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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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UncategorizedCity Hall's ethics problem

City Hall’s ethics problem

The voters are overwhelmingly sick of political sleaze — and in the Mel Murphy era, it will be hard to duck reforms

People seem to like the mayor personally -- but they don't trust City Hall ethics
People seem to like the mayor personally — but they don’t trust City Hall ethics

APRIL 8, 2015 – It should come as no surprise, but the voters of San Francisco think there is too much corruption at City Hall – and that could be a serious issue for the mayor if anyone were to challenge him for re-election.

A new poll from Friends of San Francisco Ethics comes in the wake of a political mess for the mayor (and some of his allies on the board) – a defiant Port Commission member refusing to give up his job despite serious allegations of wrongdoing in a lawsuit by the city attorney.

The poll shows overwhelming support for a series of reforms, many of which came out of a Civil Grand Jury report from June, 2014. The report found serious flaws in the way the city enforces campaign finance and lobbying laws, and made a series of recommendations.

“But the mayor opposed all of them,” Larry Bush, a member of Friends of Ethics and former Civil Grand Jury member, told me.

Here’s what the poll found:

  • The voters aren’t with the mayor, not even close. A full 65 percent say special interests have too much influence over local government, and only 16 percent think the current Ethics Commission is doing a good job limiting money in politics.
  • More than 70 percent of the people polled supported the f0llowing:
  • A measure to prohibit lobbyists from giving gifts or campaign contributions to city officials
  • A measure to limit all campaign contributions to candidates for local office to $500 – and eliminating the loophole that allows candidates to run for, say, Democratic County Central Committee with unlimited money and also run for a city office
  • A measure to prohibit real-estate developers to contribute money to officials who have the power to approve their projects
  • A measure to prohibit city officials from participating in decisions involving the interests of campaign donors.

All of those would crimp the pay-to-play politics that is still too much of a part of city government. They wouldn’t stop someone like Ron Conway from doing a huge independent-expenditure campaign, but that’s unfortunately the result of a US Supreme Court decision.

Friends of Ethics has been trying to get the Commission to adopt the reforms, so far with no success. But if one of the supervisors pushes this agenda, it will put the mayor in a tight situation.

In 1999, when advocates launched a ballot initiative to pass the Sunshine Ordinance, then-Mayor Willie Brown was furious. He hated the measure. So did most of the incumbents on the board.

But Brown was facing a surprisingly strong upstart challenge from then-Sup. Tom Ammiano, and one of the major issues was the sleaze in the Mayor’s Office. There was no way Brown could openly oppose the Sunshine Ordinance.

A majority of the supervisors voted to approve Murphy’s appointment to the Port Commission – although at the time Sup. John Avalos raised exactly the problems that Herrera is raising today. Seriously – could they vote against serious ethics reforms, today, with the current climate at City Hall?

Although he still doesn’t have an opponent, Lee is under fire for his handling of the Mel Murphy affair (does anyone actually believe that the mayor was ignorant of all of Murphy’s problems until Herrera filed suit? If so, does anyone actually believe his office does a credible job of screening commission appointees?) And I bet if you put a poll in the field today and asked if the voters thought Lee should be opposed (or if you asked how well he was doing protecting renters from displacement or whether you could trust his ethics) you’d find stark vulnerabilities.

The supes may try to duck and water down any reforms. It’s a little late to start gathering signatures for a 2015 Ethics Reform ballot measure. But if it goes before the voters in November, 2016, it’s going to get about 80 percent of the vote.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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129 COMMENTS

  1. For a serious look at the ethical health of City Hall you need look no further than the expansion plans of the Art Academy University, that will be the subject of a Planning Commission Hearing tomorrow. If you are down with an institution that is rapidly absorbing real estate in pockets all over the city to be turned into classrooms and student housing then you don’t need to be alarmed. If, on the other hand, you are concerned about the removal of large tracks of housing from the public then you may want to look into the Art Academy Project. We are wondering why the city is even considering their expansion plans considering the manner in which they operate.
    The City Attorney investigated complaints a couple of years ago, yet no efforts have been taken to fix the violations, and, as far as we know, no fines have been levied. You can put AAU’s failure to comply on your list of questionable ethics.

  2. Jorge. You have no idea what I’m thinking and obviously no idea what I actually wrote. If you’re going to participate here you should pay attention.

  3. No one is for money buying elections, but notice what you wrote “Campos and the hotel workers union.”

    The Koch thing while you seem to think “Campos and the hotel workers union” is just great.

  4. In the United States, the military is designed to be apolitical: it serves Congress, which may declare war, and the democratically elected President, who is its Commander in Chief. That the last five decades have seen increasing influence on politics by the military has been a massive failure, true, not to mention a massive waste of money.

    What does that have to do with the desirability of returning the military to its designated role, and of treating the corporate for-profit sector in the same way as excluded from politics?

  5. I got that poll too, perhaps 25 minutes. That don’t come cheap. But if they are able to prevail on the policies then whatever it cost to buy the government is rounding error on chump change.

  6. Here’s where it began:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_F._Powell,_Jr.#Powell_Memorandum

    This has been going on for 40 years. The Democrats have successfully buffered that project from any significant challenge. They’ve converged economically with the Republicans for all intents and purposes while providing the illusion of choice. The Democrats, the nongovernmental organizations and public sector unions have forcibly cornered the market on any alternative to the neoliberal libertarian project. This has generally taken the form of monetizing politics and creating a professional political class.

  7. No elections are very important, but they are rigged for the right through money, restrictions on voting, and gerrymandered districts. That’s why in 2014 GOP candidates for the House won 52% of the vote and ended up with 57% of the seats. http://www.thenation.com/article/188801/republicans-only-got-52-percent-vote-house-races.

    It’s not called gerrymandering, but the way we elect senators — two per state big and small — does essentially the same thing: Democrats gather more votes but end up with fewer seats.

  8. More prosperous for whom? Certainly not the majority in this economy. Middle and lower class wages have been stagnant for a long time. Meanwhile the wealthy are increasing their share of overall wealth instead of sharing the prosperity.

  9. Short of a constitutional amendment, the law as it stands — enacted by a right-wing activist Supreme Court and overturning some 100 years of campaign finance law — is unlikely to change.

    There is a movement, however, to require public corporations to disclose their campaign contributions. It would have to be done by the SEC. There is also a movement to overturn the Citizens’ United decision via a constitutional amendment.

  10. Perhaps half of Americans do not hold retirement accounts. All Americans are not shareholders, wealth is not socialized in mutual funds.

  11. The outcomes and public opinion on these matters speak for themselves, the game is rigged for the house. That does not mean that a player never wins a hand.

  12. No, you are clueless about your supply chain.

    Unless you never eat, drink, shop, travel or consume, then you are helping corporations build prosperity

  13. The share holders are all Americans, via bank accounts, insurance policies and retirement plans

    Nice to see you admit that you admit that you are the ultimate payer of corporate taxes.

    QED

  14. Wow, that’s a new level of self-hatred for marcos, the well-known southerner who is trying to over-compensate

  15. Yes, it’s important that you ignore reality and democracy so that you can maintain your weird world view in your own mind,

  16. No, the South is a racist trailer park of a region that pretends to be conservative but is heavily subsidized by the productive, well regulated, generally liberal coastal cities.

  17. And to the extent that I am a shareholder, taxes come out of my hide. Corporations cannot pass through their losses to the customer if the market will not bear those costs. The buck stops with the shareholders.

  18. The people did vote for change when they voted for Obama. The voters declined to support the Democrats once it became clear that on most important issues, Obama was Bush III.

  19. Corporations pay no tax. They are passthrough vehicles.

    Unless you have no pension plan, you are a shareholder.

  20. Polls at the time had something like 75-80 percent opposed to the civil rights legislation.

    I am not sure that everyone who voted for JFK wanted to destroy states’ rights

  21. Ok, so you agree that the people can be wrong?

    That is quite convenient for someone whose views are highly unpopular nationwide

  22. San Francisco is being destroyed en masse by developers and their City Hall whores. I could c are less if”most voters” disagree with that statement,

  23. I do not generate revenue for any firm that I do not patronize, directly or indirectly, therefore no claim could be made that I pay the taxes of most corporations. The shareholders pay the taxes of the firms they invest in as profit denied.

  24. Corporations spend like drunken sailors to keep their people in office and once in office government changes the rules to benefit those corporations. The added profit from favorable laws more than covers the political expense.

  25. Or that unrestrained corporate spending has artificially constrained the choices. Torrents of money can be effective at political assassination.

    The voters get that they’re being cheated, that is why they oppose Citizens United and why these poll results are what they are.

  26. Customers are not mandated to purchase a firm’s products, while firms are mandated to pay taxes. Shareholders pay taxes.

  27. In the 1960s, the voters clearly elected a Democrat President and a Democrat Congress. The Civil Rights Movement was successful precisely because it enjoyed a super majority of support outside of the former Confederacy.

  28. This thread has taken a turn into the role of “special interests” and the role of lobbying and money in government policy. Here’s a concrete and local example: Yesterday I got a public opinion phone survey about the role of two possible approaches to revised regulations for Airbnb: They were described as an initiative Campos and the hotel workers union is expected to introduce and another sponsored by Airbnb, the SF Chamber of Commerce and something called the Internet group or coalition.

    It was clear from the descriptions that the Campos legislation was much tougher and would solve some of the problems in last year’s legislation that were revealed by the Planning Department. It was also clear that Airbnb was looking to get out from under regulation by the Planning Department and shift it over to the Department of Building Inspection. Interestingly, according to the description, the Airbnb plan protects certain areas west of Twin Peaks from Airbnb uses. Airbnb has faced similar problems in other areas so it wouldn’t surprise me if this is cookie cutter legislation.

    Now, let’s suppose both measures qualify for the November ballot, which is likely to be a low-turnout election just as 2014 was. Any guesses as to which side will have the bigger campaign budget? How much bigger will it be and what effect will this have? Should the money Airbnb and it its supporters have allow it to write policy and law for San Francisco?

    We are supposed to be a democracy of one person one vote, not one dollar one vote. Should the side with the most money win and set the policy? That’s the way it is in Congress and in many legislatures, and even some judicial races, today. When two of the richest men in America, the Koch brothers, promise to spend $900 million in the 2016 elections to buy political influence, all of us, even some of the conservatives on this thread, should be very, very worried.

  29. I prefer to broaden democracy rather than narrow it to only those parts which I personally happen to agree with.

  30. Since the voters continue to elect politicians who support corporations, it is obvious that the people are happy with that.

  31. That suggestion is controverted by the facts. Non-union members make up more than 93% of private sector workers, and yet corporations have expanded political advocacy, not scaled it back.

    The corporate sector’s refusal in its long fight against labor organization simply to declare victory and go home is an object lesson in just why it would be best for democracy and government completely to exclude it from all politics.

  32. Ed Lee easily won election on a pro-development platform, so it appears that most voters disagree with you

  33. Not necessarily. If demand is inelastic, customers pay the tax through higher prices. Or their employees pay through lower wages.

    But if neither of those happened, then it would be your retirement fund that is devalued.

    Each way, you pay.

  34. I believe the civil rights laws in the 1960’s was opposed by about 80% of the people.

    But as noted, the question was prejudicial

  35. As soon as unions give up their political advocacy, I feel sure that corporations would scale theirs back as well

  36. Like the military, for-profit corporations have a single, well-defined role. Like the military, for-profit corporations if involved damage democracy and government. Like the military, for-profit corporations should have no political agency.

    If there were ancillary restraint on democracy from excluding military and corporations from participation, then balanced access would be necessary. In a free country where all people can associate and find full voice, no balance is necessary.

  37. Ah, “special” interests rear their ugly heads again. Corporate interests, of course, are not “special” interests in your twisted world.

  38. Cite your source in asserting that most Americans see corporations as beneficial engines of prosperity. The statement smells like ass because you just yanked it out of your ass.

  39. Long words for the sake of it don’t convince many, even when they are used correctly, which they are not here.

    Most Americans see corporations as beneficial engines of prosperity. Not many see excess taxation in the same way.

  40. The wording of that poll was highly flawed and prejudicial, because it used the word “special” in a loaded manner.

  41. Confiscating small amounts of wealth from hundreds of millions of people makes the country less prosperous. Fabricating dollars via QE gooses the market but the fundamentals do not support that. This is why there has been ZIRP for almost a decade now and why the Fed has whipped up trillions of dollars to subsidize bank malfeasance. Socialism for the elites is what has kept the US economy from completely eating the shit sandwich. Debt peonage, the financialization of every day needs, is the vehicle for the confiscation of wealth.

  42. Corporate taxes are paid by shareholders in profit denied. Taxes are the cost of doing business. There is no guarantee that corporations can sell their goods or services to cover their taxes, so there is no guarantee that employees or customers pay taxes. But there is a guarantee that the shareholders will be on the hook to cover the tax bill. The market price of goods and services is what the market will bear, not the cost to produce.

  43. Americans have a broad, wide and deep opinion. I concur with 80% of my fellow Americans. It is you and the corrupt SCOTUS who are outliers.

  44. It’s not “unfettered” It’s just appropriate and reasonable to allow them some influence rather than none.

  45. You have an opinion. SCOTUS makes the law.

    You elected the people who appointed the justices, so blame yourself if you dont like their decisions.

  46. Corporate taxes are ultimately paid either by its workers (people), its customers (people) or its investors (people). Or some combination of all of them.

  47. Generating wealth makes the nation more prosperous. Confiscating, taxing and borrowing other peoples’ wealth does not.

  48. Anyone who wants to investigate ethics and transparency at City Hall can start at General Hospital. Try to find anyone at the Health Department or the DPW who will talk to you. We have been trying for weeks and no one has returned a call. There appear to be major conflicts between SFMTA and some department heads appointed by the Mayor. The Murphy affair is not the only scandal lurking. Lots of skeletons may fall out of closets in the next few months.

  49. Get the Bum out period, and make sure he takes his regime with him. Gavin Gruesome Newsom, and sleek Willie—Democrats who play with special interested, who forgets the middle class whom voted them in, and now its time to be gone!

  50. Yup, then he appointed a bunch of right wing clowns as judges.

    In SF progressives talk about people power and then progressives think the school board should go against the JROTC vote and ban it.

    It must be tiring to be so self appointed smarter and keep not getting over.

  51. Here’s the deal, I agree that corporate spending is a bad deal for America. I don’t want all lobbying left to the various race groups, unions, etc…

    lets try an analogy.

    I don’t care what Ted Nugent says about politics, nor do I care what Sean Penn says. In this definitional analogy the progressives think Sean Penn is a genius and Ted Nugent is a clown. Flip the coin over and your right winger equal think Ted Nugent is a genius and Sean Penn is a clown.

    What works to your advantage is “people power” and what doesn’t is some sort of buzz word dominance.

  52. If special interests are anyone who lobbies for an agenda then if everyone is a special interest, then nobody is a special interest. Single issue interests is more what you’re trying to say but you can’t get it out without evoking Reagan’s welfare queen imagery.

  53. hardly, I said

    “Everyone involved in lobbying is a special interest.”

    The progressives here use the term the way you say Reagan did. Define away the race groups, the public employee unions, the various self selected bike and voter groups and then complain about special interests? Interesting.

    I think that special interests are anyone who lobbies for an agenda, I unlike the progressives here(and your Reagan) don’t define away people that may agree with me based on meaningless populist rhetoric.

    Nice try there Marc

  54. The “Planning Commission” vermin are the ones who need to be terminated. They continue to allow cold, sterile, hideously ugly ‘luxury condo’ high rises to go up EVERYWHERE in this once amazingly soulful city. The whole atmosphere of San Francisco has been raped , degraded, and transformed for the worst in the last two years. It’s an ongoing catastrophe with no end in site!

  55. I’m wondering how to address such irrational ranting. Trying to tell a shrieking pro-lifer that people might have another opinion is futile because they believe things based on a revealed basis. For some reason progressive seem to think that putting everything in revealed populist rhetoric means that that progressives politicians don’t keep track of who pays the campaign bills.

    lets try this example, Campos lost to Chiu the most important poll of them all, an election. So obviously the citizens are not fans of his doings, so your argument by definition fails there, the majority of voting citizens didn’t vote for him. Ditto the beating that Avalos took from Lee. I’m sure you know better though.

    I know the fall back here, the citizens are too stupid to know whats good for them so your boys lost. But then the capitalization of the odd word here in there has never been a sign of mental health.

  56. So the confiscation of small amounts of wealth of many people by a few due to a rigged political game is okay by you, but the confiscation of large amounts of wealth from the few is a sacrilege. Thanks for clarifying that.

  57. They work to all of our advantages, not just mine. Corporate spending works against the interests of most Americans which is why they oppose corporate dominance of elections. You only win under a virtual dictatorship ushered in by corporate political spending.

  58. Democratically appointed Supreme Court justices are “activists”? Really?

    Why do you hate democracy? Why do you support “direct action” only when the voters reject what you support, and not otherwise?

  59. It’s important to understand the difference between earning income and generating wealth, on the one hand.

    And seeking to take somebody else’s wealth, on the other hand

  60. It is okay to take direct action because citizens have political and civil rights as sovereigns. Corporations have no such political rights. Corporations can neither vote nor hold public office directly. So they have to craft fresh law out of whole cloth to change the rules to favor them.

  61. The contemporary introduction of “Special Interests” into the political discourse was by Reagan to paint his white base as normative and everyone else as a “special interest.”

  62. So if Americans look to corporations for benevolence they’re correct, but when Americans state they oppose Citizen’s United’s floodgates of spending, they’re wrong and the SCOTUS is right.

    That’s situational ethics for you.

  63. Corporate taxes are paid by shareholders in profit denied, not by customers.

    Clearly you support public subsidy of corporate political activity through tax breaks while individual political activity is post-tax.

  64. If corporations cannot compete without buying government to change the rules in their favor, then those corporations should probably go out of business, right?

  65. Corporations are not explicitly granted any civil rights by the Constitution. Activist conservatives justices carved that new law out of whole cloth in the 19th century as an aside that stands as precedent.

  66. I would gladly trade the contributions from public sector unions for a ban on contributions from corporations. In a heart beat.

  67. Seem to recall that you felt pretty strongly that the San Francisco Green Party should court corporate donations once upon a time.

  68. Exactly WHO does Avalos and Campos “shill” for? God you’re an idiot. Scratch that… you’re clearly a douchebag conservative moron troll. You wanna talk “shills?” How about Scott Wiener? David AirBnB Chui? London Breed? Mark Ferrell? They have so many corporate interests up their asses there’s no room for any shit. Avalos and Campos are about the ONLY supervisors doing ANYTHING to help the majority of citizens of San Francisco. Can’t say the same for your Wiener… or Breed…. or Ferrell… or Tang… or Christensen.

  69. How does the motivation underlying analysis bear on its quality?

    If giving voice to capital and profit threatens the abilities of government, and if all individuals of whatever aspiration may still find full voice in a democracy, then it is best not to allow capital and profit unfettered political agency.

  70. But some people define it a certain way, special interests to a progressives are groups that don’t agree with the. Note the progressives use of language around their agenda. Paternalism, speaking “for the people,” a few weeks ago the “peoples trial.”

    To Tim a special interest is an interest that doesn’t agree with him, so the majority of lobbyists and shouters are not special interests by his definition.

  71. Everyone involved in lobbying is a special interest.

    If someone asked me in a poll if special interests had to much influence on local government I would say yes. If they asked me to be specific, public employee unions that don’t have to register as lobbyists, the bike gang, etc..

  72. Tax evasion is illegal. What Exxon does is to do what we all go – legally structure our affairs to minimize our tax liability.

    And anyway, corporate taxes are ultimately paid by you and I anyway.

  73. If trying to influence the political process is wrong, then let’s stop all forms of influence, and not just lobbying by one specific group.

    Why is it OK to take “direct action” but not OK to fund lobbyists?

    Why is it OK for the left to fund signature gathering but not OK for the right to fund TV ads?

  74. Most voters probably take “special interests” to mean those that have the money to buy extra influence in City Hall, or the Legislature, or Congress. The term’s been around forever and covers activities by both sides of the political aisle. Trying to dress up influence buying as a legitimate activity is a fruitless endeavor.

  75. I do not feel enriched by a corporation that evades paying their fair share of taxes in the US, that lobbies congress to pollute, that until this year discriminated against its LGBT employees.

    Am I dependent upon petro-industry companies? Yes. Do I feel enriched by them? No.

    Each year, I use fewer petro-industry resources than the previous year.

  76. 6) Never eat locally grown organic food that was harvested with a tractor and was brought to the farmer’s market in a pickup truck.

  77. If you do not feel enriched by Exxon then you must:

    1) Not work for them, or their customers or suppliers, or have a friend or family member who does
    2) Never buy gas or use a vehicle that does
    3) Never get deliveries by a service that uses gas
    4) Never use transit or fly to Barcelona
    5) Have no IRA or 401K or other pension provision

    See the problem here? You benefit from Exxon in all kinds of way, even while you claim to hate them.

    It’s fashionable to hate on business, but few who do have thought to how much they benefit from them. It was 100 years ago that the saying was coined: “The business of America is business”

  78. Why do you wish to give less voice to those who aspire to build financial security through their own efforts?

    But give a full voice to those who wish to confiscate their prosperity?

  79. The assertion that political affiliation is ephemeral is false.

    As noted, corporations as a rule operate for profit. Allowing for-profit entities entry into politics threatens the abilities of government to regulate, to provide public goods and to provide private goods where useful or necessary.

    People remain free to join political parties, advocacy organizations and other not-for-profit entities to aggregate their voices in the political process.

  80. The left wants unions, non-profits and leftist advocacy groups to have a free rein to influence policy.

    They just don’t want any entity that creates wealth and prosperity to have any say.

    Full rights to those who wish to confiscate wealth, and no rights to those who wish to create wealth.

  81. “I cannot think of another entity that has such broad and deep support by the people. Corporations are voluntary aggregations of people for mutual profit. Why would we ever wish to exclude them from a voice about what affects them?”

    You are really scaring me. I saw “Going Clear” last night and what you wrote could have been written by L. Ron Hubbard.

    To answer your question, I have to correct your implicit generalization that corporations are benevolent entities and that they exist for mutual profit. Maybe some do, but most corporations exist to enrich very few at the expense of others. I do not feel enriched by Exon, especially when they lobby congress for the right to pollute, the right to not pay taxes and the right to raise prices whenever they want.

  82. Agreed Also the word “special” there is prejudicial. It loads the question by assuming that we all agree about which interests are “special” (implication – bad) and which interests are legitimate.

    It’s like asking how many disapprove of immoral acts.

  83. Affiliations to political parties are ephemeral and sparse. The vast majority of Americans do not join a political party, although they may register to vote as one.

    But there are very few Americans who neither work for a corporate entity, nor buy the products and services of one, nor invest in them directly or indirectly.

    I cannot think of another entity that has such broad and deep support by the people. Corporations are voluntary aggregations of people for mutual profit. Why would we ever wish to exclude them from a voice about what affects them?

  84. @sffoghorn absolutely not !! What crystal ball did you use to come to that realization ?
    My posting was about when Tim you or I write and post something it does not make it true. Proof please.

  85. More Americans look to businesses to meet their hopes, dreams and aspirations than any other single entity.

    Corporations are simply aggregates of aspirational people who seek a common goal.

  86. @sffoghorn absolutely not !! What crystal ball did you use to come to that realization ?
    My posting was about when Tim you or I write and post something it does not make it true. Proof please.

  87. “and that could be a serious issue for the mayor if anyone were to challenge him for re-election.” Ed Lee’s accountability to PG&E has trumped his accountability to Community Choice Aggregation/CleanPowerSF. Ed Lee’s accountability to Airbnb has trumped his accountability to affordable housing for neighbors throughout the city. I am running to challenge Ed Lee for re-election and I am accountable to neighbors, neighborhoods, a thriving eco-system, and a livable SF, not to any special interests. Learn more and help me prove that local democracy isn’t (always) for sale: yimbyformayor.com

  88. “Corporations are passthrough vehicles. They represent the aggregated interests of all of us who work for them. . .”

    Scientology? Apple? Which cult do you work for?

  89. “A full 65 percent say special interests have too much influence over local government”

    Is this all directed at special interests that progressives don’t like? I would guess that a fair amount dislike of special interest are those special interests, Avalos, Campos and Mar shill for.

    The ethics commission is a laugh, some of the cities biggest lobbyists don’t register.

  90. Corporations are passthrough vehicles. They represent the aggregated interests of all of us who work for them, buy their products or services, and rely on their profits to fund our retirement.

    As such, their interests intersect with ours. And their taxes are paid by us individuals.

    My preference is to exclude no interested party from the table.

  91. Individuals are always free to contribute. Corporations get to write political activities off of their taxes unlike flesh and blood humans. You want to tax individuals while allowing corporations to skate free.

  92. I think I will trust the SCOTUS interpretation of the constitution over that of someone who overtly seeks to exclude affected parties from having a voice.

  93. Because had the framers intended for popular sovereignty to include corporations, they would have explicitly enumerated provisions as such.

    Clearly you hate Americans. Americans oppose Citizens United and unlimited corporate campaign spending:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/17/AR2010021701151.html

    Eight in 10 poll respondents say they oppose the high court’s Jan. 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending, with 65 percent “strongly” opposed. Nearly as many backed congressional action to curb the ruling, with 72 percent in favor of reinstating limits.

  94. No, I simply seek to broaden the scope of who can influence local decision-making to include all entities and persons affected by it.

    Why do you hate democracy? Why do you seek to silence some voices?

  95. You clearly did not read the piece, nor did you understand that polling called for disclosure and bans where the nexus of corruption is evident.

    Clearly you hold San Franciscans and all flesh and blood persons in contempt, the only real persons to your mind are corporate persons.

  96. Google the difference between contributions and corruption.

    The former is legal; the latter, not.

    SCOTUS made that very clear.

  97. The Supreme Court also left open preventing the direct appearance of corruption as a vector to limit campaign contributions. Didn’t you know?

  98. Campaign contribution issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Corruption in city government is endemic, notably in the Department of Building Instruction (DBI). The DBI has an old-boys network, just like the cops. They protect their own. Campaign reform won’t solve the problems in such city departments.

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