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EDITORIAL FOR SALE: CALIFORNIA SPECIAL INTERESTS BUY ACCESS TO GOV. DAVIS THROUGH CAMPAIGN DONATIONS.

In his first year in office as governor of California, Gray Davis has made history by raising $13.2 million for his campaign war chest.

Davis is a popular guy. Everyone wants access to him.

Of course, there's nothing illegal about being a prolific fund-raiser. But it does make a cynical public a bit more curious about who's giving the money and why the governor is so slow to fill all those state appointments.

But surely the governor isn't putting state offices up for sale. He's just making himself available to the highest bidder who wants a little quality time with the state's leader.

Raising that much money in the first year after an election is in itself outrageous and shows just how corrupting the process has become. No sooner does someone get elected than everybody puts up a ``For Sale'' sign.

Maybe there's not a quid pro quo for the money, but the fact is that the fund-raising game is all about access and influence. People who put up money do it to get into the game, which excludes points of view of 30 million California voters and residents who don't buy access.

They just fork over $80 billion in taxes and mostly can't get the time of day from their city council member, state Assembly member, state senator, U.S. representative or U.S. senator.

Davis isn't the only politician to raise the stakes and demean the office. It's done by people in both parties at all levels of government.

But that doesn't make it right.

And if Davis cared as much about his image as he does about the money, he'd set a good example by filing his campaign contribution report on the Internet so voters and the public could have instant access and see where all that money is coming from.

Instead, Davis is snubbing voters and filing the slowest way possible, by paper.

Davis wants the state to get educated. He strongly supports getting schools wired. But he doesn't want voters to have too much information too quickly - and certainly not about his campaign contributions, which are a matter of public interest and concern.

Davis' top political adviser, Garry South, said he saw no reason to file the reports online - an arrogant response that scorns the public's right to know.

It's a big reason why people are alienated and why they are fed up with both parties' refusal to support genuine reforms that would put power back in the hands of the people instead of in the hands of rich and powerful special interests.

Government may be for sale, but maybe one of these days the public will just stop paying the bills.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 9, 2000
Words:448
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