While I don’t agree with the specific policy changes endorsed by Laura Capps’ plan to reform campaign contribution spending rules in Santa Barbara County, I agree with her assertion that current rules encourage political corruption. Das Williams exemplifies the broken campaign finance system we have.
In one of many examples of conflict of interest, as reported by Jerry Roberts in the August 12 edition of the Santa Barbara Independent, Das Williams accepted over $30,000 in donations from cannabis growers while he was responsible for writing the regulations for cannabis cultivation. When the cannabis industry generated $6.7 million last year, $1.3 million more in tax revenue than the county supervisors had initially budgeted, Das Williams felt entitled to spend the surplus immediately.
All four of his colleagues, including fellow Democrats Gregg Hart and Joan Hartmann, refused to indulge Das Williams’s desired spending spree outside of the annual budget deliberations which don’t begin until April 2020. The discourse became so heated Chair Steve Lavagnino had to call for a “time out” when Das Williams became unhinged.
I am inspired to see Laura Capps speaking truth to power in her own party. All good people, no matter of party affiliation, agree the government exists to serve the people, not the politicians they elect.
Laura Capps has initiated an honest conversation about the appearance of quid pro quo corruption exhibited by career politicians. Addressing the abuse of campaign contribution spending rules is a courageous step in the right direction.
Thank you, Laura!