I hope to see you at the Capitol rally Monday, 12/18 starting
around noon to support election reforms. As you attend the rally,
keep in mind how much more likely reforms would be if the
CalPERS Board used its $1880 billion worth of influence as a
"universal owner" of corporations to further campaign voting and
Election Reforms and CalPERS
There were many problems with the last election. It is unlikely
that we can get rid of the Electoral College system. However, we
probably can reform rules, which:
* Allow a candidate that is not preferred by the majority to win.
* Forces many to vote for the lesser of two evils because they
don't think a third party candidate can win.
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) ensures the winner is preferred by the
majority of voters and it kills the wasted vote syndrome. See
on the Internet.
Under IRV, voters rank candidates (1, 2, 3
). If no candidate
receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first-choice
votes is eliminated and their votes are transferred to the
second choices. This process continues, until a candidate gets
Campaign finance reform is also important and public
employees can bring pressure on their $180 billion California
Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) to file
corporate resolutions supporting campaign finance reform and
limiting corporate contributions.
Recently, some of us tried to get CalPERS to adopt IRV in its
own elections. After a controversial election, with almost as
many flaws as the Florida vote count, the Board admitted
reforms were needed. However, instead of making them fairer,
they proposed the opposite. In fact, a Sacramento Bee editorial
said their proposed reforms "risk creation of a permanent board:
unaccountable, untouchable and isolated from the people who
After more than a year and a half of letter writing and testifying,
* Staff will no longer be able to use their official position to
influence the election outcome.
* Candidates will have more space on the ballot to explain their
positions on the issues.
* Staff whose salaries are dependent on Board incumbents will
no longer decide election disputes.
* Run-offs will be required whenever no candidate receives a
majority of the vote. (members would be "too confused" by IRV,
so the Board will spend an extra $1 million on run-offs
that could have been used to provide service to members and
The first incumbent to run under the new rules will be Charles
Valdes, Board member since 1984. For many years he was
effective but recently over twenty members of the Legislature
called for his resignation. We need cooperation between the
Board, Legislature, and Governor. We need a change.
If you are interested continuing reforms at CalPERS and using
their influence to help reform the national election process,
please e-mail me at jm@...
or call me 327-1194
(work) or 452-5338 (home).