Will L.A. City Council Hopefuls Essel and Krekorian Support "Clean Money Elections?"
Grassroots political activists citywide took a hit last week when none of the eight neighborhood candidates in the Council District 2 special election made it into the runoff. Instead, special interest-backed candidates Christine Essel and Paul Krekorian will go head-to-head in the December runoff.
But the City Hall hopefuls haven't stopped fighting. Ex-candidate Michael McCue, a spirited activist and Studio City Neighborhood Council board member who was endorsed by the local Green Party, is pushing for "clean money elections" so that grassroots candidates will have a fair shot in future races.
A "clean money election" would provide public funds for grassroots candidates so they can afford to compete with the big guys. Case in point: the CD 2 election, in which a professional politician and a career big business board member with huge war chests moved into the district, ran and won -- largely because they were able to spend money on mailers that the other candidates simply could not afford.
In a "clean money election," grassroots candidates would solicit $5 from everyone who signed their petitions to put them on the ballot. That money would then go into a public fund to be dispersed later to the grassroots candidates' campaigns.
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Essel in the past has expressed support for clean money elections. But neither her nor Assemblyman Krekorian have publicly addressed the issue since winning the first round of the CD 2 special election.
Will the same elite candidates who benefited from a lack of public funds now support a new, more egalitarian way of funding campaigns?
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