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

  • I think that there is a major difference between the sanctity of the private ballot and political speech. Your vote is private, but once you stick a lawn sign up, or donate money you loose some of that privacy. —JasonAller
    • Agreed. The issue is what's acceptable within the Wiki community. There are a lot of things that are public knowledge and not acceptable on daviswiki. Take the M*g*t Cop issue for example. I hope our standards of civility and personal respect transcend simple public knowledge.
      • Good question. We post endorsements including those of city council candidates endorsing presidential candidates and people endorsing ASUCD and city council candidates. How does that differ from people endorsing causes with their money? If there is a difference between the public lending of one's name and the gifting of money then perhaps we can build that into the wiki standard, but if there isn't then I think it comes closer to "You are welcome to speak your mind, but be prepared to stand behind your words" interpretation. —JasonAller
        • For the sake of the discussion, let's agree that there is a large body of semi-public information available to anyone that takes the time to research it. Stuff like an unpopular teacher's or police officer's address and phone number. Or that someone known to the daviswiki community left the Planned Parenthood building Friday morning. Or that JimStewart picked his nose in the Coop parking lot. I take the position that *none* of this information should be posted on daviswiki without the consent of the person. On one level, this seems to me to be a simple level of respect and courtesy. On the other hand, it may just be me and not the community consensus. I look forward to other peoples' opinions.—JimStewart
          • I agree with you: none of your examples are ones I can envision 'fitting' into a page. In this particular university town though, that prides itself on it's diversity and being progressive and all that jazz, I think public endorsements of politics are quite a different scenario. To agree or disagree about an issue is one thing, everyone has an opinion. But when people either put in personal support by posting fliers, passing out pamphlets, going door to door, etc, or else fiscal support by donating money to help fight for a cause is quite another. However, I think the crux of the matter is "who" is of worth noting: random citizen, probably not. Someone with some sort of influence or important position (such as a city council member, of course). And like I said in my comment below, I know many people who won't want to support businesses that had owners/managers/etc donate money in an issue they cared a lot for. But there's a big difference between a random employee of a place, and the owner. ie: employee at Sophias is a trivial thing to note, Purves of Purves and Associates isn't trivial. (Especially if they're looking for a lawyer. Or if a loved one passes, and they need to find a funeral parlor, they may not want the one owned by the guy they would vehemently disagree with. Etc.) Some people care, the real problem (imo) on the wiki is trying to set some arbitrarily fair-rule compromise. -ES

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

  • The issue is not that it's public info, the issue is whether or not researched info about people should be posted on daviswiki without their permission. And I kinda thought that the consensus before Prop 8 happened was no. —JimStewart\
    • Please read my above nestled reply to you, rather then remake it here. In other cases, I generally would agree it's probably too much of a hassle to try to include, much less argue, the merits of publically available information. The issue really seems to be "what info" is safe to post. I think politics is pretty clear cut: you're on one side of the fence. Check yes, or check no. Or in this case, who did they write their check out to.. Does every single proposition of every election need a wiki page? I really hope not, and don't think so. But rather then argue hypothetical what if's, I think we should work with what we have or want. Most people likely don't care about general contributions, but a great many people do seem to care personally about Prop 8, so it would seem to warrant some sort of wiki compromise (such as the subpage, directing away from individual listings). Personally, it makes sense to me, such as the raised point about lawyers and funeral service owners. Patronizing their business directly affects them. An "employee" however.. See below, I guess. -ES
      • I wasn't aware that ES and Edwins were the same person. And what I think I'm hearing is that you want an ad hock free pass on this issue. Well, so be it if it's the consensus. Let's just be sure it is the consensus. —JimStewart
        • I don't think there's ever really a true consensus on the wiki. Not a lasting one, anyway. And it's not ad hoc at all, this isn't a new thing. There are precedents, such as the 'politics' page of Sam's Mediterranean which is much, much larger and based on what a single person alleges he observed. The page about Curves includes information that the head donates a lot to anti-abortion stuff. For a while, the Ikea page had a section about the founders history with Hitlers Youth. The talk about Sam's was opened up again a couple of weeks ago (I am in favor of shortening it to the original comment, and a three sentence reply paragraph, deleting the page of talk). The majority of people thought the Ikea's thing was too unrelated, and we ended up removing it. There are lots of similar examples throughout the wiki, past and current. I think the talk we're currently having on this page is actually the first time we have tried to set up some sort of protocol regarding these sorts of things, and it only seems so different because it involves multiple pages/listings. Nonetheless, I stick by my idea that we have a Campaign Contrib/Prop # (year) type format, so that individual listings only contain a brief sentence with a link. I think wiki consensus will come more into effect regarding what is and isn't noteworthy: I doubt many people will consider a single employee of Sophias important to note, but a lawyer with his own firm will likely be considered worth noting. etc. -ES;
        • Post script, if you're concerned about researched private info (things like sightings, nose pickings, who went into what store (per your examples), then you should join in talks regarding such pages like Visor Lady and other "town characters" or whatever they are. I would agree that stuff is junk and most of it shouldn't belong on the wiki.

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

  • which side will your $0.02 donation be going? —JoePomidor
    • I made the mistake years ago of giving to a campaign, and because the information is public, I have never stopped receiving junk mail from other campaigns (way more than the typical person gets), so my $0.02 will be staying in my pocket. —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

  • "You, as a business owner, represent the business you own, plain and simple." I don't agree with that at all. What a business owner does as an individual should not reflect on the business itself, unless the business is a sole proprietorship. —DavidGrundler
    • Not to take this point too far, but OK, let's say the business was run by a Neo-Nazi. Would you still frequent it? Would you not want people to know about it?. Now, I'm not saying that a Neo-Nazi is the same thing as someone who contributed to Yes on 8. I'm just saying that your point that "What a business owner does as an individual should not reflect on the business itself..." might not be universally applicable and therefore flawed on its own. If you agree, then perhaps the issue is instead something like "How big does the issue have to be before you can take patronage of the individual's business into account?" or something like that. That's a reasonable point and one up for good debate. —condemned2bfree
      • I agree with the message you're trying to get across, but it pains me to see someone on "my side" of the debate transgress Godwin's Law. —JoePomidor
        • Haha, fair enough. In my defense, I'm not "comparing" the Yes on 8 people to Nazis (and anybody who does is a moron). I'm using the analogy to point out a logical flaw in the argument, that being the assumption that people don't use the decisions of business owners to decide whether to frequent the business. Here's another example: A lot of people choose not to go to Starbucks because co-owner and Chairman of the Board Howard Schultz has donated a lot of money to organizations in Israel that promote a very tough stance in the negotiations for liberating Palestine. Point well taken, however. —condemned2bfree