As a candidate for Torrance City Council who did not seek or accept any special interest money, I had the smallest amount of money on hand to run a campaign, and as a result I had the smallest amount of votes. For money brings exposure and exposure delivers votes.
The costs of packaging and selling a candidate by political consultants via the mails is expensive, and unless one is affluent, one has to appeal to the special interests for their financial assistance. Please note that conventional wisdom used to be that it would take $10,000 to be considered a credible candidate. Once all the costs are in for 1994's City Council election, it will be demonstrated that it took up to $20,000 to run a credible campaign. Do the voters of Torrance know and want special interests influencing their civic leaders?
So, what is the solution? Campaign reform is a step in the right direction, but I will not hold my breath. One has to be realistic of taking away special interest influence, especially after their past support of some of the successful candidates. Further, do we want to restrict people's ability to give money away? The realistic solution is greater exposure of all candidates via our cable system. I offer the following considerations.