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

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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