LA Times Editorial Board proposes "democracy dollars" + upcoming events

Friends, we have some exciting updates to share with you:

Yesterday the LA Times Editorial Board proposed “democracy dollars,” also known as “democracy vouchers,” as one of many solutions worth exploring to address the City’s problems. Here’s what they said:

“ … the current civic and political moment may accommodate even more expansive thinking. Voters just elected a new mayor, city attorney and city controller, plus several new council members, all of them City Hall newcomers. Angelenos are talking and ideas are flowing: What about fully publicly financed elections, to enable Angelenos with skill and integrity, but little money, to run for office? Or “democracy dollars” — vouchers distributed to city residents that can then be donated to candidates to redeem for actual campaign money?”

We’re encouraged by the LA Times’ suggestion—raising the prospect of a campaign finance system in which financial status or income will no longer be a barrier to contributing to campaigns in the City of LA.

The LA Times is not alone. Earlier this month, Oakland voters overwhelmingly passed Measure W, becoming the second city in the nation to pass a democracy dollars program. And just two weeks ago, LADV Advisor Aura Vasquez made the case for democracy vouchers in a Los Angeles Times op-ed: "10 ideas for fixing Los Angeles."

In addition to the good news about democracy vouchers, there are lots of upcoming opportunities to learn about other reforms suggested by the LA Times. To learn more about the other reforms, we recommend RSVPing to these events:

  • What if the People Governed? How Citizens’ Assemblies Can Restore Trust in LA City Government — December 8 at 10AM PT: Citizens’ assemblies are a powerful way towards a more expansive and representative democracy that puts citizens at the center of governing.  This form of deliberative democracy has helped citizens resolve public issues since Ancient Greece. So why haven’t you heard of them, and what do you need to know about them? Join us December 8 for an interactive introduction to citizens’ assemblies and how they can empower breakthroughs in local democracy.  Co-hosted by the Berggruen Institute, Healthy Democracy, The American Public Trust, Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, Abundant Housing LA, and Public Access Democracy, this 90-minute online teach-in will bring together advocates and experts on democratic theory and governance to introduce how democratic lotteries and citizen deliberation works and their relevance to LA’s biggest political challenges.
  • Los Angeles People's Movement Assembly — December 11 @ 1:00 PM: The inaugural Los Angeles People’s Movement Assembly will take place on December 11, 2022 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the El Sereno Senior Center at 4818 Klamath Place, Los Angeles, CA 90032.
  • Teach-In: Independent Redistricting & Expanding City Council — December 13 @ 8PM PT: Join us for this virtual teach-in, in which we explore two of the most pressing ideas that LA’s City Council can move forward in 2023 — independent redistricting and expanding the number of city council districts beyond our current 15. Both reforms could ensure fairer representation of all Angelenos across the city, but have many variables to resolve before they’re ready for voters to approve. LA Forward presents this teach-in as a member of the Fair Rep LA coalition.


Tom, José, and Mike

Los Angeles for Democracy Vouchers

P.S. If you want to get involved with our organizing efforts, join our bi-weekly volunteer call Tuesdays at 5PM PT (next meeting is 12/6).