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tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  April 15, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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actually have matching funds distributed, so we're trying to explore again, is there a way to provide candidates to -- funds to candidates a bit earlier in their campaign so it encourages competition. and the last that came up, but it has significance. the qualification period that is articulated in the current law is confusing. it's different as to mayoral candidates and supervisorial candidates. one using language -- we're harmonizing the way those two work. we're making it clear that it is by the 70th day before the election that candidates must submit their qualifying papers. the language was inconsistent for mayor and supervisorial candidates. i think i will stop there to see if there are any clarifying comments or questions or brian,
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i'll see if you want to add anything to what i've said, i'll turn it over to you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i just want to make some clarification comments with respect to what director pelham said. in looking at recommendation number four to amend the election campaign fund appropriation language. so the issue that we might run up against -- >> chair chiu: mr. cox, could you speak closer to the microphone? >> yes, sure. thank you. first time at the microphone. so on page 15 of the form, we note that this is kind of a comprehensive view of what the campaign -- campaigns cost over the election cycle. and as you can see, if you look at the cost over one election
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cycle, the total cost is $9.75 million. so just doing some back-of-the-envelope math, this projection indicates we're going to be a little bit short, okay? and that's using the higher value of $270,000 for the board of supervisors and $1.5 million for the mayor -- mayoral race, so that would be alternative, too, under the proposal. so there were just some concerns that we might -- the fund might -- might -- might over time be depleted. there is a remedy, of course. so we could ask the board of supervisors for additional funding if that were to happen. that's not guaranteed, but there are provisions in the code that allow us to do exactly that. we do recommend -- so on the next page, page 16, that commission approve new language making that additional
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appropriation part of the fund guaranteed, right? so instead of it being optional, it being fully guaranteed, that way, at least it's a signal that we -- you know, we want to make sure that the program has enough funding, and it doesn't run -- there is no shortfall. so the goal is to make sure we never run out of money, that we can't exhaust the fund. so given the current projections, at least for alternative two, that is a possibility. so the -- the appropriation over the -- of the election cycle would be about $9.7 million. >> okay. so it would be about a 50,000 and change? >> yes. that's based on the estimate we
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have so far. we can't see what it would be looking forward, of course. >> and do you know off the top of your head what percentage of the utilization of the election fund we have tapped into over time? i know we haven't exhausted it in any given election cycle, but is it 80%? 40%? >> that is a good question. we have not done that level of analysis. i know there is a surplus historically, but as the program ramps up and as we sort of change the model to distribute potentially more funds, looking back historically might not be the best marker, but certainly, we can look into that. >> chair chiu: this is a very big lever. under the two scenarios, there can be a $50,000 short call under what the two new maximums would be, and we can propose language that would make the appropriation guaranteed as
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opposed to optional. have we thought about looking at the appropriation per resident amount to begin it? i believe that was 275 per resident, and that was set in 2008 or '11? >> i think it was, yeah. >> chair chiu: so if we look at inflation, 275 is probably closer to $400. i ran an on-line calculator, and i think it was close to 425? is that something, and thank you look into that? instead of keeping it at 275 per resident, because the fund we're appropriation is larger, would that -- the fund we're
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appropriating is larger. what rate of the current fund do we have because it's not a great case. we've only ever used 50% or, you know, 60%, and then we're asking for more. >> sure. sure. >> chair chiu: okay. thank you. i don't know if commissioners, you have any other questions or if there's any other staff presentation on these? >> commissioner lee: yeah, because i did have a question. so for the 9.7 million currently in the fund, does it include all the rollovers that we have? >> if we have a maximum, the rollover sort of caps, and the funding doesn't exceed the maximum. so i think the maximum is around $7 million currently. i think that number is -- is --
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is fairly accurate, so any additional funding wouldn't -- wouldn't top that. >> chair chiu: commissioner ambrose? >> commissioner ambrose: i'm not sure if you know this, but i'm curious what the ordinance provides if you were to exceed the appropriation? so without changing the law, what would be the default? >> that's a great question, commissioner ambrose. the -- section 1.154 allows the commission to request additional funding from the board of supervisors. it's not called for, but it's something we can ask them. >> commissioner ambrose: so i guess my question is if we have an understanding or agreement -- that's what i'm trying to understand -- with the respective campaigns that are expecting funding based on the terms of the ordinance, and we run out of money, do we just
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divide the difference and everybody just gets a little bit less? because of course the board has discretion whether or not to appropriate more funds. so i'm just curious what the expectation would be to the campaigns. i don't know if there's language in the ordinance that just says to the extent that funds are available, we'll give you this much money or so on? >> right. i think that's something that staff has discussed in terms of protocols in that case. i'm not sure that we exactly have a clear answer at this point? >> and my understanding is -- i think it was 2012, there was something that provided a percentage hold back for candidates if there was apparently not enough funding to accommodate the draw on all candidates that were participating. so i think that's something we
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could look at here if whatever level of funding is desired, it could be useful to go back and add in language that says any time there is a number of candidates participating that the maximum draw could potentially exceed the balance of the fund for that election, that at some point during the election, there will be a predictable and understood and transparent process by which the executive director of the commission or the commission assesses will there be a sufficient fund to accommodate all to the maximum, and if not, at this point forward, we'll take it and say 60% of the maximum will be available. it might make sense to look at inserting that into this discussion, if i'm understanding your question correctly. >> yeah. i think we all understand we can't engage in deficit spending, so i'm just curious what the default is, so there
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should be some proviso for that. >> chair chiu: i think it would be good, whether or not the amounts are changed, that we
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>> i'm not aware that the separate public financing package that supervisor mar had thought about introducing, what has been introduced. he's moving on the package that the commission sent over as sponsor of that, and that's the one that i mentioned earlier would be likely to be scheduled sooner than may 6. it was originally may 6. >> commissioner ambrose: so that would be addressed in a
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separate ordinance. these issue are not -- >> that's right. and i'm not familiar with what supervisor mar's office might have been doing. i have been in touch with his staff during this process to gather input, but i'm not aware of myself what activities his office might be engaged in otherwise. >> commissioner ambrose: okay. >> i would add, commissioner ambrose, that his office is conducting review of the financial impacts of some of the changes that we're looking at. i think the proposals that they're looking at are somewhat similar, and so they're doing analysis right now. i'm not sure when it's supposed to be completed, but they're trying to figure out how much it would cast over time. >> commissioner ambrose: who did you say is doing the analysis? >> so b.l.a. >> commissioner ambrose: b.l.a.? >> budget and legislative
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analyst. sorry. >> commissioner ambrose: would it be possible for the commission and commission st - >> chair chiu: would it be possible for the commission and commission members to receive a copy of that? i think it would be helpful what we're discussing here. >> of course. >> chair chiu: i have a couple of questions in regards to the recommendations as well as public comment submitted by the campaign legal center. and so one is regarding the $100 amount for the initial contribution that would be matched. so there was some public comments that i received from -- the other day expressing concern about $100 and was looking more to 200. i know, mr. fcox, if you could
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talk about how you provided at that as the 6:1 ratio. >> certainly. before we arrived at the $100, we decided to do some outreach to candidates and their staff to see what are the purposes of the program and what are we really trying to do here. i think talking with the staff -- or talking with the candidates and their staff, we got a real sense that they were interested in empowering contributions, and many said it's real difficult for their constituents and supporters to give $500. that's a theme we heard over and over again, and even 400 and 300, and that there was a significant -- you know, we really want more people to participate, and i think that's one of the goals that we have in this program, as well, is to get more voters involved. i think all the research suggests that if you have
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people more likely to contribute to campaigns, they're more likely to vote. so we started with that premise of what are we hearing from the candidates and that is kind of universally what they were saying is this $100 -- you know, a lot of talk out there is for $200. a range out there -- i'm not sure if one necessarily is mathematically better than the other, but what we've heard is, you know, a lot of contributors do put in that $100, and i think our idea was to really empower that as much as we could, so that was the premise, the starting point of that. and we looked at how that would change as compared to a maximum contribution of $500. and i think in chart -- >> chart three on page seven? >> yeah. as you can see a $500
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contribution nets you $1500 total from the program. we felt that in talking with candidates and doing some thinking about the issue, it's really difficult for someone with just $100, to feel like their voice can heard, that they can make an impact, and that might be keeping some contributors from the table. so lowering that amount we felt was appropriate to sort of support those smaller contributors. so that was the thinking behind the $100 matchable amount. and then as far as the 6:1, i think there's a general trend in the community public finance arena to provide a high-match amount. i know that new york had a 6:1, and now they're moving to an
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8:1, los angeles. that seems to be the cutting edge, and we looked at how that would shift the balance -- not shift the balance, but how that would empower the smaller grassroots contributors, and we felt that was a good amount. >> chair chiu: i did some internet research on my own, and i think 6:1 is pretty much the benchmark. berkeley is 6:1. l.a. just went to -- has been at 6:1, but they reduced the amount. mayor is 214, and supervisor is 114. denver is 6:1, and portland is
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6:1 at 50. i see we have members of the public. if they could comment, i'd love to hear from them, as well. i think the impact you note here in chart three is signatur significant. obviously, $300 is more than $100, but when you look at the matching, the impact of that would be significant if you're counting $500. and even at $200, it's not on here, but a $100 contribution would be $700, right, or matching it 6:1, and then, for a $500, it's 1700, because
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1700, you take 200, and it's multiplied by six. the 200 mark is -- it -- it kind of disproportionately favors the larger donations. the larger donation, the bigger the impact. and if you look back on chart two, the number of people who can contribute 100 to $199 is only 8%, whereas 73% are contributing lower. their impact is already small from a percentage of the overall contribution chart, but with a larger $200 amount, $100 is still going to be diminished. >> exactly. and that was one of the motivations for new york to alter their system, that they
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found the specific issue that some donors have a huge impact on campaign public financing, so they wanted to rework that to boost the contributions at the lower end. so in looking at this distribution, we found very similar things. >> chair chiu: and just in the chicago mayor's race in 2018, the top eight candidates, only the top 4% gave at $150 or more. bear with me. i have a few more questions. in terms of a funding cap, i like the idea of more money, but as a commission, what is
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more responsible? alternative to 270 and 1:5, you know, how do we feel about that? i think putting more money into public financing, i think, is a good thing, clean money versus dark money is always better. and then, i had a question about the initial spending limits. currently, it's 250 for the board of supervisors and 1.75 for the mayor. and the proposal is to raise it, so it looks like a 40% increase, and it's pretty in line with the -- with the amount of money that's being spent in kind of the average race amounts on page 11, table
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four. but the mayoral race is the cumulative average. can you walk us through a little bit of your thinking in how you got to the 1.7 as opposed, you know, to 1.8 or 1.9? >> so i think it was just a simple calculation of a ratio of six, because we're doing matching to six. that was one factor we looked at, and secondly, looking at how much candidates have spent over time, we felt that number was appropriate given the money that it takes to run a competitive campaign. that is a substantial increase over what candidates have received, and it's an increase over what they have spent, but after hearing back from stakeholders and candidates, you know, we -- we thought that
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that number was appropriate given what they felt they would need to spend to be successful in those races. >> chair chiu: okay. and then, the second is we've heard in public comment, very concerned about moving the date back, forward -- backward, forward, however you want to think about it, from the receipt of the initial grant. everything used to be triggered off of the 142nd day, and now, the proposal is to split the initial grant and put that out as the 200 -- the earliest eligible date would be the 240th day, and there was the concern about zombie candidates, i don't know if you're familiar with that term where people would file to run for office and collect public money, but once they see who entered, they would withdraw but they would receive public
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funds and not complete the race. >> yeah. i take the complaints quite seriously. i think we heard the public complaints differently. if i got this started sooner, i could get my ground game started sooner, i could get my name out there sooner. i think in every race, it has its over inddiosyncrasies. i think it gives candidates the opportunity to run this is platform as they -- their platform as they see fit. we've heard yeah, if i had the money in january for a november election, yeah, that would have been great. we're not talking about giving them access to moppiatching fu this is just the initial grant. yeah, the fear of zombie
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candidates is real, but given the perspective of people in the race, they say this would help us get our name out there. i think a big issue for grassroots candidates might be challenging to do so at the very last moment because they're waiting on public funding is a big hurdle for them. >> chair chiu: i think one of our previous public commenters said that money is like yeast, and so everything can rise from and after that. okay. then -- so i would want to think about that to make sure that candidates are getting the benefit of early money in a timely way, but also not to resurrect some of the problems that with -- with
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verifying addresses and verifying -- >> chair chiu: is it in district one? is it in district four? >> yeah. i was talking to a guy the other day who said we had to chase this guy down several times just for one campaign check. if we had some residency requirement, it adds another hurdle, and there are clear policy benefits to doing that, to ensure that you have public support. but we have to balance that against the compliance costs, and is this going to push them out of the race? so we want to make the running for office not as easy as possible not necessarily, but certainly not unnecessarily difficult. in terms of changing the structure, we're focused on
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changing the maximum amount rather than tinkering with the reason to qualify. >> chair chiu: i think it makes sense to tie the candidate back to the district, but it does pose a challenging hurdle as we heard last year on how owners could feel part of the time. i have one last question, and for there to be an opposition candidate. and what c.l.c. was recommending is that there shouldn't need to be an opposition candidate. if someone's running unopposed, why wouldn't they be entitled to access public funds for the campaign, because public money's always better than not
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public money? >> certainly. and i think that idea is really attractive to make campaigns as clean as possible. i think, you know, again, we're not -- our focus this time around was not necessarily on changing the qualifications of the process but rather just on the mechanics of it. i know that certainly, we can look at that as an idea. i would note, though, that because we're -- we have budgetary constraints, that's something to focus on, if we have candidates that are either running opposed or who don't qualify for public financing, how do we model that into our numbers to make sure that we are being responsible to the fund itself? but again, you know, it's something we can certainly look at, but i think that was maybe outside of the scope what we were looking at this time around just the specific round of regulations and the proposals. >> chair chiu: okay. if you can come back, you know,
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with pat next month with a recommendation, it's not necessarily from a modelling, from a financial standpoint, but just from a policy standpoint about eliminating that on $100 or less donors to
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get them started, so it would be great if you can find some san francisco data to show that, because i do think that if we're going to talk about clean government, encouraging folks to get involved with the process, we really need to bring the folks to the -- to the campaigns. i think on the policy standpoint and on paper, it sounds good, because you should represent the people who voted
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you in, but san francisco's a little bit unique from the other jurisdictions that they mentioned because we are facing a gentrification problem in the city. looking in specific at the asian american community, the -- some of the districts where we have a sizeable asian populations do not have representative --
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i have friends who just swear by it. they just love it. and i know that it's not included in the staff recommendation, but i'm glad that you are going to continue to monitor this program and i know that when it first got rolled out, there were some kinks here and there. but they are going to have the second round in june. because i know that there are many of them who started from way back when to work on the legislation and now still working on the community outreach, they would love to chair their perspectives after june, and i would recommend that maybe we could invite them, not -- at least to
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participate by phone to talk to us, to share with us what happened in june because there was some concern about the public awareness and outreach. i'm really eager to hear how they're work on it, because for me, ultimately, the goal is direct control of public finance by the voters. and i think that is such an innovative program that we could continue to learn from them. maybe there could be a hybrid version for san francisco. maybe for the june or august meeting, we can invite them either to participate in the meetings that we have, or if they have the technology, to call in. i know a few of them, they would love to use their own
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money, they said, come down here to visit san francisco, and while they're here, share their experience. so i hope we can continue to leave the seattle voucher program on our front burner so we do not forget because i think the principle of the voter -- the resident controlling their political destiny is really something that i -- i'd like us to really explore. >> right. and i think that now staff is at full capacity, that's one thing we're trying to do is actively monitor processes from some other communities around the country. i think working closely with people in our back yard as well as seating is on our priority list, so absolutely. >> chair chiu: one thing that i would be interested to know, i
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echo commissioner lee's comments, the concern i have about the voucher model is the high cost of administration. according to a common cause article in 2018, the cost to administer the program was 1,136,000, and the cost to administer the voucher, it was 1,140,000. so for every dollar, it cost .91 to implement. i think first or second years, there would be a lot of learnings for that, but i would want to watch this model mature and best understand how can they become more effective in, like, reducing their administrative costs and making sure that of the 3 -- the $2 million that you're spending, you're spending more than 52% on the actual funds that get distributed to candidates.
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like, how are they going to solve that challenge? because if we have $7 million, i would hate to see 50% go to administrative costs. >> yeah. seattle is a ground breaking program, but at the same time, there are issues -- they have to overcome those problems. we're monitoring that, of course, and after the june election we'll definitely see where we are that way. >> chair chiu: i would love to see, in the fullness of time, a -- because right now, all of our city races that receive funding, not only mayor and board of supervisors, but city attorney or school board, and could we do a pilot of something a little more down the road, so definitely keep your eye on that. >> absolutely. >> chair chiu: any other comments or questions before public comment? i would like to call for public comment now on this agenda
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item. >> good afternoon. john gollinger, speaking for myself. i was pleased to read the report and appreciate the staff's good work on this. i know the board of supervisors is looking at the issue, too. my understanding from talking to folks there is they're waiting to see what comes of this meeting today. i think the intent, as is understood, is to move something forward in the next month or two, not to wait longer, so i hope this keeps coming. let me comment on the proposal. i wanted to touch on four areas. first and most important, 100% excited that the commission -- staffing commissioners who spoke seem very bought in on the notion of both raising the matching ratio and lower the amount that's matchable for all the reasons discussed. i think empowering small donors in my experience as an advocate
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and campaign manager speaks to what was said, that regular people can give 100, 200, 300 maybe, but 500 is a stretch. the 6:1 is at least -- new york voters just voted 8:1, so i encourage the commissioners to even consider a higher rate. but 6:1 for sure. i think 6:1 is too low, but for the purpose of the other -- the other problem with the program is that to my knowledge, it has never been the case where candidates have maxed out on the amount of public funds they could get and actually using it. so i see your review and your proposals to not just empower the donor side but help
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candidates who want to move on a clean money program. you're actually lowering the amount of money available to public financing candidates with that proposal. and i'm going to run out of time for any other things, but i hope you -- >> chair chiu: why don't you do the three minutes, and i'm sure we'll have questions, and after we get through public comment, we'll ask you to come back. >> let me just run through this one thing. by lowering the matchable donation to $500 -- i don't have a lot of money, but i've given $500 to candidates. under the current program, it's worth $1500 for one candidate, and under the new program, it's only worth $1100. i would consider that a different purpose of these reforms than empowering small donors and 100% agree lowering.
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it. 200 is the amount. new york's is 175, and i think that's it. shall i leave it at that? >> chair chiu: okay. thank you. >> my name is astor martin. i was a volunteer treasurer for a board of supervisor publicly funded campaign in 2016 and 2018. and i do appreciate the staff recommendations regarding the public finance program. i thought the report was thoughtful and the findings were wonderful, the recommendations. and i am open to the 200. any way, i think the initial grant of public financing and the higher ratio of matching funds of 6:1 up to 100 would
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give qualifying candidates the resources to run a competitive campaign. the awarding of an initial grant grant earlier campaign is a good idea and ultimately give the public greater confidence in the election process. however, from my perspective, the initial ex -- if the initial expenditure limit is increased to 350,000 for board of supervisors and 1.7 million for mayor's race, i would recommend the maximum public funds received by a candidate be increased accordingly. in other words, 255,000 for a board of supervisors campaign, 1.475 million for a mayoral campaign. an increase in the initial expenditure limit is advantageous to campaigns that
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have large institutional support and disadvantageous to a smaller grassroots campaign. it's easier for a campaign that receives many $500 contributions to makeup the funds that are not matched by public funds. >> chair chiu: thank you. any other public comment? mr. gollinger, i wanted to call you back. >> supervisor mar's office is on his way. >> chair chiu: okay. commissioners, did you have any questions? >> commissioner ambrose: yes. i don't believe you raised the
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point about moving it up to the 240th -- >> oh, yes, that was one of the reasons that i wanted to touch on. i think for reasons laid out in the staff proposal i think it's good to make available the matching grant. i would make available the matching funds. in my experience, the more -- you know, it's both to make grassroots campaigns more viable and effective, the ability to hire a person or people to go knock on doors or to organize town hall meetings. to be able to do that with enough of a window that you're not in the heat of the campaign when you're just bringing someone on board makes a huge difference, and i think that's what the candidates who are really going to care about the time difference between getting the 60,000 or what-have-you in the summer and at the beginning of the year, it will make a huge difference to them. i also think -- i was talking about this earlier with someone that the current makeup of the
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program means you get the many at earliest in the summer when most regular people are not paying attention to politics. so to the extent you're going to do organizing and sort of the grassroots work we want more of, you largely have to wait to do that until the fall. if you could take advantage of the program, just the grant earlier in the year, you could get the ball rolling, do small, more substantive meetings throughout the spring and then in the summer, get your act together. the number one reason that you're fixing the program, but the current program means everyone comes to you, the commission staff all at once to get the money. so i think there's a glut and inefficiency of that management, whereas if you give a longer window of time to apply, you'll incentivize candidates to apply over a
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longer stretch of time and sort of stretch that out so that candidates from your end can have done that admin outside of the hectic time of the campaign. so there's not always -- like, the last couple of examples, people have talked about the last year's mayor's race, which was a snap election, and the district four race which was a five-month race, that was usual. there's more than one unusual race in san francisco, but the race for mayor is longer than other races are. the current system deprives currently publicly finance candidates for a certain period of time. >> chair chiu: so wijust to ma sure i understand, the more
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typical time frame of a race, if it's a november election, when would the organizing and work begin? >> well, in 2019, san francisco, in hot races, i mean, a year to 1.5 years, at least the initial work. i think the district six last race was a more typical example because that was a termed out supervisor, everyone knew was open. one or more people were going to run. so i think at least one candidate, maybe more, got going 1.5 years out. i think both the incumbent -- pointed incumbent in district five and her main challenger started over a year, year and something. so doing this work in january, january-february, doing the public finance work -- getting that done and only having to worry about the matching part of it would be a huge chunk
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done. >> chair chiu: do you have an amount of the initial grant? obviously, more is always better. >> yeah. i think the proposal is to increase it. i think the proposal, what, is to increase it to 60? >> chair chiu: 60 and 300. >> yeah. i think that's the right ballpark. i do think the overall amount available needs to track for supervisor race in particular needs to track the increase in the overall spending limit that currently was a $250,000 supervisor limit and $155,000 available public money. there's about $100,000 delta, and if you're raising the spending limit, you should keep that. because basically, that's the private money someone has to raise. if you raise the spending limit and aren't doing that, you're disproportionately hurting the program. that's the one change that i would make to that proposal
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between your alternative a, 1 and 2, would raise it to basically right in the middle. i think that would resolve that. and then, i also wanted to comment on, i think as commissioner lee raised. the c.l.c. recommendations. the one i found i think easily doable, and i think our program only prohibited candidates from getting public money when it wasn't already formed, they wanted to limit public expenditures that would make the program look bad. i think there was fear at the time that people would abuse the program. our experience to date has been the opposite, that not enough people are using this program, and i do think, as c.l.c. suggested, eliminating that requirement that just because you don't have an opponent or a serious "opponent" you then have to rely on provide special
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interest money. in fact, we want our incumbents, which is who those people will usually be, to not rely on that money. the residency, i think is interesting. fi philosophically, i agree with it. i think if you traweak the amount, you're getting the same amount. in new york, they found that by raising it to 25 and raising the ratio, they're talking to more people in their district because that's where they can find people who will give them 100 or $200s. those are my other comments. did you have any other questions for me? >> chair chiu: commissioner. >> commissioner ambrose: a question for you or miss marks.
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we did receive comment about concerns from the 2011 mayor's race, where there were many candidates who dropped out notwithstanding, because they had public money, they stayed in the race. the so-called zombie candidates, and with a history lesson about how the law was changed because there was such a backlash to that setup that essentially kept people on the ballot understanding that they weren't really running. i wasn't involved in legislation with that in 2011. i don't know if either you had that experience. but i am concerned about yo-yoing back and forth between there was a problem, it was solved, and now we're coming back. are we mindful of the earlier
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problems and is there a way to move forward to both give the candidates seed money but without leading to this possibility that they'll use it to test the waters and then back out to a stronger candidate who will make themselves known. >> i ran a district attorney's race, so i didn't run a mayor's race. i ran a d.a.s race in that cycle. i observed all the candidates, the ones who won, and the one who didn't. i've had conversations with mr. hill, who was primary in fixing that. totally respect that concern and do not discount it. i do think that is -- in my
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experience, that is the only situation where that has occurred. it was a specific wide-open mayor's race, and i don't think there was many candidates. i think there was maybe two. i'm not going to name the names, and neither of them -- both of -- if it was more, i don't -- i don't know, but if it's the two i'm thinking about, they were credible officials. they weren't sort of outside folks who are abusing the program, but it was genuine, that -- actually, the specific circumstance of that race was appointed mayor ed lee had said he was not going to run, so candidates got into the race and said he was not going to run. what changed and turned them into zombie candidates is he decided to run after the public deadline. so as far as i know that's what
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happened, and i think something like that could happen again, but i think something like that could happen under any permutation of the program. i think, commissioner ambrose, my dream allows candidates to apply earlier and get the grant, but only the initial grant. still, if i read the proposal correctly, it wouldn't be until june, when all candidates have filed that you could get the rest of the money. i don't know if this is in here. personally, i would say if you get the grant and you drop out of the race or -- if you do, you have to repay the grant. and if you get the grant and you decide you're an unviable candidate or somebody else gets in the race, what do you do? i think that could happen in any race. until the deadline, you never
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know who's going to get in. only given the grant, so if there's some chunk of money that gets not necessarily used as intended, i don't think it's a huge blow to the program in any way. i think it would help candidates -- encourage them to use the program, and it wouldn't risk wasting on candidates -- under the program, there are several candidates in last year's race that you could characterize as zombies. they got in the race, thinking they would be the hot ticket. others got in and stayed in the race not necessarily because of public money, but they put their hopes and dreams. that's the nature of politics, so i do think a little bit of a balance of those two would be fun. so if others have comments on that. >> chair chiu: miyeah. >> did you have anything to add on the history?
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>> i think it was just that one time. i think the benefit outweighs the unlikely possibility that it would happen again. >> commissioner ambrose: okay. thank you. i appreciate your comments. >> chair chiu: so mr. gollinger, just follow up on everyone's comments, could you take a look at the rules that are currently in place under the public financing rules that someone becomes a zombie candidates, and if there are insufficient mechanisms to be able to have them return those funds, to take mr. gollinger's suggestion, that if you drop out, you return funds dollar for dollar to the program? >> yeah, this's something we can take a look at. i'm not sure what's there now, but i think that's something --
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i'm sorry? [inaudible] >> i'm being told that they would become surplus funds. yeah, so i think that's a concern, but i think as mr. gollinger pointed out, that's a concern in every race, not just if we changed the rules here. >> chair chiu: commissioner -- >> commissioner ambrose: i just have one question for staff. >> chair chiu: yeah. >> commissioner ambrose: so involving funds that a candidate can receive, i'm assuming you just picked those as brackets. i think i heard miss marks say 255, but it could be any -- there's no particular reason why you have those two thresholds, right? it could be any number in between those? >> sure. i think the way we chose the number based on what we've
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seen. you know, we didn't want any odd numbers with respect to the matching ratios. and i think that's part peshlly driving it, but -- personally driving it, but i would think the number isn't fixed at 270, but i think that's kind of like the benchmark that we've seen, based on what we've seen, candidates, what they've spent and to run a viable and competitive campaign. >> commissioner ambrose: right. but if the variable was the cost relative to the program resources, then you could adjust the risk of exceeding your appropriations by fiddling with the amount of that. >> yes.
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if your -- [inaudible] >> so at 1.2 million, you're estimating, and these are estimates that you'd hit 8.2 million with the 270 and 1.5 million for the mayor's race, your cost estimate is 9.7 and 50,000. so any way, i just want to make sure that there wasn't some magic about those two particular numbers, that there could be a number in between those. >> yeah. i think that it has to do with a matchable amountau


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