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Thursday, December 3, 2009

CAMPAIGN FINANCING? OH THAT, DON'T WORRY, WE'LL GET TO IT

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 1:23 PM

The PD reports that the Issue 6ers are at least pretending to take campaign finance reform seriously.

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Backers of the successful charter measure, which appeared on the ballot as Issue 6, met twice last month and are forming a panel to deal with campaign finance, a code of ethics and transitioning from three commissioners to an elected executive and 11-member council.

"Everyone agreed we do need to deal with it (campaign finance)," said former Shaker Heights Mayor Judy Rawson, one of the panel members. "But we want to first form a broader coalition so that everyone feels included."

A little late for that, isn't it? Anyway …

As early as next week, [county prosecutor Bill] Mason and others expect to introduce an assembly of leaders, including opponents of Issue 6, who will work together to transform the county government. The group also will present a two- or three-page outline of what needs to happen between now and next November, when voters will elect the county's first executive.

Got that? We can say with great certainty the number of pages the outline to be generated by this unnamed panel will fill, but not when campaign finance reform will take effect. And as Bill Callahan recently noted, timing matters a lot:

According to the PD, “In the first few months under the charter, council members are expected to tackle a code of ethics and campaign finance reform.” But by then, of course, those County Council members will already be incumbents who’ve already raised a lot of money to run for the job, presumably with the help of the usual suspects. (The new Council districts each have nearly 90,000 registered voters, so effective council campaigns can be expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.)

His solution? Don't leave it up to them. Read the rest, it's a really good idea — one that the reform-lovin' PD editorial board should be pimping just as hard as it did Issue 6. — Frank Lewis

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