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Drive Seeks $25 Limit on Campaign Contributions


Glendale resident Gareth Neumann is hoping to change the state's political campaign and election process by getting a reform initiative he authored approved by voters next November. Neumann needs to gather nearly 400,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

The initiative, titled "Candidates. Campaign Finances. Gifts," would amend a section of the California Political Reform Act by limiting campaign contributions from any source to $25. In addition, it would require all contributions to be spent on campaign expenses and that any surplus funds after the election be transferred to the state to reduce public bond indebtedness.

The measure also would amend a section of the state Elections Code to require elected officials to resign their current positions before filing nomination papers to run for a different elected office.

This initiative is Neumann's first political endeavor. He is the chief executive officer and founder of Automotive Performance Systems, a retailer and manufacturer of automotive parts in Anaheim.

Neumann said the measure he wrote occurred to him during the federal and state elections in November, 1988.

"I felt the candidates were spending too much on a campaign," said Neumann. "The whole thing has really gotten out of hand."

Neumann must gather 372,178 signatures by May 14 to qualify the petition for the November ballot. He said he has not decided on a strategy for gathering the signatures, but hopes to enlist the advice and support of others who have experience with the process.

Neumann said he hopes that the initiative will also personalize and equalize the political campaign and election process.

"They're going to have to rely on going to people personally, as opposed to allowing large contributions for PR and television," Neumann said. "This will also make it easier for people who want to run for office but are at a disadvantage to someone who is already in office and has millions."

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