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Calitics - Front Page

"Calitics - Front Page" - 3 new articles

  1. March 8 Los Angeles Election Progressive Voter Guide
  2. Kill the OC Fairgrounds Boondoggle; Take a Whack at Lobbyists
  3. Half a Billion
  4. More Recent Articles
  5. Search Calitics - Front Page
  6. Prior Mailing Archive

March 8 Los Angeles Election Progressive Voter Guide

Well, it may not have the same national attention as the impending coronation election of Rahm Emmanuel as the next Mayor of Chicago, but Los Angeles has an election coming up in two weeks.  There are many interesting races, including the fascinating races between Bernard Parks and Forescee Hogan-Rowles in CD8 and former reality TV host Rudy Martinez taking on incumbent Jose Huizar in CD14, but as is often the case, the ballot measures often get very little attention.  Unfortunately, that's kind of the way it is with local elections.

So, what's a good progressive voter to do? Well, the Courage Campaign, in a project that I helped out with, has now released their March 8 LA Progressive Voter Guide.  In it you'll find recommendations from the Courage Campaign, the LA Democratic Party, as well as other progressive organizations.

The turnout on this election is going to be simply abysmal, so it is imperative that progressive voters turn out.  So, get informed, and be sure to vote on March 8.

NOTE: I'll admit it, I'm a local ballot measure nerd.  So, in addition to helping out the Courage Campaign with this project, I also worked with Yes on Measure L on their online presence.  Both projects were complementary, but were very independent of each other.

Eric Garcetti is a Courage Campaign member and President of the Los Angeles City Council. Please take a moment to read Eric's imporant message on what's at stake for progressives in the upcoming municipal election and be sure to vote on March 8. -Rick Jacobs.

Dear Friend,

Like you, I just got my March 8th LA City election sample ballot. It's an important one, but it's a long one too -- in addition to various candidates, you are being asked to vote on ten ballot measures. To help you make informed choices on these measures, the Courage Campaign has produced a handy voter guide to tell you what Courage members have endorsed and how other progressive groups stand.

Several of these measures will bring about much-needed reforms and protect the services we all care about. That's why it's important that we are as informed as possible at the polls.

Courage Campaign has done the homework, checking in with activists and experts at organizations you trust. They also asked members like you what you'd support.

Click here for help in making your choices for the March 8th election:

Let's make informed choices for a better Los Angeles.


Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles City Council President


Kill the OC Fairgrounds Boondoggle; Take a Whack at Lobbyists

Stories at Voice of OC here and here as well as a story right here at Calitics continue to reveal the shenanigans at the Orange County Fair Board.

Today we learned that the FPPC has begun an investigation of former Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman for illegal lobbying.

Governor Brown has three choices as to how to unravel the mess that Schwarzenegger and his cronies created in Orange County.

The first choice is to negotiate with representatives from the Orange County Fair Board, who have been contriving some "revenue sharing plan". Hopefully, the Governor and his staff will have a chance to read  this profile of Fair Board Member Dave Ellis , current Fair Board Chair and shadowy Republican political operative. Given Ellis' actions and contempt for open government laws, we're hoping that Jerry Brown just summarily fires Ellis when he arrives in Sacramento as one of the Fair Board's authorized negotiators.

Dealing with the Orange County Fair Board would be the governmental equivalent of negotiating with terrorists.

The second choice is to eat the fruit of the poisonous tree, and accept the pending offer from a group of local Orange County millionaires to purchase the Fairgrounds.  
After Dave Ellis' schemes collapsed under the weight of public scrutiny, Schwarzenegger continued the bidding process, this time to the advantage of other Republican insiders, operating under the name FMW.

FMW has made a full press offense trying to justify their deal, with full page advertising in local papers and support from newly elected Assemblyman Allan "Minute" Mansoor.

But there are a lot of question about this group, and about the players.

In the words of Dave Padilla, former Fair Grounds Director, and the only Director who refused to play with Ellis'schemes,

Given that the deal makes no financial sense for the state, and given that the community is overwhelmingly opposed to the sale, many have searched throughout the process to find the governor's (Schwarzenegger's)  motivation. The focus of the "why" speculation now seems to be on financial payoff to his political supporters...

And, given all we know now, there certainly is a pattern of events to justify that suspicion. First we find out that Joanne Kozberg, a partner in California Strategies, one of the state's most powerful lobbying firms, chaired the governor's study that first raised and legitimized the idea of selling the Fairgrounds. Then we find out that Gary Hunt, a partner of Joanne Kozberg in California Strategies and the governor's former chief fundraiser has been representing FMW in what is, I am sure, a very lucrative contract throughout the so-called negotiations to buy the Fairgrounds.

There seem to be as many questions surrounding the genesis of the FMW bid as there are surrounding the mysterious midnight Big 5 deal that put the OC Fairgrounds up for sale.

The third choice, and the one that offers great political capital, is to reject both offers outright, and use the opportunity to attack corporate cronyism and wasteful practice of local  government agencies paying hundreds of dollars an hour to overpriced Sacramento lobbyists.

Our new Governor has already launched surprise attacks on two of the great boondoggles in the state - redevelopment and enterprise zones.

Now it's time to take a stab at the half a billion dollar a year spent on lobbying in Sacramento.  Take a whack at the guys at Capitol Strategies, Platinum Advisors, and the rest of the high dollar consultants who put together deals. Propose a bill that will preclude any local government funding for lobbyists, since it appears that local  government agencies, at 83 million a year, are the number one source of lobbying funds.

If local governments are on the ropes financially, let them cut lobbyists, lawyers and consultants before they start laying off teachers, paramedics, and police officers.  


Half a Billion

$538 million.  That's how much is said to have been spent on lobbying the legislature, and that's just what has been reported.  

Special interest groups with business before the state government spent $538 million on professional lobbyists to influence the passage or defeat of bills during the 2009-10 legislative session. ... State and local governments spent the most on lobbying of any special interest group. Other governmental entities that spent millions to lobby government included kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade schools and public universities. Education ranked fifth on the secretary of state's list.

Rounding out the top five lobbying spenders was the healthcare industry, including hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, and the manufacturing-industrial category, which includes powerful trade groups and giant industrial corporations such as General Electric Co. and Apple Inc (LA Times)

On the plus side, that number is slightly down from the previous legislative session, so yay for us, right? But the underlying fact is that it is just nearly impossible for the people to break through the din of the moneyed interests.  Sure, occasionally there can be a confluence of interests, or a really widespread organized movement (see organized labor), but when you get down to it, the interests with all the cash get the attention.  It's basic political law.

With real clean money still being a distant dream, this increased spending means that organizations without all that cash need to put a high premium on a visible presence and consistent contact with legislators.


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