Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Seattle and Public Financing of Campaigns

Posted by Warren Peterson on July 9, 2008

I sent my post on public financing of campaigns to members of the King County and Seattle City councils. I received a few responses one of which is below.

Mr. Peterson,

I received your email with the links to your blog, in which you discuss
County Councilmember Bob Ferguson’s support for public campaign
financing. I haven’t decided where I stand on the issue, but I think
you have most definitely raised concerns I think shared by many,
questioning why should taxpayers foot the bill for the self promotion of
candidates.

In the case of King County, its projected 2009 budget shortfall in
excess of $60 million, with the likelihood of sheriff deputy layoffs,
makes it hard to see where the funds for campaign financing might be
found. It seems clear they have a systemic budget problem, not simply
an economic downturn, so their budget shortfalls are likely to persist.

The City of Seattle is also facing a likely budget shortfall this
coming year, although not nearly so bad. In addition, it is unlikely a
measure for the public financing of municipal elections will be sent to
voters this fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle voters approve
such a measure which I think will be placed on the 2009 ballot However,
I think we need to have a much deeper discussion of what problems we are
trying to solve with public financing, and whether such a system would
answer those problems. As of yet, I’m not convinced, although I most
definitely think campaigns are becoming disturbingly expensive.

Richard J. McIver
Seattle City Council

At least one member of the City Council seems to have his head screwed on right.

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