By Karen Billing
As the election season is officially over in Rancho Santa Fe, one former candidate is calling for reform in the way campaigns are run in the future. As a result of his experience running for the board, former Rancho Santa Fe Association board candidate Dominick Addario said he is proposing the establishment of “campaign conduct” guidelines that include caps on spending and a code for civility between candidates.
Addario presented his campaign reform suggestions at the June 19 RSF Association board meeting. On spending limits, he proposed an absolute limit of $2,500 or less in total campaign expenditures and that candidates should refrain from multiple media advertisements or mailers.
“Clearly the last campaign had spending well beyond what has been historically seen in the community,” Addario said. “It’s damaging and I hope we can heal and move forward.”
Addario suggested that candidates should refrain from negative attacks on other candidates or supporters both verbally and in writing, and that the board should review all campaign materials before being distributed.
Demeaning and mocking of the candidates and/or their supporters would be “strictly prohibited” and Addario said the board should have the authority to disqualify a candidate who violates the code of conduct.
Addario said that the RSF Association board needs to do a better job of monitoring campaigns and enforcement. He said he believes the board was “passive to the extreme” during the last election.
Addario said that things need to change if they want to continue to draw good people to the board.
“There are so many qualified people who said they would never run because they don’t want to deal with the mockery and expense,” Addario said.
RSF resident Mike Licosati said that the board should not waste any time or money exploring the issue of campaign spending — he cited the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision that prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures.
“As idealistic as (Addario’s) goals may be, it’s unconstitutional. You can’t put limits on campaign spending,” Licosati said.
Addario also congratulated Ann Boon and Kim Eggleston on their election to the RSF Association board and wished them the best in their terms serving the community.