Turlock's recently adopted Soiseth-DeHart campaign finance reform resolution is poorly conceived and was recklessly and hastily adopted. It is another example of legislation alleged to solve a problem that will actually only make things worse, as was the case with the "no longer downtown" farmers market debacle.
Voluntary pledges of compliance, with no enforcement provisions and that can be changed or withdrawn at any time, is a standard that is meaningless and is worse than no standard at all. It substitutes appearances over substance, and photo opportunities and media attention for meaningful reform.
The specific provisions are also meaningless, and in some instances ridiculous: the new threshold of $1 for reporting contributions. Or the farcical top 10 list of donors, that is in random order and has no donor amounts listed, which is now attached to every Council agenda. The example of Mayor Soiseth's list, by way of example, had errors and mistakes that were simply stunning.
This is theatrics and non-enforceable standards attempting to address the real problem in recent Turlock politics of wealthy contributors influencing important local decisions with large donations.
Council members cannot be forced to "do the right thing" by passing laws, and behavior cannot be controlled by ordinances, resolutions or voluntary pledges. We should focus less on changing or writing new laws and ordinances, and look more to electing Council members who will listen to their constituents and do what is right for the community as a whole over what serves the individual political agenda.
Reelecting Steven Nascimento in the new northwest Council District 4 will be a step in the direction of restoring integrity to the Turlock City Council. Electing Gil Esquer in the new westside District 2 will bring another independent and community focused vote to the Turlock City Council.
The solutions to our problem in Turlock can begin with the election this November.
— Brad Bates