Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

San Bernardino County Wants Oversight from Fair Political Practices Commission

Support Provided By
Photo: Courtesy San Bernardino County
Photo: Courtesy San Bernardino County

The historically scandal-plagued county of San Bernardino has taken a step in the right direction. Its Board of Supervisors took the unprecedented step of asking the state's ethical watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to enforce the its campaign finance rules. Last week Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill authorizing that setup.

While the county's plan is unique, so is its history of corruption. It was only last year when three former county employees, including former County Supervisor Bill Postmus, were indicted as part of an inquiry focusing on misappropriation of public funds and bribery.  

The county's leaders have signaled their plan to enact campaign contribution limits of $3,900 per contributor. This is the same limit imposed on contributions to state legislators. The limit might be a bit high for county elections, but this plan is better than nothing. County officials will also have the opportunity to make changes down the road.

The FPPC's oversight will help to ensure that San Bernardino's contribution limits are more than symbolic. The history of campaign finance legislation teaches us that rules are evaded without proper enforcement.

While other cities and counties have their own ethics commissions, it seems to be that the FPPC is the right agency for the job in San Bernardino. It was created to, among other things, implement, administer, and enforce California's Political Reform Act. The agency is under strong leadership and they are thinking broadly and strategically about how best to promote civil engagement and the integrity of electoral and legislative processes. 

San Bernardino's decision to contract with the FPPC will hopefully help revitalize public confidence in their elected officials. After years of scandals in which public officials seemed to make a mockery of the idea of public service, this appears to be a positive change. 

Jessica Levinson writes about the intersection of law and government every Monday. She is an Associate Clinical Professor at Loyola Law School. Read more of her posts here.

Support Provided By
Read More
COP26 Coalition Protestors Take Part In The Global Day of Action for Climate Justice

After a 'Disappointing' UN Climate Summit, California Youth Activists are Back to Work

Youth climate activists have criticized the COP26 pact for being "vague" and failing to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. For one activist, the disappointment with negotiations at the global level inspired him to focus his work more locally in Southern California.
Man looks out into forest from a fire lookout tower.

Lookout Towers Still Play a Role in Fire Monitoring

Thousands of fire lookout towers were built throughout the U.S. in the first half of the 20th century. Today, while satellite and infra-red devices lessen the need for lookouts, they still have a place in the fire monitoring system.
An illustrated logo that says "Ozz Steaks & Seafood"

Like Queer Church on Sundays: Ozz Supper Club Gave Young LGBTQ a Place to Belong

If you remember Ozz Supper Club — popularly known as Ozz — in Buena Park, California, you remember a magical time of budding queerness and mutual bonding at the gay club near Knotts.