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Atascadero City Council denies insight on campaign expenditures 


Atascadero voters will know less about large, last-minute political donations the next time they vote for city council candidates. They also won’t be able to vote for any candidate recognized by the city for conservative campaign spending, or know how many such candidates might run. Both are results of the council’s August 11 repeal of the city’s campaign ordinance.

Council members O’Malley, Clay, Fonzi, and Kelley voted to pull down the shade on late, deep-pocket campaign contributions and slam the door shut on candidates rewarded for voluntarily limiting their expenditures. The ordinance required the pre-election public revelation of contributions over $250 (lower than the $1,000 state threshold) received just before the election, and provided modest and inexpensive incentives to council candidates who spend less than $12,000 on their campaigns.

The cost of a council seat has recently increased 250 percent ($10,000 to $25,000) and contributions over $500 went up 800 percent. Evidence shows the escalating influence of concentrated political patronage. The council was urged to let the voters decide by retaining the ordinance, and to base their policy on post-election data, i.e., facts. The council refused and denied voters that chance.

Keeping voters in the dark is apparently political business as usual in Atascadero.

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

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