Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So, about that ethics reform measure...

Inquirer columnist Chris Satullo exhorts Philadelphians to start a revolution by going to the polls on November 8 and voting yes on the Home Rule Charter ballot measure.
Through this five-minute act, you'll activate a significant reform of the squalid, pay-to-play culture of city government. Even more important, you'll send the political class in town a message its members try very hard not to hear.

The message is the same one Howard Beale urged TV watchers to howl out their windows in the film Network: "We're as mad as hell, and we're not going to take it any more."
The bill it enables will help squash the quid-pro-quo culture of government contracting, but it also puts politicians in general on notice that we're interested in more than bread & butter issues -- that we demand better government. Today's column also builds on the Sunday Inquirer editorial saying we've had enough trials and indictments of government officials, and it's time for reform. This is also a call to vote Yes on the ballot measure.
The law bars businesses, including officers, partners and related political action committees, from receiving no-bid city contracts valued at $25,000 or more - if they have donated more than $10,000 annually to city candidates or elected officials. Individuals would be barred from getting no-bid deals if they'd contributed more than $2,500 annually.

That reform is aimed directly at the pay-to-pay culture whereby businesses and individuals spread campaign cash around liberally, exploiting the city's Wild West campaign-finance atmosphere, then get the money refunded (and then some) by obtaining lush city contracts.

This ethics reform would also put in place extensive disclosure requirements for all players in the process. Sunlight is one way to disinfect a corrupt process.
If you need any further convincing, Philadelphia's political watchdog, The Committee of Seventy, also advocates a yes vote, and a constellation of local groups have joined their effort. Mark your calendars for November 8, and if you do nothing else, say yes to this measure!check the box!

(We'll offer our thoughts on judges and other races as the date draws a bit closer...)



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