May 4, 2012

Do you want your tax money going to political campaigns? Common Council Votes May 7

This story was brought to the Insider's attention in an article by the Middletown Eye here: Mayor Drew, who spoke at a lecture held at Wesleyan organized by the non partisan group Democracy Now on campaign finance reform along side WesDem leader Ben Florsheim this past fall advocating public funding of campaigns to "level the playing field." As you may recall,  at the lecture, open to the public held just by "coincidence" during the 2011 fall campaign season, was "crashed" as stated by Florsheim by local Middletown Republican candidates and incumbent Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, who were not invited, as then candidate Drew tried to tell the crowd. It was after this lecture, and with the help of student leaders Gabriela DeGolia and Ben Florsheim that over 450 Wesleyan students were registered to vote, coincidentally, around the same margin by which Drew won the election. Florsheim, who is president of the Connecticut College Democrats and an up and coming politician in his own right, and DeGolia then wrote letters and organized protests of Giuliano's appointment to the SEEC (State Elections Enforcement Committee).  De Golia and Florsheim then manipulated statements made by Republican candidates and local citizens, who had merely quoted state statues, and the two  published statements & handed out flyers accusing the Giuliano campaign, candidates, and a private citizen not involved in the campaign, of felony voter intimidation against Wesleyan students.

To get back to the topic of Your money: idea behind the resolution is  to force campaigns to be "grassroots" efforts. However look at Drew's contributors who he claimed were "grassroots":Connecticut Young Democrats, Leadership in Action, People for excellence in government, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 777, Susan Bysiewicz,State Rep. Matt Lesser, Colleen Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Gov. Dannel Malloy, State Treasurer Denise Nappier, Democratic councilmen Robert Santangelo, Grady Faulkner, Hope Kasper and James Streeto, along with Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Elizabeth Santangelo. Those aren't grass roots contributors, it's they are Dem cohorts- and likewise- members of the local Republican party contributed to to Giuliano. Our point is: practice what you preach if your are going to preach it!
 In January, it was reported that Drew's campaign raised over $97K (vs. Giuliano's $68K),  the majority of which came from businesses rather than individual donors; the Insider's point is that the pot is calling the kettle black with this resolution to stop supposed campaign corruption and favors  by businesses who donate to local campaigns. The Insider suspects that because of statements at this lecture, the local Democratic Councilmembers will be in favor of having tax money used for local campaigns.

On the agenda for the regular common council meeting for May 7, 2012 is a resolution
regarding public elections and the financing of those elections. This resolution states
in part that the residents of Middletown, CT “stand with communities across America
in protecting our republic from the influencing effects of well-financed interests by
establishing that
1. Corporations should not enjoy the Constitutional rights by being considered
human beings;
2. All public elections shall be publicly funded;
3. Independent political spending shall be limited and made transparent;”


On the surface after reading quickly, this sounds admirable; however, after thought, not
so much.  The Insider would rather put in place or enforce the regulations that limit the
amount of spending or lower the cost of an election rather than make all public elections
publicly funded. Elections are too costly, that’s a given, so perhaps it would be better
to cap the amount that may be spent on an election for a specific office. For example, if
you’re running for Mayor you may spend $30,000; how you come up with that amount
and what you do with that is up to you, but that’s it, that’s all you’ve got.
The Insider doesn’t want to see our tax dollars, and that’s what public funding is: my taxdollars whether it be local or federal, spent on campaigns when there are so many other needs to be met. We don’t believe that the residents of Middletown want to have their mil rates go up even more than they already are ( 2+ mil) so that candidates for the next election can receive campaign funds. How would you feel if your tax money went toward say the Communist Party? Or a campaign party called "I did Your Mother"? If this resolution passes, all parties would receive equal funding-

This resolution, if passed, speaks for all the residents in Middletown and the Insider is not sure
that the Council, just by virtue of their position as Council, has the right to put forth
a position such as this without some sort of public hearing or public input. Also, this
resolution is assuming that the voter has not the ability to judge candidates and vote on
their candidates based on informed knowledge but rather on the money spent on their
campaign. The Insider would rather think that the voters in this city are more informed and engaged then that.

1 comment:

Wm Wallace said...

I don't want my tax dollars going to campaigns at all. If I want to donate my money and time that is my business but shouldn't be forced as this would make it.