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Education Matters: Why not take private money out of politics?

January 21, 2011

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

The founders of this great nation had the foresight to separate government and religion, reasoning that the one has no business mixing with the other.

The wisdom of that separation, despite periodic efforts to establish a state religion, has been demonstrated throughout our country's history. But there is another separation that never has existed in this country, nor likely ever will, even though it involves a force as powerful as religion and more influential in determining how we govern ourselves.

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I refer to money mixing in with politics. I wish that our founding fathers had addressed that connection by enacting laws or establishing precedents, or even by writing a few lines in our Constitution (we can still add an amendment). I wish that they could have envisioned the poisonous combination that occurs when private money is rendered to politicians seeking election to public office.

From my read of American history, that suggestion has always fallen on deaf ears. Money gets things done, including buying the loyalty, and votes, of people we choose to lead us. What's the use in fighting a fact of life, as many view the connection?

Raising funds for a political campaign is an integral part of our election process, whether we are talking about federal, state or local contests. The situation in Glendale with Advanced Development and Investment Inc. has gotten messier and more complicated following disclosure of campaign contributions to City Council members by the developer through his subcontractors. I happen to believe that the present council is one of the best ever in Glendale's history. Despite that, each council member has learned the lesson that all politicians at all levels now regard as part of the job description: It takes money to get elected and stay elected.

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