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Don’t fall for scare tactics used against Democracy Dollars

Unsurprisingly, Pat Rogers is also among the few people spreading misinformation about Proposition 2, the Democracy Dollars proposal – because big money politics works for him and his clients. In his most recent, and redundant, op-ed “Democracy Dollars are a waste of tax dollars,” Journal, Sept. 20, Rogers launched his predictable attack on something that will benefit all Burqueños.

Why would corporate lobbyists like Rogers, and a few well-connected donors and lobbyists want to stop all of us from contributing to candidates? It’s pretty clear that people like Rogers, who benefit from a political system that favors large campaign checks and insider access, are interested in keeping power for their own benefit.

One of Rogers’ clients is Western Albuquerque Land Holdings (WALH), the developer with an Arizona address and Barclays money that stands to pocket millions in tax dollars to build Santolina, a sprawling, unnecessary and publicly subsidized housing development on Albuquerque’s southwest mesa. Despite vocal resident objection, water use concerns and multiple analyses showing questionable economic benefits to the city, wealthy private developers like WALH are able to pour big money into politics and lobbying to get their way. It’s no wonder Rogers doesn’t like everyday people having more political power with Democracy Dollars; it cuts into his profits!

In the past, Rogers and his clients have been calculated and vindictive in their political spending and lawsuits, repeatedly attacking community organizations with the same lies and accusing them of wasting taxpayer dollars while at the same time using money to set up politicians and the votes to approve and publicly subsidize their plans – with taxpayer dollars he claims to protect!

It is not surprising that Rogers has resorted to fiction and scare tactics to block a community effort that will strengthen the voice of ordinary people in government, and reduce the access and control lobbyists like him have over local officials. He knows the City Clerk will administer and further define the program, responsibly following guidelines for donations, much like the office already does for the existing public financing program, yet he’s making up a list of who will receive Democracy Dollars, such as children – they will not. Similarly, the cost numbers Rogers cooked up have no grounding in policy or reality. Resorting to dystopian fantasies and fear tactics are stock-in-trade for Rogers, and it’s irresponsible of the Albuquerque Journal to repeatedly publish such fabrications without fact-checking his claims.

It’s hard to trust the words of a man paid to win public subsidies for out-of-state corporate clients, while claiming concern for local school and public safety funding. We need to build a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted and everyone’s voice is heard. It’s time for everyday, hard-working Burqueños to have a bigger voice in local decisions, and voting yes for Democracy Dollars – Proposition 2 – moves us forward in that direction.

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