As of this month, the Salt Lake City Council has a unique opportunity to greatly serve the voters who elected them. The Council has been urged by many public interest groups to adopt a sound campaign-finance reform measure for City Council and mayoral candidates. Such action, if adopted, could serve as an example and a precedent to other state and national legislative bodies for similar reforms.

Consideration of campaign finance reform in Salt Lake City started in October 1996 when the Council appointed a task force to develop a proposal for action on the issue. The next year, the Council agreed to consider a set of options that the task force proposed. They also set a 90-day public comment period on the proposed changes.The major thrust of these changes includes mandatory limits on the amounts a candidate for the Council or office of mayor may accept from individuals, businesses or political action committees (limits would be $1,000 for Council and $5,000 for mayoral candidates); specific dates for reporting contributions; and voluntary total limits to be spent on an election as well as voluntary limits on personal contributions to a candidate's own campaign.

It is extremely important that each citizen of Salt Lake City contact his or her Council member to urge that the Council adopt these proposed campaign-finance reform measures. Salt Lake's citizens will be the beneficiaries. And other government legislative bodies will see that such reforms actually can be accomplished.

Katherine Brim

Salt Lake City