CLEAN MONEY…There was some good news for California Democrats today:

Defying some of his strongest supporters in the race for governor, state Treasurer Phil Angelides on Thursday threw his support behind a November initiative that would use taxpayer money to fund campaigns and would markedly restrict political donations to candidates.

….Big corporate donors and major unions ? such as the California Teachers Assn., one of Angelides’ biggest backers ? oppose the campaign finance overhaul.

….But [Angelides] characterized Proposition 89 as nothing less than protecting democracy and creating a system “where it’s not how much money you can raise, but the power of your ideas.”

“It has become a dialing-for-dollars democracy, with the unjust influence of the special interests silencing the voices of Californians,” Angelides said at a rally at the nurses union headquarters in Oakland.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, unsurprisingly, opposes the measure. Too European, he says. Plus it raises taxes by 0.2%.

Well, I think I can put up with that. The California initiative is based on the Arizona model, which has been pretty successful. Basically, if you gather a sufficient number of $5 contributions, you qualify for public financing. If your opponent decides to forego public financing and raises more money than you, the state matches it. Private financing is thus still legal, but there’s not much point to it.

Marc Cooper had me all depressed about the possibility of Angelides endorsing the initiative back when it qualified, but now I’m slightly encouraged. It’s still an uphill battle to get it passed, but at least the odds have improved.