REAL DEMOCRACY

Framework

The people of the Bay Area deserve a local government where our representatives represent all of us — where candidates and elected officials can focus on what our communities need, not what big-money donors and special interests want. If we want to see change on issues like affordable housing, community safety, and quality schools, we need more transparency about the outside groups that are spending millions to influence our elections and we need more responsive local government. We need to bring much-needed accountability to local government and make it possible for all Bay Area residents to support candidates who will best represent them, no matter what neighborhood they live in, the color of their skin, or how much money they make. We must ensure that everyone can exercise full and independent political power by protecting fair elections and expanding voting rights. We envision a Bay Area where Black and Brown communities along with working-class people exercise full and independent political power.

Lead Organizations

Orange denotes Bay Rising member organizations. Green denotes partner organizations. Click on the circles to visit each organization’s website.

Solutions
  • Reform local elections, especially money in politics
    • Given barriers at the federal level, local reforms together with grassroots voter organizing are the best way to stand up to big money and special interests, building local government that works for all of us.
    • Policy Details City and County of San Francisco: Submittal Form for Proposed Initiative Measure – Prohibiting Certain Campaign Contributions; Disclaimer and Disclosure Requirements. This measure:
      • Bans all corporate contributions to candidates
      • Shines light on the practice of Super PACs funneling money between shell committees that exist only on paper
      • Ensures that we know where big-money donations are coming from before Election Day
      • Dismantles the “pay-to-play” politics of real-estate developers by limiting campaign contributions from developers with projects being reviewed by the city
    • Policy Details: City of San José: Measure B, June 2022 
    • Policy Details: City of Oakland: Oakland Fair Elections Act (Measure W). Oakland Rising is part of the leadership of this measure. If passed in November, this measure will create:
      • Greater Transparency: Measure W requires the top 3 highest contributors to be disclosed on independent expenditures supporting or opposing an Oakland candidate or measure, and requires all independent expenditures be submitted to Oakland’s watchdog agency, the Public Ethics Commission.
      • The Democracy Dollars Program: An innovative Democracy Dollars program equips all eligible Oakland residents with four $25 certificates to contribute to campaigns of their choosing, encouraging candidates to engage ordinary voters for their support––including low-income communities who may not have been able to support campaigns in the past. 
      • Lower Contribution limits: Measure W lowers individual contribution limits (to $600 for individuals and $1,000 for committees), reducing candidates’ reliance on wealthy donors who can afford to give a higher maximum amount. 
      • New Limits on Lobbying: Closes the revolving door of top officials becoming lobbyists after leaving office, instituting a two-year ban on the practice. 

TAKE ACTION

Sign up to volunteer with Yes on W for Fair Elections in Oakland!

ORGANIZING STORY


Photo credits, top to bottom: Brooke Anderson, Adriana Oyarzun Photography / Oakland Rising, Oakland Rising, Brooke Anderson, Silicon Valley Rising.