council. My perspective is that when some candidates are approaching or even breaking, the $100,000 mark, those of us that show restraint in raising and spending money are campaigning at a disadvantage that can be quite costly (no pun intended).
Unfortunately, I am out of town this week so will miss this meeting but I continue to be interested in how we can reform local campaign financing in a fair and democratic way. As the candidate who regularly spends less, as much as 75% less, than the other successful candidates, I welcome a more focused discussion on how Cambridge can really be a leader in mitigating the impact money has on local politics. I don’t think the simplistic “Developer money is bad but other interested parties’ money is okay” argument takes us very far down that road, though, and I hope this hearing is the first of many to help us flesh out this subject and come to a useful solution.
Anyway, if you can make this hearing, that’d be great. If you’d like to submit written comments, please email them to PCrane@Cambridgema.gov.
Thanks, and have a great week.
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Monday, July 8, 2019
The Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a report from the City Manager and City Solicitor on proposals for a “Cambridge Publicly Financed Municipal Election Program,” a “Cambridge Municipal Election People's Pledge," and to discuss the feasibility of convening a task force or working group to discuss publicly financed elections in Cambridge.
THIS HEARNG WILL BE TELEVISED
Attachment (Microsoft Word .docx file): email-list-sample-good-government-Craigs-notes-on-initial-Campaign-Public-Financing-Conversation.docx