Mountain View Voice

News - October 19, 2012

Community Briefs

New campaign spending law

A state Assembly bill now signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown will go into effect in January 2013, requiring more transparency by independent expenditure committees that fund ads for candidates and measures, especially local ones.

The Assembly bill 481 was sponsored by State Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, and was passed by a two-thirds state Assembly majority.

"It is critical for our democracy that people understand who is supporting campaigns," Gordon said at a press conference in Sacramento Monday.

The bill requires more record keeping of independent expenditures made on the behalf of candidates or measures in local elections. It also requires that each independent expenditure committee have a principal officer, someone to take responsibility for the committee's actions even if it is disbanded soon after an election, according to Gordon's office. Further, it requires that independent expenditure committees and donors verify that they have used their own funds for the ads.

AB 481 requires that ads paid for by independent expenditure committees and donors who give $50,000 or more disclose themselves within the ad. While current law already requires such disclosure for broadcast and mail ads, it does not yet apply to print ads or billboards, Gordon's office said.

Area code overlay

The California Public Utilities Commission is reminding South Bay residents that they will have to dial area codes for local calls beginning Saturday.

The change will affect residents of Santa Clara County and parts of Alameda and Santa Cruz counties in the 408 area code, and is occurring because a new 669 area code is being added to the region.

CPUC spokesman Christopher Chow said that if the South Bay did not add another area code, the region would run out of new numbers by January.

"People are gobbling up numbers," Chow said.

To address the problem, the CPUC had two options: cut the geographic 408 area into two parts, forcing some residents to switch area codes, or assign the 669 area code to new numbers, meaning both area codes would exist in the same geographic area. The agency chose the latter option.

The downside is that all residents in the 408 region will now have to dial a "1" then the area code to make local calls. Those using cellphones won't have to dial the "1".

Phone companies will still charge the calls as local calls, Chow

said.

The 408 area code has existed since 1959, according to the CPUC. Prior to that, the South Bay was part of the 415 area code until the region was split up because of growing demand for numbers, CPUC officials said.

The decision to add the 669 area code was made by the CPUC in October 2011.

—Bay City News Service

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