By Steven Tavares
"It is important to allow everyone the right to participate and support the candidate of their choice which I believe this ordinance does," Haggerty wrote in a memo to the county supervisors. "It also attempts to prevent a person or committee from having undue influence in a County election."
The provision is, without a doubt, pointed towards today's District 2 election, which features nearly $2 million in fundraising dollars by the favorite, Nadia Lockyer, by way of her husband, Bill Lockyer's campaign for re-election as state treasurer. There is currently no rules or limits on campaign fundraising for county office.
The proposal was introduced by Haggerty during today's board of supervisors meeting in Oakland and timed to influence voters as they chose between Lockyer and former state Sen. Liz Figueroa. Many believe the race has tightened up during the past month, led in part, to growing disenchantment with the unheard of amount of fundraising flowing towards Lockyer's campaign. In contrast, Figueroa has raised a total of over $90,000 during the entire campaign. Lockyer pulled in another $110,000 in late contributions just last week from her husband's campaign coffers. The large transfers of funds led the current holder of the seat, Gail Steele, to endorse Figueroa, in addition to noted Hayward activist Sherman Lewis sharply criticizing the Lockyers and their alleged excessive use of political and financial firepower on the area.
The proposal would set a limit of $20,000 in contributions per election by controlled committees, a person or entity. It also specifically limits transfers from political campaigns to the same amount. The provision, though, would not limit the use of personal funds. While the impetus for the proposal stems from Lockyer's campaign haul, it is no secret the proposal will also inure one of the current board members from one day losing their seat to a well-connected challenger.