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Issue date: April 28, 2000

Council approves campaign spending limits Council approves campaign spending limits (April 28, 2000)

Voluntary $15,000 cap adopted

By Karen Willemsen

This November city council hopefuls will have the opportunity to prove they can run an election campaign for $15,000 or less. At its regular meeting Tuesday the city council unanimously passed a resolution approving the voluntary campaign spending limit for council candidates.

Drafted by the council's Policy and Procedures Committee, the resolution does not directly address campaign contributions, but speaks instead to the issue of total expenditures.

Council member Michael Kasperzak made the motion to adopt the resolution.

In 1999, as a first-time candidate, Kasperzak floated a proposal for voluntary spending limits of $7000. The council chose a limit of $15,000 instead, after studying how much individuals had spent in the past four city council campaigns. Those figures ranged from a low of $351.25 to a high of $39,750.26.

Noting that incumbents have an advantage, council member Ralph Faravelli commented that a ceiling "will level the playing field."

Mayor Rosemary Stasek convinced her colleagues to remove a requirement that candidates disclose whether they had adopted the voluntary limit in their official ballot statements. "That's for the candidate to put in whatever they'd like," she argued.

Mountain View resident Gary Wesley chastised the council for adopting a policy he says would give incumbents an unfair advantage.

"Just because the public perceives, imagines, hallucinates, that things are going well in city government," doesn't make it so, Wesley said.

Wesley also argued that the council gets a great deal of free publicity via Channel 26's broadcasts of the council meetings.

He further asserted that the Voice's coverage of city council affairs conveys a pro-council bias, further leveraging incumbents' advantage over newer candidates.


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