Proposition C Passes in Los Angeles Elections

Polling place in Los Angeles // credit: atvn.org Polling place in Los Angeles // credit: atvn.org[/caption]

Unofficial results from the LA City Clerk’s office indicate that Proposition C has passed with 76.56 percent of Los Angeles voters supporting the ballot measure.

Proposition C is only one of many other preliminary efforts to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v FEC. Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Montana, and Colorado have taken similar steps as well.

Also known as the “Resolution to Support Constitutional Amendment Regarding Limits on Political Campaign Spending and Rights of Corporations,” voter approval of Proposition C is largely symbolic. Given the measure has no immediate ramifications, critics were quick to point out the lack of enforcement measures.

However, what Proposition C does do is resolve that Los Angeles’ national delegation support and propose a constitutional amendment that recognizes:

  • Corporations should not have the same constitutionally guaranteed rights as people
  • Corporate spending is not protected from regulation by the first amendment
  • Limits on political spending remain consistent with the first amendment while providing all citizens a chance to have their voices heard

A key point highlighted by supporters, like California Common Cause and California Public Interest Research Group, was the fact that a vote in a highly populated city like Los Angeles serves as a referendum, of sorts, on the 2010 Supreme Court case — voicing popular disagreement with the court. As one of the largest municipal populations in the country, and with 1.8 million registered voters, popular opinion of corporate personhood has teetered towards the negative, but has yet to solidify on a national level.

Aside from a brief rebuke in 2010, President Obama has remained mostly silent on the encroaching nature of money in politics. Gaining the traction necessary to attain the lofty goal of passing a 28th amendment — or convincing the Supreme Court to change course — has activists convinced local measures like Proposition C are critical.

Nevertheless, this didn’t stop others from dubbing Prop C a ‘muddled measure’ and an ’empty gesture’ to voters.

Even if the message that is sent to Washington falls on deaf ears, consensus continues to grow behind reversing Citizens United. Meanwhile, free speech advocates contend that any new limitations on speech for corporations or individuals should be outright rejected.