Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Did Ignacio Try to Kill Instant Runoffs for a Price?

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Ex-state Senator and Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata, who spent much of the past few months trying to block instant runoff voting, paid Vice Mayor Ignacio De La Fuente $25,000 from his tobacco-tax initiative, the Trib reports. Both Perata and De La Fuente maintain that the payment was for labor organizing involving the tobacco initiative, which would raise funds for cancer research. But there is no denying the fact that De La Fuente worked hard over the past few months to help Perata stop instant runoff voting from going into effect this year.

In fact, two months after receiving the $25,000, De La Fuente dispatched a letter to Secretary of State Debra Bowen in an attempt to convince her to not approve the software and hardware system to be used with the new voting format. De La Fuente also attempted to scare Oakland nonprofits into helping block instant runoff voting by claiming that its costs will force the city to make more budget cuts. Perata and De La Fuente have contended that instant runoff voting, which eliminates the need for a June primary, will be too difficult for some seniors and non-English speakers to understand. But Perata also would have benefitted from the traditional two election system because of his name recognition and ability to raise funds.

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