How Level is the Playing Field?

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Jerry Graham, well known government and history teacher from Shaker Heights High School (now retired ), speaks on "How Level Is the Political Playing Field."  He will share his views on how public policy is being impacted by the growing  inequality of income, a dysfunctional Congress, the ever increasing power of special interests and the explosion of campaign funding.  What measures must be taken to lessen the negative aspects of these trends?  It promises to be a lively discussion.

Mark Zetzer December 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
I cannot attend this lecture and discussion today, but I would like to offer Mr. Graham an excellent way to level the political playing. I founded a political action committee earlier this year, The Shaker Heights Taxpayers Union, to oppose a 29% local income tax levy in August. Proponents of the tax hike, including the PAC United for Shaker's Future at http://unitedforshakersfuture.com, may have outspent us by as much as 50 to 1, but we only lost by a 2 to 1 vote in favor of the tax hike. The Internet and social media helped level the playing field immensely for our grass roots effort, but Ohio campaign finance laws and reporting requirements were a major drag. I think more people outside the political class, like myself and others in our group, would be involved in politics if all campaign finance laws were abolished. After all, it is our First Amendment right to engage in free speech which -- even using the extremely low communication costs of the Internet -- still costs significant and prohibitive amounts of time to engage in, and time is money. For example, I personally had to use up most of my vacation days to engage in the summer campaign to save Shaker taxpayers from ever higher tax rates. Furthermore, our legal right to free speech was threatened in a frivolous trademark lawsuit by the City, which cost Shaker taxpayers roughly $50K in legal fees. Such a cost may not have been incurred had there been more respect in government for our right to free speech.


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