For a year now, City Council members, led by Sally Clark, have talked up publicly financed elections. And today, they announced that a timeline is in place to bring them back. From now until early 2010, the council will explore possibilities for setting up a voter-owned system. By the end of next year, they hope to have a ballot measure to put before voters. And if we approve it, we may have our first publicly-financed city election in 2011.
With the number of people jumping into the city council races lately, you'd almost think we were already there.
In theory, public money helps level the playing field. As it is now, the wealthiest candidates have the best shot since they can loan themselves any needed cash that doesn't come in through donations. Of course, that system has it's own problems, even in magical Portland.