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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Local

City of Alhambra
Measure V - Majority Approval Required

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Shall an Ordinance be adopted which amends the Alhambra City Charter to include restrictions on campaign finance in local elections and which establishes by-district elections for the Alhambra City Council?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Joseph Montes, Alhambra City Attorney

This measure was put on the ballot by the City Council. It contains provisions concerning campaign finance rules for local elections and changes the method of election of council members from at large to by-district.

With regard to campaign finance, the City does not currently have campaign finance rules for local elections. This measure would add restrictions, including but not limited to:

1. Limit campaign contributions to $250. This would include contributions to committees that participate in the election. The limit would be subject to a consumer price index adjustment every two years.

2. Limit the time when contributions can be accepted to between 18 months prior to an election and December 31 following the election.

3. Prohibit contributions from Developers, Contractors, and Political Action Committees, as defined.

4. Limit loans to a campaign made by the candidate to $10,000, although contributions by the candidate to his/her own campaign are not limited.

5. Limit a candidate to one campaign committee and one checking account.

6. Prohibit transfers over $250 per year in the aggregate to any other candidate or committee.

7. Establish rules and definitions to identify the source of contributions and how contributions are aggregated.

8. Establish rules for unexpended campaign contributions, including returns of amounts in excess of $6,000 within 90 days of an election.

9. Require posting of campaign filings and reports on the City's website.

10. Require returns of contributions that exceed the contribution limits within 72 hours.

11. Require the City Clerk to provide the campaign finance rules to candidates, determine whether statements are timely made and notify candidates of filing errors or excessive contributions in statements.

12. Impose criminal and civil penalties for violation of the restrictions if the violations are not cured after notice and an opportunity to cure. The measure also allows for injunctive relief.

With regard to elections, the Charter currently provides that the City is divided into five districts where candidates must reside. Candidates are then voted on by the entire City in an election (at-large voting). Under this measure, City Council elections will take place on a by-district basis instead of an at-large basis, meaning residents may vote for the Council representative of the district in which they reside but cannot vote for candidates in other districts. The change to elections by-district would begin at the next Council election (2022). The Charter would also be amended to state that if a vacancy occurs prior to the end of a councilmember's term, the Council must call a special election to fill the vacancy (currently the Charter requires appointment of a replacement, rather than a special election.)

Measure V requires a simple majority voter approval (50% plus 1 vote).

A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of amending the Charter to include campaign finance rules and switch to by-district Council elections.

A "no" vote is a vote against amending the Charter.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Alhambra City Council and citizen groups encourage a YES vote on Measure V!

A vote for Measure V promotes trust in our elected officials by limiting campaign donations to $250 per person, per City Council candidate.

A vote for Measure V helps to ensure that the public's interest is the #1 priority by banning campaign donations to City Council candidates from developers, city contractors, and political action committees.

A vote for Measure V provides greater transparency in Alhambra's elections by requiring the posting of all campaign finance reports on the City's website. This makes it easier for residents to know who is funding a City Council candidate's campaign.

A vote for Measure V will increase government accountability by instituting fair and transparent enforcement of the City's campaign finance laws.

A vote for Measure V ensures future compliance with the California Voting Rights Act by transitioning to a by-district election system.

A vote for Measure V encourages greater competition in City Council elections by lowering the cost of running campaigns and helps to level the playing field for potential candidates from all income brackets.

A vote for Measure V deemphasizes fundraising, emphasizes the quality of a candidate's message, and encourages face-to-face interaction between candidates and constituents.

A vote for Measure V encourages more meaningful representation and decreases the chances of vote dilution across City districts.

A vote for Measure V is a vote for transparency, accountability, and good government.

Vote YES on Measure V!

DAVID MEJIA

Mayor

KATHERINE LEE

Vice Mayor

ROSS J. MAZA

Council Member

JEFF MALONEY

Council Member

ADELE ANDRADE-STADLER

Council Member

 

Equal representation is the cornerstone of democracy. No one person should have greater representation than any other person. The reality of unlimited money in politics challenges that ideal.

Unlimited money in politics facilitates a political environment in which those with greater means hold more influence over the outcome of elections, and therefore greater influence in the policy-making process. This opens the door to unequal representation and a corruption of our political process.

Common sense reforms can minimize money's influence on elections and government policy while improving representation. Currently, candidates for federal, state, and local office across hundreds of California cities are subject to campaign finance laws.

Alhambra has no campaign finance laws. Alhambra currently operates under a system that allows unlimited campaign contributions and requires district-based city council candidates to run in city-wide elections. This increases the cost of running for elected office and the likelihood of improper influence, real or perceived, exercised by campaign contributors over elected officials. It also results in district vote dilution, which minimizes the relevance of your vote for the candidate of your choice in your district and the relevance of your voice to your city councilmember after the election.

Measure V fixes this dual assault on equal and fair representation by establishing by-district elections, which over 155 California cities already have, and a comprehensive set of campaign finance laws that fight corruption and level the playing field by getting big money out of Alhambra politics (including a campaign donor limit of $250 per person per candidate and a ban on direct campaign donations from developers, city contractors, and PACs). In short, Measure V will improve government representation and transparency in Alhambra, fight corruption, and increase accountability.

Vote YES on Measure V. Vote YES for good government.

ERIC SUNADA

Executive Director, Grassroots Community Group of Alhambra

MARTHA Y. ZAVALA

President, League of Women Voters-Pasadena Area

ANTHONY ROH

Vice-President, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-L.A.

TRENT LANGE

President & Executive Director, California Clean Money Campaign

JONATHAN MEHTA STEIN

Executive Director, California Common Cause

Arguments AGAINST

There is no argument against this measure

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