March 12th, 2019
Contact Council Members BEvins and jones now!
Yesterday, Baltimore County Council Members Cathy Bevins and Julian Jones both made identical posts on their social media pages asking for input on the bill that would allow creation for a public election fund for Baltimore County. (Bevins was on her personal page which was screenshot and shared into local groups. Jones was public.) Read the full bill here. We are 100% in support of the county creating a public election fund. It's our #1 realistic solution to fighting big money in politics, and we believe these posts were written to mis-lead the public with the intention of stopping this program before it can get started. Below are explanation of how they mis-lead the public and steps we need YOU to take in order to save the fund!
Mis-lead #1: "Should the county spend approx. $4M on a public election fund, or should they spend it on schools, etc."
There is currently nothing stopping the county from spending money to improve schools, roads, parks, police or the fire department. The money exists. If the council members wanted to prioritize these things, they could. Instead, they work to give million dollar tax breaks to developers. Read more here. Additionally, a bill was introduced in 2018 to give fire fighters a break on their property taxes, but was defeated in 4-3 along party lines (all R's voted for it, all D's voted against it.) Read more here. If the council is concerned about Fire Fighters and the Fire Department, they haven't shown it in the past.
Mis-lead #2: "I do not support giving tax dollars to candidates."
This is a gross over-simplification of a robust and voter-centered solution to the problem of big money in politics. Every one of the dozens of jurisdiction across the country that have enacted public election funds require that an applying candidate meets a certain threshold of viability before receiving matching funds. Montgomery County created a program in 2014 which went into effect for the 2018 election. Of the over 3 dozen candidates who applied, less than 20 qualified. And all 4 at-large council seat winners used the fund. The county had dedicated $11M to the fund, and at our last check, they only used about $4M. That $4M ensured that at least four members of the council have no financial connections to businesses or developers. All 4 of those candidates had to canvass and campaign across their jurisdiction in order to receive enough small, individual donations to qualify for matching funds, and in the process they met their future constituents in-person and listened to them talk about the real issues they face.
Compare that to Ms. Bevins and Mr. Jones. From 2010 until now, Ms. Bevins has raised over a half a million dollars - $508,214.78 -from businesses and lobbyists, with an average donation of over $800. From individuals? She's only received 552 donations, with an average amount of $265, totaling $146,457.95.
Of course Ms. Bevins does not want a public option for candidates in her county. She is already getting more than enough money to successfully win her campaigns from her business and lobbyist supporters. If a challenger used the fund, voters might decide to elect a representative who represents them, not Kingston Realty LLC, Franklin and Reisterstown LLC, Northridge Limited Partnership, and Dulaney Venture, LLC. See her full campaign finance report here.
Mr. Jones started his career in 2006 by taking mostly individual donations, ranging from $2 to $400, with an average of $100. It wasn't until 2014 that he regularly started receiving donations from businesses, lobbyists and PACs. Since then he has accepted over 100 donations from non-individuals, totaling over $103k. Some donors include: GGCV Real Estate, LLC, GGCV Energy LLC, Red Run Ventures, LLC, and again Dulaney Venture, LLC. See his full campaign finance report here.
Additionally, Mr. Jones has stated on his personal campaign website the following:
"I can not do it without your help and support, so please join me in my quest to make our community great. My goal is to make our community a desirable place to live because of the great schools, great places to eat and shop and the piece of mind of having a safe neighborhood. So if you want to join me please:
1) Vote for me. I need your vote and will not let you down.
2) Tell your neighbors, friends and family to vote for me.
3) Make a contribution to my campaign, no matter how small. I need it to spread my message.
4) Join the campaign."
(Emphasis added. View on his site here.)
Mr. Jones talks about the value of small dollar donations for his own campaign, and yet it appears he is scared to enact a program to help candidates without access to large donors, just like he was when he first ran. We believe this attempt to mis-lead the public is just plain selfish.
Mis-Lead #3: "I do not support giving pubic tax dollars to candidates; I think it is not an appropriate use of funds."
We appreciate the honesty of both Ms. Bevins and Mr. Jones. However, the decision on whether to "give public tax dollars to candidates" is not theirs to make. The bill before the council is a charter amendment. All charter amendments must go to the voters to let them decide on whether this is a good use of public funds. We believe most will. To obstruct this solution, that has been enacted in dozens of jurisdictions across the country, and in Montgomery, Howard, Prince George's Counties and Baltimore City, is undemocratic.
How to protect the fund.
1) Sign our petition to bring a public election fund to Baltimore County.
2) Share the our Facebook post with your friends and followers, so we can grow this movement.
3)Contact ALL members of the Baltimore County Council now, and tell them to let the voters decide on whether this is a good solution for Baltimore County, by voting in favor of bill 3-19!
Call and email-
Tom Quirck-District 1
We believe Mr. Quirk IS NOT in support of the fund. Tell him to vote in favor of it on March 18th!
Izzy Patoka-District 2
We do not know whether Mr. Patoka supports the fund or not. Tell him voters want the change to decide for themselves and to vote in favor of bill 3-19 on March 19th!
Wade Kach-District 3
We believe Mr. Kach IS in favor of the fund. Thank him for the support!
Julian E. Jones-District 4
We know Mr. Jones is against creating the fund. Contact him now and tell him to live up to the word on his website, and empower candidates who take small donations only and to vote in favor of bill 3-19 on March 18th!
David Marks-District 5
We believe Mr. Marks IS in favor of the fund. Thank him for the support!
Cathy Bevins-District 6
We know Ms. Bevins does NOT support the fund. Tell her not to stand in the way of democracy, and to vote in favor of bill 3-19 on March 18th, so that voters can decide what is best for them!
Todd K. Crandell
We believe Mr. Crandell is NOT in favor of the fund. Contact him now and tell him to vote in favor of bill 3-19 on March 18th, and to let the voters decide!
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