Move To Amend Salt Lake has been keeping up the pressure on the Salt Lake City Council to take decisive steps toward limiting the power of corporations in local government. A large group attended the January 21st council meeting, but we need more people to email/phone their city council representative (and mayor) ASAP. Currently, Council staff is researching our proposals, but not all council members are supportive. They need to hear from you, their constituents, to demand that they take action and make corporate power a policy priority for 2014. Three talking points to consider:
1. Mandate for action - Move to Amend Salt Lake - with your help - collected over 11,000 signatures to get on the November 2012 ballot, in the course of 6 short weeks. Despite the legal setbacks that created the new Opinion Question process, we won an astounding 88% support in September 2013, with the participation rate exceeding the council election that year and the mayoral 2011 race. The council should take this issue seriously.
2. Corporations aren't people, and direct corporate contributions to candidates should be banned - In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can make as many independent expenditures as they wish. However, the century-old federal, ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates, still stands, as well as the bans and restrictions in 46 states. Salt Lake City (and Utah) has NO such restrictions, and treat corporations and real people equally. In light of the recent Opinion Question results, that must change. Think that corporate electioneering is not an issue in Salt Lake City? Think again: in the 2011 mayoral race, 1/3 of all donations above $500, and 1/2 of all donations above $1500 came directly from corporations, according to city records. This would be illegal on the federal level.
3. Money isn't speech, and individual contribution limits to candidates should be reduced - Currently, we are limited to contributing $7500 to mayoral races and $1500 to council races. Limits of such heights are no limits at all (compare them to the individual contribution limits of just $2500 for statewide federal races). To increase the accountability of city officials to constituents, not contributors, these limits should be reduced to levels common throughout the United States: $1000 for mayoral races and $500 for city council races.
You can use the map at slccouncil.com/contact/ to find exactly who your council person is, but generally the following categories apply:
District 1 (Rose Park) - James Rogers
james.rogers [at] slcgov.com
District 2 (Glendale) - Kyle LaMalfa
kyle.lamalfa [at] slcgov.com
District 3 (Avenues and Marmalade) - Stan Penfold
stan.penfold [at] slcgov.com
District 4 (Downtown and Central City) - Luke Garrott
luke.garrott [at] slcgov.com
District 5 (Liberty Wells) - Erin Mendenhall
erin.mendenhall [at] slcgov.com
District 6 (University and Foothill) - Charlie Luke
charlie.luke [at] slcgov.com
District 7 (South Sugarhouse) - Lisa Adams
lisa.adams [at] slcgov.com
Mayor Becker (The whole dang city)
mayor [at] slcgov.com
Move to Amend Salt Lake believes that these are the low-hanging fruit in the local context, and just the beginning. We've also proposed creating a publicly funded election process, as well as establishing additional avenues for public participation, such as people's assemblies. Together, we can win a real victory in Salt Lake City, and within the state of Utah.