If you were angered by the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision you were not alone. Pam Page and Dianne Lane represent the grassroots organization Money Out of Politics/San Diego. Working with Common Cause, the Sierra Club and other organizations, they began focusing on the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision. As a result, they founded this group as a committee of Women Occupy San Diego in November 2011. At this past Saturday’s monthly meeting, they relayed the status of the national resolution campaign to fight it, the victories and plans of their group, and discussed what we can do to help get a resolution endorsed by San Marcos City Council.
The only way to undo Citizens United is to get a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed, and this is a tall order. To pass an amendment, first it must be approved by two-thirds of each house of Congress, and then 3/4 of the states, or 38 states out of 50, must ratify it before it becomes law. This process is arduous and will take years and a great deal of effort to succeed.
Both the national group “Move to Amend” and our own local “Money Out of Politics” groups have adopted a tactic that has worked on many other issues – namely getting as many city councils and county boards of supervisors as possible to pass resolutions supporting just such an amendment. To date nationally, more than 500 cities have passed such a resolution, and in California approximately 50 cities and 5 County Boards of Supervisors have done the same. 16 state legislatures (32%) have also passed resolutions, and in just the last 4 months 5 states, Delaware, Maine, Illinois, West Virginia and Oregon have also come on board.
Now the focus for Pam and Diane and all the volunteers they are able to recruit are the city councils in San Diego and San Diego County. In February of 2012 they started with San Diego City itself. After discussions, lobbying and multiple meetings with all the city council members over the course of 9 months the resolution was unanimously passed. Although they thought it might be difficult to get the support of several of the council members early on it turned out that during their effort those same council members began to see the effects of “money in politics” in their own campaigns and quickly became supporters!
This year’s focus has been a simultaneous effort focused on the cities of Lemon Grove and Chula Vista. Lemon Grove passed it on a 3-2 majority split vote, while Chula Vista’s council voted unanimously to endorse a resolution. That makes a total of 3 cities in the county which have now passed a resolution supporting an amendment to overturn Citizens United.
Currently they are focusing on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. They have met with the staff of all supervisors except for Bill Horn who’s staff have so far refused to meet. Additionally they are working with members of the city councils of La Mesa, Encinitas and Coronado. Those efforts are moving along well and as a result Pam and Dianne are now starting to turn their sights towards North County. That’s where YOU come in! They would love to see the city of San Marcos pass a resolution as well. To do that they will need volunteers from San Marcos to work with them and help navigate through meetings with the city council members and their staff to set the stage for an eventual council vote.
If you are willing to get involved, please contact Mary Borevitz at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will connect you with the “Money out of Politics” group to get you started.