Candidate Ben Allen, running as a democrat, gets $300,000 from the right wing guy who wanted Henry Waxman out of office – Bill Bloomfield – and then Ben tells me he feels “weird” about it.
But not weird enough to make a public statement about the money, where it came from and what Bill Bloomfield wants in return for his three hundred thousand bucks. Ben would have to be a lot more weirded out than this is making him feel.
I’m guessing Bloomfield thinks he’s buying a Ben Allen who would NOT be Waxman-like on the issues. I’m guessing he feels like Ben Allen would be the best representative of folks who consider themselves Republicans.
Ben would protest that, but money talks and that $300k is speaking much louder than any of the weak rationalizations and justifications Ben is now making.
You want to show what you’re really made of, Ben? Publicly turn down that money and tell the guy trying to give it to you that you cannot be bought and you will not allow him to define you and that you know what he’s trying to pull – just like all the rest of us know.
Yes indeed, it is these moments in the spotlight that define character – if you ask the Greenius – and if there’s one thing this race has, it’s plenty of characters.
Now I don’t know much about politics and I’ll be the first to admit that I think both political parties have failed us miserably and have outlived their time. Are they the lessor of two evils or the evil of two lessors?
I feel that people who spend too much time on party politics are wasting that precious time which would be far better spent working on the actual issues, but what the hell do I know? I’m an environmental activist, not a party person. I will never invite you to my house so some guy like Ben Allen can hit you up for even more money – yeah, that Bloomfield $300k just ain’t enough – so he can “communicate his position on the issues” on an endless stream of 20th century style mailers featuring giant photos of Ben’s mug which I just put directly into the recycling bin – like everyone else I know does.
But this election season in my own South Bay of Los Angeles just keeps getting curious and curiouser – and it’s impossible for your friendly neighborhood Greenius not to note and comment on these curiosities. It’s a damn good thing I read plenty of Lewis B. Carroll in my youth because the Jabberwocky are ruling along the coast and there’s barely enough room down that rabbit hole for all the players in this Blunderland.
Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like A Man?
In my local state senate race it almost looks like all that conservative money going to candidates who call themselves “democrats” is designed to keep the the most progressive, most environmentally tough, and most honest candidate running, Betsy Butler, from getting that 26th State Senate District seat. Curious, no?
Seems pretty obvious that Betsy’s tough, frank and direct style – which is all business and all focus on the issues – has her being criticized for doing the exact same things that, when done by men are honored and praised as “strong, powerful leadership,” and “a fighter for the people.” But when smart, no bullshit women do the same thing, they’re accused of being “ballbusters” “bitchy” and “not team players.” What laughable hypocrisy. If YOU had to deal with the subpar intellectual and flawed skill levels of the average man in elected office your whole career, I bet you wouldn’t want to take one for that “team” either.
That dog just won’t hunt.
But I don’t think Billy Big Bucks Bloomfield is a misogynist. Billy’s no doubt spreading his Benjamins (try not to visualize that) because he wants less regulation, more development and someone who won’t stand up for the climate against greenhouse gas emitters and polluters. But Billy Bloomfield isn’t alone. In fact, he’s just a bit player in this production.
Why does the right wing front group that helps Chevron and Occidental Petroleum launder its money for pro-oil candidates, the “Alliance For California’s Tomorrow, A California Business Coalition” keep pumping more and more money into Manhattan Beach Mayor, Amy Howorth’s campaign? How curious is that?
But how to satisfy one’s curiosity on such contrary machinations?
We all know your ever-loving Greenius is certainly no journalist – though I played one professionally for Patch.com back in the days before the Patch died from severe drought conditions.
But I am an avid reader and researcher – going all the way back to the days I wrote erotic fiction for men’s magazines (most excellent training for observing the political scene) – and I was fascinated to read yesterday about the good and generous folks at the Alliance For California’s Tomorrow two nice donations to Amy’s campaign. One was for $25,177 and then another for $24,956. I’d call that a Fat Tuesday.
But Monday didn’t suck either, cause the Alliance donated $29,998 to the Howorth for State Senate campaign.
Before that they sent a check for $900, another for $25,000 and one more for $10,400.
All that money from a group with such a cool Star Wars like name made me even more curious. So I checked with some political pros I know and they pointed me to a 2012 piece in Climate Progress that connected the dots between the Alliance California’s Tomorrow and Chevron Oil money being funneled to candidates.
This Isn’t Your Rebel’s Alliance
Turns out the Alliance folks are the very same folks who helped convicted criminal, former State Senator, Rod “Solar Doesn’t Work” Wright, seemingly get $424,000 of Chevron’s money in 2012. And the money laundering looks very easy to follow on Climate Progress:
And now right here in River City, $115,000 of anti-environmental, pro fossil fuel dough–ray-me flowing into my friend, Amy Howorth’s bank account. As IF she was going to be supportive of the Alliance For California’s agenda of less regulation and more greenhouse gas emissions for the Business Coalition. Ha!
And this time it apparently wasn’t Chevron doing the money dance to get their cash to the Alliance, it was Occidental Petroleum currently the #1 contributor to the Alliance For California’s Tomorrow. What dopes!
Don’t They Know Our Amy Howorth?
Doesn’t Oxy Oil know that Amy Howorth helped launch a 100% renewable energy goal in Manhattan Beach in March? Amy knows we need to transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy as quickly as possible because climate scientists give us only about a decade to do so in order to avoid climate catastrophe.
Does Oxy Oil really think that just because Amy doesn’t have a single word about MB2025 on her website, her Facebook page or in any of her campaign mailers that she’s doesn’t really believe that climate change deserves that sense of urgency? Do they think that just because she never even mentions the issue when she’s out campaigning that means she’s not totally behind it? Don’t they really know Amy like we here in the South Bay do?
I’m guessing Amy is actually doing the old political “rope a dope” wherein she takes their money and then uses it to spread the MB2025 plan for 100% renewable energy for Manhattan Beach to all of the South Bay and launches SouthBay2025 to make all 15 of our SB cities 100% renewable energy powered by 2025. From there, the entire state of California!
The joke will be on Chevron and Oxy oil then, won’t it!? The deniers will be the ones denied this time.
And in this warming, melting world we live in how curious will that be?
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
4 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Buying A New State Senator From The South Bay”
Check again, Joe. The amount now reported is a whopping $227,000 contributed to Amy Howorth’s campaign by super PAC ‘Alliance for California’s Tomorrow’, and their contributors have grown from big oil to now include big tobacco (Philip Morris) and a committee led by none other than *Paul Ryan*! Good luck with that theory that Howorth will take their money and turn on them. http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2014/June-2014/06_02_2014_Outide_Outside_Spending_Grows_in_Final_Days_of_State_Senate_Race.html
You’re right Gerry, I saw that. Even more very dirty money flowing like beer at Fiesta Hermosa. But Gerry – I asked Mayor Amy about this and she told me that no amount of money could change her values or her votes against cigarette smoking or in favor of renewable energy and transitioning off of fossil fuels. She wouldn’t just say such a thing to someone like me, would she, if she just had a fingers crossed behind her back and didn’t mean it, would she? It’s hard to imagine someone so blatantly trying to pull the wool over my eyes knowing how personally I would take that and how strongly and frankly I would respond. Especially not a friend like Amy Howorth. I can’t even fathom such a thing happening between us.
If any candidate truly believes he/she is so impervious to the impacts of unlimited cash rolling into his/her campaign from Super PACS, why then would he/she be so concerned about the independent expenditures of an *individual* (not even an ‘alliance’ designed to hide its donors) on a competitor’s campaign that he/she would find it appropriate to mail out a particularly distasteful and divisive, last minute ‘hit piece’ that suddenly attempts to grossly discredit both that competitor and the individual supporter?
Be careful, my friend — you’re beginning to come across like the proverbial lamb being led to slaughter — and I know you’re smarter than that! 😉
And in this instance, I encourage you to look much closer at smart guy Ben Allen:
“My big issue is education,” he said. “But I grew up swimming in the ocean here and hiking the hills. I am deeply committed to protecting the environment. And I am opposed to the drilling in Hermosa Beach.”
First off, Gerry, thanks for weighing in since we respect and value your opinion – even if we don’t agree with you about Ben Allen, an awfully nice fellow with all the backbone of one of those inflatable stick figure advertising guys who blow about in the wind. I think Ben is in the perfect position exactly where he is and there’s certainly no reason for him to go all Peter Principle on us now just because his political godfather, Zev, has anointed him and Republican-Too-Shifty-To-Call-Himself-That, Bloomfield has showered him with more cash than anyone else in the race got.
I know that YOU are far too sharp to be taken in by a single quote about oil drilling in Hermosa thrown out there after the election numbers came in. I think we both have a lot of homework to do on both of these two candidates. But thanks for even fathoming me as a poor little lamb who has lost his way. I like that spin on softening my image 🙂 Sometimes it seems difficult for readers to sense my Cheshire grin or to hear my sarcastic New Jersey accent in their heads while reading my posts. I really should produce them as podcasts to erase all doubt.
I think I made myself pretty plainly understood in last week’s piece about Al Muratsuchi and I believe I may have come across more lion than lamb on that one, Gerry, but let me know what you think.
One thing I already know from meeting and talking with both Ben and Sandra: If I’m in a battle that needs both brains and fierceness, she’s the one of the two I think is up to that job. Maybe Ben will prove me wrong and step it up. But right now he’d be on my bench waiting for Sandra to get injured or tired before he gets on the court.
As for the primary election mailers and direction the campaign took, I won’t argue with you on that, except to add that there’s another real story to be told about the low rent characters who serve as the political consultants to these candidates. I haven’t met one yet that passes the smell test and perhaps the biggest fault of each of these candidates is their taste and judgement in operatives.