Local & State Campaign Reform Efforts

At the request of the Chapel Hill Town Council, Sen. Ellie Kinnaird has introduced a bill to allow Chapel Hill to sponsor a public financing program for its local elections, using local resources. The bill is SB 418 "CHAPEL HILL CAMPAIGN FINANCE OPTIONS." Apparently, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen have also asked for such a bill, which she will also be introducing. Needless to say, the Home-Builders-Etc. will fight these bills even though they are local bills. I hope folks will support these local efforts to create proactive solutions to the money in politics dilemma.

In other public financing news, Democracy North Carolina has launched a new website and petition in the wake of the recent Jim Black scandal: http://CleanUpRaleigh.com

Democracy North Carolina, currently based in Carrboro, but soon to be based in Durham (perhaps we can talk about the issue of affordable space for Orange County non-profits in another post) has been calling for public financing of campaigns or "Voter-Owned Elections" for years.

The continuing saga of former NC Speaker Jim Black is only the latest example of a rotten campaign finance system. This is the year to expand public financing to Council of State races, begin a public financing pilot program for a few legislative districts, and even give permission to a locality or two (Chapel Hill & Carrboro) to experiment with their own local campaign reform systems.

Why Council of State races? Here's one example from Wednesday's Charlotte Observer 2/28/07:

[(State Treasurer Richard) Moore, a Democrat, has raised... -- about $736,000 -- from people tied to companies that have contracts with Moore's office to manage the $70 billion state pension fund. Almost half of the companies with those contracts have employed people who gave to Moore, according to an Observer story published Sunday.]

This is NOT to say that Moore's a dirty politician on the take, but let's be honest, this is no way to run a democracy. We need to give candidates for Council of State offices, legislative seats, and even local races a public financing option -- IF they qualify by raising small donations from voters first. It's working for NC Appellate Court Seats and it's working in Maine & Arizona and cities like Albuquerque and Portland, OR.

Please help by signing the petition, supporting local public financing, and spreading the word to others across the state.



Any word on which side of this the Chamber of Commerce will come down on?

I wrote a column about public financing in Chapel Hill last year for the DTH. Maybe it's time to see if the N&O will run an updated rewrite.

You can keep up with NC 2007 legislation filed that MENTIONS Carrboro at:
(reminder, the bil could be just adding another city to some prior legislation that mentions Carrboro)

Orange County at:
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillSearch/BillSearch.asp?typeToSearch=AL... (same caveat)

Chapel Hill at
(includes mentions of UNC-CH)

A number of these bills deal with campaign finance


I do remember that good column you wrote about public financing in DTH. I think an update would be good, but perhaps it should wait until things to move along a bit first? There's sure be a ton of details for folks to help CH Council and Carrboro Aldermen work through regarding specifics of the system once we get to that point... long ways to go though. I know that Democracy NC's energy is really going to be sucked into Council of State VOE bill and legislative pilot bill plus Same Day Registration (looking promising by the way), but I want to help locally, especially in my hometown Carrboro.


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