Plan Is Model For Ethics Reform Statewide
Santa Monica, CA — A measure to strengthen a grassroots Pasadena initiative that bans kickbacks in city contracting cleared its final hurdle last night when the Pasadena city council voted to place it on the November 2006 ballot.
The proposal would amend a conflict of interest law approved by 60% of Pasadena voters in 2001 that bars politicians from taking campaign cash, gifts or jobs from companies they award city business or grant other public benefits.
“The measure headed to the ballot will strengthen Pasadena’s anti-kickback laws and serve as a model reform for every California city looking to eliminate corruption in local government,” said Carmen Balber, a consumer advocate with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), sponsors of the 2001 initiative.
The same anti-corruption law was approved by voters in the city of Santa Monica, where the Santa Monica council will consider amendments to the measure tonight. Unlike the actions taken by the city of Pasadena to strengthen voter confidence in government, the Santa Monica plan would eliminate its anti-kickback protections. FTCR opposes the Santa Monica plan and has recommended the city use Pasadena’s action as a basis for any change. Click here to read FTCR’s letter to the Santa Monica city council.
The recommendations approved in Pasadena — made by a citizen task force chaired by former California attorney general John Van de Kamp — include an expansion of the initiative’s ban on kickbacks from public beneficiaries to create a blackout period for campaign contributions during the application process for city contracts, the placement of public benefit disclosures online, and restricting the law’s application to elections and actions within the city.
Placement of the measure on the ballot to strengthen Pasadena’s anti-corruption law marks the end of a five-year effort by that city’s council to overturn the grassroots reform.
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