Campaign finance reform, censored

State Assemblyman Ira Ruskin had a series of town hall meetings this weekend. Menlo Park was emergency preparedness, Palo Alto was campaign finance, Los Gatos was renewable energy. It’s pretty cool to have one’s state rep be out advocating global warming and public campaign finance legislation, among a sympathetic crowd.
I went to the event at Palo Alto city hall because it was nearby and the time was convenient. That program wound up strange because the Assemblyman was not allowed to talk about Prop. 89, the ballot initiative. Instead, he spent his time talking about AB253 (I think), a state bill for public financing that he favored, but that didn’t pass. After the event, outside city hall, a few proponents of prop89 handed out literature and explained the differences — prop. 89 is apparently a mildly weaker version of public financing, that is supported by the powerful Nurses Union which had opposed the assembly bill.
The event was surprisingly low-tech. Palo Alto city hall doesn’t have wifi, which would have made it easier to fact-check questions live. When an audience member asked a question the assemblyman and his staff couldn’t answer, he offered to send out the answer in his monthly newsletter, instead of, say, posting to the blog later that day. I was pretty interested in the renewable energy event; it would have been cool to podcast.
Volunteer opportunity #253, podcasting 101 for state reps.

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