Editor’s Note: Council member Kevin McKeown was the sole vote against the proposal. Click on the link in the first sentence to read about the Council’s vote to introduce a fee for potential candidates for City office.
Nuisance fees enacted by the Santa Monica City Council regarding future candidate filings for local office discourage political participation and it’s up to voters to decide which candidates are worthy of support (Running for Office To Cost $25, 6-28-13).
Imposition of such fees is no different from a voter poll tax, which discouraged electoral participation based on race. This form of limiting ballot access is not the responsibility of sitting council members to determine the worthiness of any hopeful for public office. That’s why we have elections. It is the voter’s sole determination to judge the qualifications of any candidacy, especially in a system that is non-partisan in process.
Councilman Kevin McKeown’s assessment that elected officials should determine the validity of any candidate is a clear conflict of interest, as it will decrease the participation of candidates who lack the funds or special interest support to run a traditional campaign. Winning and losing of elections is the sole priority of embedded incumbents like Mr. McKeown, who views such efforts by unfunded community activists and gadflies as unnecessary voices in a political campaign!
For the problem with politics today is that money and special interest support is the sole basis of a winning or candidate deemed to have grass roots support.
Average citizens with little stake in the system have no voice and forcing candidates to jump through hoops created by incumbents will only limit the choices and size of any municipal ballot. For democracy is not expanded, but narrowed and marginalized once again to benefit incumbents and candidates with the most money, not the best ideas to move any municipality forward.
It disturbs me that Mr. McKeown wants to limit ballot access to everyone.
More importantly, his opinion as an elected official manipulating future candidate access to voters is just another cynical attempt to decrease electoral participation which only benefits incumbents seemingly not satisfied with the advantages of incumbency in a community that rarely makes sweeping changes at the polls. If Mr. McKeown was serious about true electoral reform, he would sponsor term limits so that Santa Monica’s local government is not controlled and operated by the same small group of politicos and insiders that currently dominate the political landscape.