Campaign Contributions

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Campaign Contributions are an expression of support by an individual for a candidate, party, or campaign. They are also a matter of public record.

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2008-11-07 14:44:14   I think the idea that you should your alter your patronage of a business based on the beliefs of that business's employees is silly. If a business owner makes a statement or endorsement as a business - that is one thing. However, what is appearing in several places on the wiki are the beliefs of associate or employee of a business coming to light that have nothing to do with the business' actions or policy. Merging these two together is a union of church(belief) and state(business), and is the antithesis of what myself and many others in Davis fight for. —PeterAnselmo


2008-11-07 15:21:23   I believe in the sanctity of the private ballot; and I'm still undecided on the whole issue of campaign contributions. For the moment there are campaign contributions and that personal expression of support via monetary means is an embodiment of freedom which makes it a good thing. The particular dressings of the program which limit amounts and are just the major parties playing games I'm not as impressed by.

However if one is going to engage in economic support, which has been decided is no longer a private action, then part of the price of doing so is taking responsibility for that action. It may be that we shouldn't as a practice post that to the page for the business where they work, but attaching that action to the person, and linking that person from the business shouldn't be seen as wrong. If there are two businesses in town that offer comparable services and I believe strongly in issue "X" and one of the owners has paid money to the opposition to "X", I should be able to take that into account when making a decision about my patronage. It may not always make sense in every case, but to suggest that one's choice not to economically reward those with whom one disagrees is silly doesn't make sense to me. It isn't a violation of the separation of church and state, rather a tying of the freedom to make campaign contributions with the responsibility to take one's economic hit for taking that public stand from those whom it is unpopular with.

This is after all the basis for the majority of economic boycotts. Business owners have the freedom to use their money as political expression (campaign contribution) and shoppers have the equal freedom to use their money as political expression (boycott). Everybody is free, in fact the shopper is even a little more free because the amount that they might not spend could easily exceed the amount spent by the business owner. —JasonAller


2008-11-07 15:44:38   I suppose PeterAnselmo's point is valid, but in a certain scope: an employee of a business is one thing, but when one is talking about the owner, their actions could be considered to be synonymous with the business itself. —JoePomidor


2008-11-07 15:50:57   I mostly agree with the last few statements, but where do we draw the line as to whether it makes it on the business's wiki page? My proposal is to only include the contribution if the donor was the Business as an entity, or the sole owner. I think we can agree that a business shouldn't be responsible for what it's hourly employees support (indeed, it would be employee discrimination for the business to act on such things), and I would carry that up all the way to part-owners. I can tell you after working at a downtown Davis shop with split ownership, the owners often disagree about what's best for a company. —PeterAnselmo


2008-11-07 16:03:40   I agree that it probably isn't worth noting that an hourly sales clerk made a donation on the page of the business that they work for. It is a matter of public record that the contribution was made, and if that same clerk ran for City Council then their past political support should be fair game for their public figure page. It probably isn't worth anyone's effort to go and create a public figure page for every person making a donation, so the situation is somewhat self limiting.

Family members of the owner... I'd tend to say are a lot closer along the spectrum to the owner than an hourly employee. If a business owner uses her husband to make large donations so that they don't show up under her name... that is again closer to the probably relevant side of things. It isn't a clear cut issue. —JasonAller


2008-11-07 18:32:28   I am bothered by the idea of public display of a business person's contributions as if it was their business that did so. I would be reluctant to patronize a business that contributed its own money to a cause / candidate I felt was offensive, because that implies that the business feels access to that candidate or cause is a part of doing business.

Individuals are not the same. Contributions of employees should NEVER be used to reflect on the business or business owners will pressure employees on how or whether contribute because it would reflect on the business. This is, obviously, very bad for all parties. Business owners are at least legitimate targets, but I still find it uncomfortable. It gets distressingly close to choosing based on race, religion, which correlate to campaigns. If the business puts a sign in their window, or donates goods or money to an organization, that is fair game, because the business did it, not the person.

Here's my question — Let's say it is the 1960s. Boycotting a restaurant that doesn't serve blacks, or hosts the local segregation meeting is good. But what about a store owner, whether white-owned or black, that donated money to MLK's groups, or to a pro-civil-rights politician. We like that person, right? Could that person make a living in the South if we used the boycott standards you propose? Avoiding a business because the (white) owner's wife gave money to a civil-rights candidate would drive out one of the good people in the town and remove the centrists from any community. Even though, on Prop 8 or McCain, the division is close enough to 50% that this is just an example, the principle is the same. Holders of minority opinions should have the RIGHT to RESPECTFULLY act on that opinion in the right channels — contributions, letters to legislators. This doesn't apply to hate speech, to discrimination, etc, but we should show the same respect to the proper expression of minority opinions as if we were the ones living in the minority.

see also discussion on Ken's Bike & SkiNotTires


2008-11-16 20:52:24   I am opposed to the posting of *any* contribution information of private individuals. For the record, my family and I all voted no on 8. I have no issues with the issue. OTOH, the secret ballot is a fundamental part of our political system. I don't think that an individuals' political contributions should be made public, whether it is allowed by law or not. Furthermore, when a business is boycotted because of one individual's contribution, everyone associated with that business is punished.

Let me offer a hypothetical ethics question for the group. Should we allow someone to post all the names of African Americans that put a Yes on 8 sign in their yard? Would that be acceptable? How about a list of where all the Mormons and Baptists live? —JimStewart


2008-11-16 21:05:18   I always find it interesting to find out to whom my professors are giving money. —BrentLaabs


2008-11-16 22:30:35   I worked up a compromise: Campaign Contributions/Proposition 8 (2008). I think this sets good precedent: we could make different subpages of Campaign Contributions based on the interests of the wiki. Clearly, a lot of people are interested in Prop 8 supporters (on the wiki, in the paper, etc). I agree with JasonAller and others - it's public info. And if people are interested, it's worth being listed. I think as long as some sort of generic obvious disclaimer is on the page regarding employee vs owner, it's good to go. I don't think it's silly for people to alter their patronages based on political or social differences with the business. Hopefully, they have accurate information about it though, especially regarding who. The database seems to offer that, as in the funeral home example. This sort of subpage listing also allows smaller, less intrusive comments on each business page, such as 'This business donated campaign money for/against [Proposition 8 (2008)], for/against [Proposition 6 (2012), etc' —EdWins


2008-11-16 22:34:45   I suppose the real difficulty lies in what is and what isn't worth noting. In this case, Condemned2befree seemed to have posted on every page that did have at least one employee donate. I suggest someone gather that list, post it in it's entirety on that page, and in the next edit, screen out the more trivial ones: such as an employee, as opposed to manager/owner/director/whatever. Especially for restaurants, that can have a ton of employees, it seems really silly. But I think that type of subpage is the best sort of compromise: it directs talk to the subpage, and away from the individual listings. —EdWins


2008-11-17 12:52:28   Hey guys, What is going on in here? Did I miss anything? —StevenDaubert


2008-11-19 16:08:58   Hey Guys: I had no idea the posts I made would start any kind of a brouhaha, so I never checked back until today. First, I want to say that I totally agree that posting to the pages of businesses, just because an employee donated to the cause was probably not a good idea, and if it wasn't reverted, I would have requested it myself. However, I do believe firmly that if a business owner, or someone who has a considerable financial interest in the success of a business above just receiving paycheck, donates to a cause you believe distasteful to many in the community it sits in, then I see no reason that one could not post a minor comment reflecting that. We all know that the only way to vote after election day is with your dollar. If we're not to have this, then why don't I just look up businesses in the Yellow Pages, you know? You may not agree with me, and I welcome your respectful approach to that debate. But that is the way I feel. —condemned2bfree


2008-11-19 16:24:36   I tried to show some sort of compromise to help deal with prop 8, and future propositions or whatever people feel may be important. I included the funeral home and a surveying company, as you can see Campaign Contributions/Proposition 8 (2008) here and on their pages. The whole point was to try to move discussion away from the business page, such as what happened with Sam's a couple of years ago, and to redirect it to a subpage. I wasn't really sure how to include the link on their respective pages, and tried editing it down to the most basic link. —EdWins


2008-11-21 10:50:11   I have thought about this issue quite a bit in the past week, and just wanted to offer my $0.02. Campaign contributions are a matter of public record, and anyone who cares enough about a measure can certainly look up which businesses and business owners contributed to which causes. With regard to posting the information on the wiki, I feel that the following distinction should be made: Was it the business or the business owner that made the contribution? In the former case, while I would not put it on the business's wiki page, I do feel that an entry might have some standing. In the latter case, I do not feel it is appropriate at all to place the information in the business entry. The business entry should be about the business and not individuals that own or work for the business. If there is compelling information for the individual, put in on a separate page for the individual.

Consider the case where a business owner makes a contribution as an owner, but where his or her employees make contributions to the contrary position. Is it fair to punish this business if you disagree with the position of the owner? Would it be the prudent thing to do, considering that you will most likely be causing more financial harm to the employees (who support your ideology) and not the owner? Also keep in mind that in posting such information on the page, the result could be counter-intuitive. There is a chance that they could see a rise in business by people who have the opposite ideology from your own. For example, the funeral home is one business that has been singled out with contribution information on prop 8. Keeping in mind that Yolo County broke 41.4% in favor and 58.6% against prop 8, you might want to ask yourself what demographics were the primary contributors to each side and what are the primary constituents of the business in question. I don't know for sure, but I would bet that the 41% who supported prop 8 is made up of a much higher percentage of older voters and permanent voters (not students who are here for a short time) and are much much more likely to be utilizing the services of the funeral home than the 58% that were against. —DavidGrundler


2008-11-21 11:33:55   For what it's worth, I think there's little distinction between a "private individual" and a "private individual's business." You, as a business owner, represent the business you own, plain and simple. Many people, including myself, vote with their dollar. We frequent so-called "green" businesses and avoid those who don't show as much concern for the environment. And we just might avoid businesses owned by individuals who donate to campaigns we disagree with. With regards to Prop 8, this isn't just an issue of raising local taxes for better schools. This is a fundamental issue about human and religious rights (for both sides), and if you don't see the difference, there's not much I can tell you.

As for the "sanctity of the secret ballot," this isn't a ballot. The individual can vote anyway they want and tell or not tell whoever they want. This is about a public donation, and if you want to make it private, go change the law.

As for whether this might benefit a business, such as the funeral home, because people who share Mr. Winscombe's views might provide him further patronage, well, more power to him. So long as we're all informed ...

... which leads me to the purpose of this Wiki, which seems to me to inform others about things which they would need to spend inordinate amounts of time to find out for themselves. The collective is a service so long as it continues to inform the individual. Otherwise, why do it at all? Now, we don't need to include long diatribes on each business's home page relating to the issue. But a simple reference about campaign contributions, with a link leading to the balanced page concerning the issue, I think, is totally appropriate, provides a service to users, and is fair to everyone (which is how it sits now).

If you want this site to only be about whether the service at a restaurant was crappy or whether the french fries were too crunchy, well, I don't know what to say, but I would like to see more. —condemned2bfree

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