Like the county’s TIN CUP ordinance, the city’s campaign ordinance allows the city council to increase the campaign contribution limit in January of odd-numbered years, to account for increases in the Consumer Price Index.
In practice, that translates into $100 increase every two years. On Tuesday, the Council will bump the limit from $1,800 to $1,900.
For many years, the contribution limit in Anaheim and at the county level was stuck at$1,000 per person. Then along came Chris Norby to the Board Supervisors. Norby pointed out that TIN CUP permitted a biennial cost-of-living increase, which the Board had never done. Norby pushed the Board of Supes to overcome its fear of Shirley Grindle and approve such an increase. Now it has become routine at the county and cities like Anaheim with campaign ordinances modeled on TIN CUP.
Now, the freedom-friendliest thing to do would be to abolish campaign contribution limits altogether. Campaign contributions are a form of political speech that ought not be abridged. And it is time for even the most die-hard advocates of “campaign reform” to finally admit that contribution limits is a reform that has been tried — and tried and tried and tried and tried — and failed to accomplish anything but advantage incumbents and make elections less competitive.
Just think: if campaign contributions were eliminated, the OCEA could just dumpy $400,000 directly into his campaign account rather than running an “independent” expenditure campaign. Leos’ consultant — the brother of immediate past OCEA President Robert Gibson — would sure make a lot more money, and he could hardly do worse than the OCEA’s standard consultant.
Here’s hoping someone makes a motion for increasing free speech and more competitive elections in Anaheim.