Yesterday, the Seattle Times editorial board came out against Proposition 1—the ballot measure that would establish a public campaign financing system in which participating political candidates must raise at least $10 from 600 Seattle residents, at which point he or she can have those donations matched six-to-one with public funds. Here's the editorial board's reasoning for opposing the measure:
Supporters of Proposition 1 — including several members of the sitting council — say it would increase competition in elections and draw more small donors.
It guarantees neither.
... The measure would be funded with a six-year property tax levy worth $2 million every year.
That means your tax money could back a candidate you don’t agree with.
A March 2013 evaluation by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission found little evidence to support claims that public financing increases competition in elections. Even if more candidates run, the commission’s experts found challengers regularly lose.
First, eight out of nine members of the city council support public campaign financing, not "several," and the council's sole skeptic—Sally Bagshaw—has stupid, hypocritical reasons for opposing it. (In our SECB meeting she said getting 600 donations is "too low a bar" for running for office, yet she herself has only has 430 contributors to her campaign. She also said the program was "too rich for her blood," which is laughable because 47 percent of total campaign contributions this year are $600 or more.)
Second, a public campaign finance system would absolutely, unequivocally draw more small donors—THAT'S THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT. YOU AREN'T ELIGIBLE FOR PUBLIC FUNDS UNLESS YOU HAVE AT LEAST 600 DONATIONS OF $10 TO $50. By contrast, in 2011, the average size of contributions to city council races reached a record high at $223. This year, only seven percent of total campaign contributions are under $99.
It's true that the SEEC's recommendation the editorial cites (.pdf) states that, "while there is evidence that public financing can attract more candidates, the races themselves do not appear more competitive." BUT: The letter also notes in the very next sentence that the word "competitive" in this sense is only being used to define the spread any candidate wins by (as more than 20 percent). Which means "competitive" isn't being used to characterize the number of challengers in a race or their caliber, as the stupid fucking hacks staffing the Seattle Times editorial suggest in their stupid fucking editorial.
Seriously, fuck those guys. Why the fuck are they being paid to write if they can't even read? The alternative is they're blithely taking the word out of context, much like Goldy does every week with his Sunday Bible study. (But unlike mocking the Bible, the outcome of this race isn't without consequences.)
In other places like Maine, New York City and San Francisco, matching funds have leveled the playing field for challengers against well-monied incumbents. A wider array of candidates run for office and elevate civic debates based on ideas, rather than the special interests of campaign donors.
The electorate might get a crowded field and more losers, but that contributes to a robust democracy.
Jesus prom queen Christ, I pray to god they replace Bruce Ramsey with a masturbating monkey. It'd lend some much-needed dignity to the Seattle Times editorial board.