Vote for Measure R to restore integrity

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’By allowing City Council members to serve an additional four years, Measure R would give elected officials more time to make a difference and an opportunity to tackle the big issues. Measure R would also amend the City Charter to create powerful restrictions on lobbyists and bring an end to special interests’ access to City Hall. These restrictions include prohibiting free gifts to elected officials, tightening controls on campaign contributions and imposing tough reforms on contract bidders. In addition, Measure R would ban lobbyists from being appointed to any city board or commission. By passing Measure R, voters will ensure that lobbyists will no longer be able to “buy votes” at City Hall. Measure R would stop special-interest groups from influencing city officials by toughening disclosure rules for millions of dollars of independent expenditures made in elections and requiring greater disclosure by candidates in all political advertisements. It would also increase restrictions on former elected officials’ ability to lobby the city after leaving government service, and require current officials, their staffs, and city commissioners to attend mandatory ethics training. A vote for Measure R is an opportunity to rein in the special-interest groups and bring an end to the “pay to play” era at City Hall. IN 1993, as a mayoral candidate, I urged residents of Los Angeles to support term limits for all citywide elected officials. I was right then – about the need to eliminate career politicians in city government by creating a fixed term of service. And I am right again today, when I urge you to support Measure R to extend City Council service from two to three terms and reform ethics rules to bring integrity back to City Hall. Term limits remain essential to a healthy government. They prevent politicians from getting too comfortable. They enforce accountability, and require elected officials to deliver on their promises. However, the two-term limit at City Hall has created a high-speed revolving door, eliminating institutional knowledge and the historical perspective integral to tackling complex civic problems. Currently, the longest-serving member of the council has been there only seven years. Seven other members are due to be forced out of office in 2009, and five more in 2011. Today’s eight-year limit discourages long-term government commitment to major city problems such as tackling traffic congestion or increasing public safety. Elected officials are reluctant to invest their time and resources into ongoing projects that they will never see completed or consider a political risk. The constant changing of council leadership, focus and priorities results in the abandonment of citywide efforts and district-specific projects. Ethics reform at City Hall is long overdue, and Measure R is the answer. Extending term limits combined with increased restrictions on lobbyists and campaign contributions would protect City Council members from the influence of special interests and afford them the time to do their jobs ethically and effectively. I urge you to vote yes for Measure R on Nov. 7. Bring integrity back to City Hall. Richard Riordan is a former mayor of Los Angeles.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more