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NEWS RELEASE
Dec 17, 1999


CONTACT: Bill Gallagher 310-392-5304

Oaks Project Launches Package of Taxpayer Protection Initiatives

All-volunteer signature drive to stop conflicts of interest that gouge taxpayers
The Oaks Project, the organizing arm of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, will begin collecting signatures this week to simultaneously qualify ballot initiatives in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Irvine, Vista and Claremont (click here for petition). The initiatives in each city are titled "The Taxpayer Protection Amendment of 2000" and are intended to end the practice of politicians rewarding their big contributors with taxpayer dollar giveaways.

"These initiatives are going to stop the wink and nod relationship between campaign donations and taxpayer-funded boondoggles," said Oaks Project volunteer and Pasadena initiative proponent Paul Monsour. "The public is painfully aware that the big tax breaks and sweetheart deals all go to the biggest campaign donors. Whether we are talking about publicly owned real estate sold for pennies on the dollar, zoning changes worth millions, or an exclusive contract to haul the city's trash, we know that politicians put that next campaign donation ahead of the taxpayer's wallet."

In each of the targeted cities, "The Taxpayer Protection Amendment of 2000" will prohibit a city official from accepting campaign contributions, future employment or gifts from interest groups who have benefited as a result of the official's actions. This groundbreaking reform will end the practice of elected officials and city bureaucrats trading votes for contributions and job offers.

"Finally, the average taxpayer and voter will have confidence that city hall decisions are made based on the merit of a project, not the size of a campaign donation," said San Francisco initiative proponent Julia Brashares.

The non-profit, non-partisan Oaks Project has served as a civic training academy for Californians since 1997. The Oaks Project played a decisive role in passing HMO patient protections in the California legislature this year and spearheaded last year's drive to lower utility rates for California ratepayers by sponsoring Proposition 9. The Oaks Project was founded by consumer advocate Ralph Nader to train average citizens in the arts of civics and politics.

The six targeted cities were chosen because they represent a geographical and political cross-section of California. The Oaks Project is planning to take the issue statewide after demonstrating deep support locally.

Voters in these cities can download a petition to sign. Petitions can be mailed to The Oaks Project central office or hand delivered to the local organizer, by calling the Oaks Project at 310-392-5304. Click here to download a petion for your city.





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