Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh OK, One Other Thing Before I Go On Vacation ...

Sheriff Greg Solano, running for lieutenant governor, just released a statement on ethics.

He's for 'em.

Some of his ideas like an independent ethics commission have been debated for years now and the idea of having a Secretary of State's Web site that actually works is sheer fantasy on the level of Tolkien. (If that was really possible they'd have already done that by now, right?)

But there's some other ideas such as having public financing specifically for attorney general and state auditor are new. Solano also wants a "Department of Webcasting." A new "department" is probably a little far-fetched, but having one central state agency in charge of that is certainly worth discussing.

Here's Solano's list:


* Creation of an independent ethics commission. The commission should be bipartisan and include citizens and members of all three branches of State Government.

* The State Auditor and Attorney General should continue to be elected positions however their campaigns should be publicly financed in order to remove any appearance of impropriety or pay to play allegations. Their offices need to be adequately funded in order investigate and audit all cases of importance that come to their offices.

* The Secretary of States Office needs adequate funding and Technology assistance in order to have complete and easy access to campaign finance reports. The system needs to be easy to use for both candidates and the public.

* The State should have a department of web casting which would be entrusted with getting as many government meetings and press conferences broadcast on the web as possible. or something similar should be created to ensure a one stop shop to find such web casts.

* I also believe political office is a full time job regardless of the position and should be compensated as such. I believe we will attract some who just want to serve and would not be able to afford to do so. This could also provide honest competition for those who just have ulterior motives and those who want to use politics as a stepping stone to big lobby jobs and other high paying positions. The common man or woman who has the knowledge, honesty, wherewithal and ability to run for office should not have to choose between a full time job to support his or her family and serving the public in an elected position.

* Finally transparency and open government has to be the policy and practice from the top down. Those who do not follow that policy should be disciplined or removed. Only then will this be adhered to by all state government. The Governor and Lt. Governor need to set the example.