Council member Jon Froomin’s demands for campaign finance reform talks and new regulations in Foster City were rejected by city council, with the majority citing the timing and acceptance of the current campaign system.
“I agree with the way things are, and I am not in favor of going ahead with this article, not now or even in the future,” board member Sam Hindi said. .
The board passed a 4-1 motion to deny a discussion on campaign finance reform or a possible order on a future agenda item. Froomin, who presented the article and wanted to see campaign reform, voted against. Potential reforms suggested by Froomin include limits on donations from individuals and businesses, a ban on receiving funds from a political action committee or approving organizations like a labor council, an apartment association. or a political party. He also called for a maximum spending limit.
“We’ve talked a lot about fairness and getting more people involved, and I think having a lower limit than state would encourage more people to participate and level the playing field for those who participate.” , Froomin said.
Froomin suggested raising the issue once a new city manager is in place so any new laws can be enacted by the next election in 2022.
Hindi, however, saw no need to tackle the problem, given that Assembly Bill 571 is now on the books. State law came into effect on January 1 and imposed limits on the state’s contribution to local elections in cities with no established limits. The individual contribution limit to city and county candidates under AB 571 for this year is $ 4,900 per election. AB 571 allows tighter limits if cities so desire. Foster City has no contribution limits, the city said, and currently uses state limits by default. It also regulates the financial transactions of candidates when it comes to campaign finance. Candidates cannot make campaign contributions to another candidate that exceed the state limit or loan to their campaigns for which the outstanding balance exceeds $ 100,000. They can also defer contributions from one election to pay for campaign expenses from another election for the same position.
“On this point, I really don’t really see the need for us to address it,” said Hindi.
Vice Mayor Richa Awasthi agreed with Hindi and preferred to follow state law.
“In terms of prioritization and what the staff have on their plate, in terms of timing as well, I wouldn’t support that,” Awasthi said. “Last but not least, from a content point of view as well, which was proposed in the staff report, I would not support that. “
Council member Patrick Sullivan noted that the city had many other issues to consider, citing seeking a permanent city manager position, responding to the growing geese population and funding for a new recreation center. to replace the William E. Walker Recreation Center.
“We are concerned about many important issues right now. I think to be budget conservative I don’t think we can afford to waste time on staff reporting on anything to do with a new ordinance for campaign reform, ”Sullivan said.
“It’s about leadership right now. It is not about politics. I think we need to move forward and move this ship in the right direction, ”said Sullivan.
Mayor Sanjay Gehani voted no but said he thought it would be a good topic for the political summit in 2022.