Where Are Anaheim’s “Watchdogs” When It Comes To “Yes on Measure L” Funding?

Powerpac.org logoAs I reported on Thursday, contributions from unions and left-wing political groups to the Yes on Measure L campaign now total more than $200,000. It could be more: we don’t know how much the campaign received during July, prior to the beginning of 24-hour reporting of contributions of a $1,000 or more.

However, the contributions paint a very clear picture that shifting Anaheim City Council elections from an at-large to by-district basis is very important to these outside special interest groups.

One of those left-wing interest groups is San Francisco-based PowerPAC.org, which is one of the largest donors to the Measure L campaign, kicking in $45,000. I posted some background on this left-wing donor aggregator last month. The group describes itself this way in the San Francisco Bay Area Progressive Directory:

“PowerPAC directs financial and human resources to strategic local and state legislative fights, ballot initiatives, and other campaigns by organizing donors who are committed to social justice politics. We identify priority areas for investment and help donors achieve maximum political impact with their political giving.”

Who are those donors? Nobody but PowerPAC.org and its donors know the answer to that question. The $45,000 donation to Measure L came from the PowerPAC.org Voter Fund, and according to the California Secretary of State, that $45,000 came from PowerPAC.org. 

Which donor(s) gave that $45,000 to PowerPAC.org? Your guess is as good as mine. The left-wing advocacy group doesn’t disclose its donors. I have called and e-mailed PowerPAC.org a number of times, and am either ignored or given an insincere promise that someone will get back to me.

The irony is that those Anaheim politicos and activists who are supporting Measure L also love to denounce the influence of “special interests” – and yet they are mute when it comes to large, untraceable sums being spent by outside and unknown special interests to re-structure how Anaheim citizens elect their city council.

PowerPAC’org’s Left-Wing Track Record
While PowerPAC.org won’t disclose exactly why they’re funding the Yes on Measure L campaign, it’s pretty clear from their past campaign activity what kind of policies they hope by-district council elections will produce in Anaheim.

During the 2007-2008 election cycle, it spent $409,517 on “electioneering communications” benefiting Democratic candidates.

In 2010, it spent $252,907 in support of left-wing Kamala Harris’ successful campaign for Attorney General; against Proposition 26, a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds majority to raise taxes; and against Proposition 23, which would have suspended job-killing state regulations until unemployment declined.

Powerpac.org 2010 donations

In 2014, PowerPAC.org has spent at least $42,700 on behalf of Democratic candidates around the nation:

Powerpac.org 2014 candidate donations

It says something that PowerPAC.org’s financial support for by-district council elections in Anaheim matches its combined support for Democratic campaigns nationwide – and also matches its combined spending against two statewide ballot initiatives that would have restrained government power.

Where Are The Watchers?
As I noted before, there is a deafening silence on this issue from the self-proclaimed watchdogs of transparency and “special interest influence” in Anaheim.

As yet, CATER jefe Cynthia Ward has not thundered self-righteously during public comments about a flood of special interest dollars from outside Anaheim trying to dictate to residents what kind of city government they shall have.

CATER lawyer and verbose blogger Greg Diamond is obsessed with knowing who encouraged (or in Diamond’s paranoid parlance, “ordered”) OC Assessor Webster Guillory to change his mind and seek another term — as if that were illegal — but has nothing to say about the dark money fueling the Measure L campaign.

Not that this is surprising, since this claque doesn’t really care about transparency for its own sake, only as far as it positively or negatively impacts their political objectives.

20 comments

  1. Bullseye. If you had the same situation concerning a measure supported by Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, Ward and Diamond would be screaming bloody murder, and Tait would be complaining about special interests. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  2. Cynthia Ward and Greg Diamond are incompetents like Mr. Fitzgerald. They file frivolous lawsuits that lead to dead ends and cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. They make Jose Moreno seem really smart.

  3. Well, first, briefly stepping into your trap and accepting that this is some “leftwing” group that bundles political donations while concealing their sources … Hurts, don’t it? Me and most of my allies spend all kinds of time fighting for campaign finance reform, transparency, overturning Citizens United, with nothing but opposition from people like you. But you just love the idea of our UNILATERAL DISARMAMENT, don’t you?

    Then stepping out of that trap, i don’t accept that any of the three major issues which have united honest right and honest left in Anaheim – district elections, police reform, opposition to corporate welfare – are in any way more “leftist” than they are conservative.

    And what’s this “flood of special interest dollars from outside Anaheim trying to dictate to residents what kind of city government they shall have.” Trying to dictate to residents? Did they manage to call the election off? Are they forcing the citizens at gunpoint in a way they don’t want? And this from a blogger who NEVER has a problem with wealthy polluting industrialists’ much greater and more pervasive interference in our democratic processes.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Well, first, briefly stepping into your trap and accepting that this is some “leftwing” group that bundles political donations while concealing their source

      You say that as if I’m making it up. try doing what I did: read their website. It is, by its own description, a left-wing group that bundles donors’ money. And it does not disclose where the money comes from. Funny that you describe the truth as am “trap.”

      • I think I explained myself well. Elections by districts are not inherently leftist. So I didn’t want to waste too much time defending some “leftist” group following the same rules that all the non-leftist groups follow in this shamefully unregulated electoral wasteland. And you do like the idea of “leftists” unilaterally disarming, don’t you? As though they weren’t already obscenely overspent by corporations.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Let’s conduct the Straw Man Disposal: I did not say by-district elections are inherently leftist. But it is duly noted that you don’t think they are.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Furthermore, if these lefty groups condemn dark money, then they should make use of it. It’s not as if that is the only way they can finance their causes. There are plenty of rich liberals.

          Why shouldn’t the PowerPac.org donors want their IDs disclosed? Are they embarrassed to support Measure L? Or do they think revealing themselves would embarrass Measure L? I’m not sure they should be worried on the latter account, since it plain Measure L is totally dependent on special interest money from waaaay outside Anaheim. Say it with me: “Neighbors electing neighbors”!

          • OK, first – being liberal or leftwing is not the same thing as favoring transparency and disclosure. That’s two different things – although they often seem to go together. There are also conservatives and right wingers who favor transparency, although there should be a lot more.

            But you are still fantasizing about liberals unilaterally disarming, going by different, stricter rules than conservatives have to … and you can whistle right past THAT idea.

            Also, “there are plenty of rich liberals,” sure. Where’s our Koch Brothers, our Sheldon Edelstein, our Foster Frieze, our pantheon of corporations who wanna roll back taxes and regulations? You’d just love us to fight with one hand tied behind our backs wouldn’t you?

    • Vern, who decided you were the best judge of the “honest right and honest left” in Anaheim?

  4. I’m pretty sure Lorri thinks of you as the stuff she’d scrap off her “cute shoes” as Cynthia likes to say. Sorry Vern, anyone who’s heard the phrase “will the defendant please rise” directed at them isn’t fit to judge. Isn’t it time for you to go back to the “Conspiracy Theory” blog?

    • It’s true she didn’t take kindly to my repeated pleas to her to put off her mayoral run till 2018, and not tear asunder the alliance between honest left and honest right that I used to celebrate. But whatever… I’ve been very gentlemanly since in limiting my criticisms of her recent behavior, many of which are very hard for me to keep silent about, because we WERE such good friends for so long.

  5. 1. You don’t live in Anaheim and have no business telling her what office she should run for.
    2. Her recent behavior includes walking neighborhoods and talking with voters directly. She’s letting Tait and Kring fight it out on the city council; remember, Lorri is a private citizen and a candidate running on her record. She can implement policy in the city once she’s elected.
    3. The idea of you considering yourself a gentlemen is the funniest thing I have heard in quite some time. It’s the notion that “gentlemen” patronized “gentlemen’s clubs.”

  6. I know I will regret this, but I will take a minute and bite down on the bait, hoping to miss the hook. You will note that while I am not tracing the money in Measure L I also said little to nothing about the “dark money” pumped into the Measure D battle from the Irvine Company, but perhaps you would like to explain their “flood of special interest dollars from outside Anaheim trying to dictate to residents what kind of city government they shall have.”

    I have to focus my time where it counts. and where it counts right now is litigation. Despite JRR’s claim that CATER’s actions lead to “dead ends,” those “frivolous” lawsuits have yet to be dumped, despite the best efforts of Rutan and Tucker to bury a small community based non profit in redundant layers of paperwork knowing we lack the unlimited resources that City Hall appears to have placed at the disposal of their legal team. By the way, tell me why, if there is such concern about CATER’s actions, City Council can’t be bothered to MONITOR those actions with Closed Session reports?

    Instead of poking at me for not reporting on what YOU have decided should be important to me. how bout reporting on the monumental waste of taxpayers’ dollars in continuing to fight a community group when the “fix” to get rid of us is far easier than the fight? All we ask is that the City obey the law. Seems easy enough.

    CATER has shown without question that the documents linked to September 3 were NOT given to us, in violation of State law, and activity was covered up by coordinated and deliberate action by City staff. CATER has asked only that City Council revote on the issue, after appropriate disclosure…like maybe economic impact reports NOT produced while violating the State’s Political Reform Act which CS and L agreed to abide by in their Contract, and letting the public read the document distributed to Council prior to their vote. Pretty simple. Instead they are blowing through tens of thousands of public dollars to fight us over MOUs whose usable form seems outdated, given how both sides appear to have backed off the deal points. Are they protecting the viability of the deal at this point? Or merely protecting their own hubris? Same with the Convention Center, the City could have released the bonds with a “no merit opinion” from bond counsel, instead Citi bailed on them, indicating our complaint sure didn’t seem frivolous to those who were putting their own/investor dollars on the line. Why keep fighting when CATER has asked for nothing for ourselves other than for the City of Anaheim to go back and DO IT RIGHT, based on applicable laws City Council should have been following all along!

    So yes, I am busy, and I can fuss and fume online over who is putting money into measures that will be decided by voters, or I can keep my head down and keeping working on litigation that frankly I believe will be successful in turning the tide at City Hall from a culture that dismisses the needs, wishes, and rights to open government, for the people of Anaheim who SHOULD have a say in how we are governed, and it looks like that is what the pro-districting folks seem to want. Both they and CATER are up against those who will do anything, and spend any amount, to protect their lock on the status quo. Given a choice I will keep working in an area proving FAR more effective than blogging ever did, and get to the keyboard when I can. But then, nobody here would have that experience, being stuck in the same gear, spinning your wheels with faux outrage at those with the audacity to defy the mandates of those you helped put into power. Keep at it, I am reminded of when my kids were little, and I would let them make the most horrific racket playing with pots and pans on the kitchen floor. Sure it was annoying, but at the end of the day i was able to get some productive work accomplished while they sat there engrossed in activity that kept them from doing anything else, and the noise let me know where they were at all times. May I get you a wooden spoon?

    • That is one of the most impressive displays of undeserving self aggrandizement I have ever seen. Bravo!

      For the rest of the readers, please note the irony of the post, especially the end. Simply incredible

    • “I also said little to nothing about the “dark money” pumped into the Measure D battle from the Irvine Company,”

      Cynthia, it isn’t dark money if you know where it comes from. That money was a normal, reportable contribution. That’s why you know about it. The dark money coming into Anaheim isn’t reportable.

    • The council kleptos’ waste of taxpayer money fighting CATER – just to postpone having to follow the law – is a lot like their waste of taxpayer money fighting the ACLU districting suit – also just to postpone follow the law (the Voters Rights Act.)

      Maybe, just as in that case, they will stop fighting CATER after they’ve wasted $2 million on it. Is that their goal, $2 million?

  7. Cynthia, then why is CATER involved in the lawsuit about the San Diego Convention Center expansion? Please explain.

    And since you’re all about transparency, shouldn’t the taxpayers of the city know the members of the group that’s suing their city?

    And if all you are asking is, in your words, “CATER has asked only that City Council revote on the issue, after appropriate disclosure…like maybe economic impact reports NOT produced while violating the State’s Political Reform Act which CS and L agreed to abide by in their Contract, and letting the public read the document distributed to Council prior to their vote. Pretty simple,” and the vote tally is the same, would you accept it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


Skip to toolbar