Grindle is right – but Tin Cup needs other changes too

The Register published an article this week about campaign finance reform activist Shirley Grindle’s latest effort – which is to amend her Tin Cup campaign finance ordinance to prevent “candidates running for county office can only use money raised specifically for a local race.” Grindle also wants to establish a county ethics commission to help enforce the Tin Cup provisions.

Predictably Jubal/Cunningham, over at Red County/OC Blog, ripped Grindle’s plan. Here is part of what he had to say about her latest announcement, “Does it ever occur to Shirley it his her TIN CUP contribution limits that put the local candidate at a disadvantage? If it does, it is a truth she’s not prepared to face, because her fail-safe response is to advocate even more stringent restrictions on our political free speech.”

I don’t have a problem with Grindle’s proposals – candidates should not be playing shell games with campaign accounts. If they raise money for a legislative race and don’t use it, they should have to give it back to the donors. As for the ethics commission, that is truly needed as our County District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, does not enforce Tin Cup. He is afraid to go after his political cronies. Instead he refers the matters, if at all, to the State Attorney General. Not good! We need local enforcement.

However, Grindle also needs to give a little, if indeed she wants the Supervisors to make these changes and put the revised ordinance on the ballot. For one thing, we need to raise the Tin Cup contribution limits to at least $2,500. We also need to index the limits to inflation. If she is unwilling to compromise, then let her get the signatures and put the measure on the ballot herself.

I spent some time with Grindle while Tim Whitacre was trying to establish his own ethics committee, and while she is a great historian and her heart is in the right place, she is terribly difficult to work with. She is arrogant and sometimes unable to see the consequences of her actions. But she is right more often than not, and we will have to see if she is willing to water down her Tin Cup in order to get the changes she wants. I won’t be holding my breath!

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.