Monday, February 06, 2006

Power Corrupts

Guest Blogger: Larry Caballero, La Palma, Calif.

As an American, I am saddened by the culture of corruption in Washington DC, and it's disgusting that any politician is capable of abusing their office. I'm sure no one gets elected so he or she can be corrupt; it's just something that happens over time, but it still happens.

Campaign finance reform can help to stop some of this, but there is still too much money in campaigns. There are too many lobbyists who are willing to spend too much money on officials in order to influence their votes. And pork barrel projects are the name of the game in Washington since it helps politicians get elected back home, and to get elected, it takes money, lots of it.

Of course, when was the last time you gave any money to a politician to help with campaign expenditures?

That's the problem. Most voters are so turned off with politicians that they don't want to donate to them, so politicians have to depend on lobbyists and special interests to finance their campaigns. Wealthy candidates who are willing to fund their own political races are less dependent on these groups, but they are not immune.

So what is the answer? Perhaps the public media can provide free time for the candidates. Otherwise, they’ll need to raise millions of dollars to pay for TV ads. Limiting the amount of money a candidate can raise, and by whom, can help, but there are too many loopholes in the system.

Several groups and organizations have Political Action Committee (PAC) money, which they can use to support their candidates. This makes it too easy to abuse the system, and corruption follows soon.

In Sacramento much of the same problem exists. We will be having a primary in June for several statewide and local offices, and it's amazing the millions of dollars spent for an office that pays something over $100,000 a year. For the governor's race alone, each candidate will spend close to 40 million dollars.

Enough is enough. The voters need to be more involved in the political process and make it clear to our elected officials and candidates that we want them to represent all of the people, and not only those who contribute to their campaigns.

The reason for term limits was to ensure that no politician stays in office too long, but inevitably the best kind of term limits is the ballot box on Election Day. If a candidate is not being fair with the people who he or she represents, then that candidate needs to be removed from office.

Maybe it's time for a change in Sacramento in November. It's obvious to me and most Californians that Arnold the Governator has let us down over and over again. After his election he attacked for no good reason the very people who put him in office—the nurses, teachers, policemen, and firemen—then he wasted our tax dollars on a needless early election. Now he wants us to believe that he cares about the people of California by proposing a budget that is irresponsible.

It's a budget that will only lead to a larger deficit and I though the Republican Party was the party of fiscal responsibility. What happened under Arnold's reign? Is it possible that he too has become corrupt? Here’s a man who once said he was so rich he would not take money from the special interests then turned around to take more money than even Gray Davis took after serving five years!

It’s time for the people to demand that our elected officials and candidates promise to do what is right, or they should plan to be out of a job at election time.

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