Contrary to popular opinion, I think Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich might be on to something.
Forget this stuff about campaign finance reform and clean money and the other efforts to clean up government. It ought to be clear by now that all levels of government in America are owned by special interests of one sort or another. Nowhere is that truer than in L.A.
So let's stop pretending. Let's just sell public offices.
Instead of the mayor and City Council candidates going out hat in hand to unions, contractors, consultants, developers and fat cats of various types and giving them whatever they want in exchange for campaign cash, let's just put our elected offices up on eBay and sell them to the highest bidder.
At least then we would know who owns the office and have a pretty good idea of what they are up to. At least, it would bring transparency to government which would be cleaner and more honest than the system we now have in L.A. where the offices are sold to the highest bidders in secret
The city treasury would benefit, too. We'd save all that money from holding elections that nobody votes in. The millions spent on mailers and TV ads and fees to political consultants and various media manipulators would would go straight to the city general fund where it could be used to balance the budget and keep on giving 6 percent raises to pubic employees in the middle of the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression.
We wouldn't need gerrymandered districts either. The IBEW, the union that runs the Department of Water and Power for its own benefit by buying a piece of all 18 city elected officials, would simply spend $5 to $10 million and buy a seat outright.
So instead of Fourth District Councilman Tom LaBonge, we'd have IBEW Councilman Tom LaBonge.
Poor Jack Weiss wouldn't have to worry about being recalled by voters in the Fifth District. He'd simply be called Developer Consortium Councilman Jack Weiss.
There would be Police Union Councilman Dennis Zine and Central City Association Councilwoman Jan Perry and I'm-For-Sale--To-Anyone Councilman Tony Cardenas.
Even ordinary people might buy a seat if they're rich enough. Just imagine how much freer to represent the public interest Bill Rosendahl would be if he were know as the Rich-People's-Coalition Councilman Bill Rosendahl.
At least then there would be one council seat that actually was beholden to the public.
So I don't know why everybody is so outraged by the naked corruption of the Illinois governor. He was just being more direct than every other politician by going around asking everybody with power and money like his pal President-elect Barack Obama the only question that matters in politics today: "What's in it for me?"
We should stop calling for Blagojevich to be sent to prison for the rest of his life. We should be sending him around the country to teach seminars on how to clean up government -- or at least how to make the corruption so transparent even the voters could see it.