It was one of most ingenious and cynical dirty tricks our
esteemed city government has pulled on the gullible populace: Ethics Reform
Measure R was sold as a way to end the corrupting influence of lobbyists
by banning them from contributing to candidates for city offices.
Barely mentioned was that it granted City Council members a third
To give themselves a chance to pull off this fraud, tey put it on the statewide ballot in November 2006 when
the turnout would reach nearly 50 percent with well over 600,000 voters casting
ballots compared to the 150,000 who voted just four months later in the city
Those extra 450,000 non-participant voters in city elections were presumably largely ignorant about city issues so they carried Measure R to
victory with 60 percent of the vote, allowing the likes of LaBonge, Cardenas,
Alarcon, Parks, Wesson and Huizar to hang around and win yet another
term this year.
The ethics reform element sold to the public was as
meaningless as anything ever foisted onto unwary voters.
Lobbyists no longer had to contribute their ill-gotten gains
to candidates, although their spouses threw lots of fund-raising events and their
clients were required to cough up fortunes in support of the power structure’s
That Measure R did nothing to curb the connections or the
influence of lobbyists, their clients or other special interests on our
officials becomes perfectly clear when you look at who has contributed
$1,251,001 to Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s campaign for Congress. She is running in a safe
Democratic seat against Republican Craig Huey who has raised just $165,000 from
contributors apart from the nearly $800,000 of his own money he put up. (See
Let’s start with the lobbyists listed on Federal Election
Commission reports: Afriat Consulting, Latham & Watkins, Sage Advisors,
Political Solutions, Arnie Berghoff, Capital Hill Strategies, Cerrell &
Associates, Englander Knabe & Allen, Triple E, Marathon Communications,
Kadesh & Associates, Kindel Gagan, MWW Group, Dakota Communications, Ek
& EK, Armbruster Goldsmith Delvac, Mercury Public Affairs, Richard Katz
With assorted law firms, contractors, consultants,
financiers, developers, labor unions and just about anybody who does business
with the city or the harbor or airport plus political action committees and a who’s who of LA wealth like Eli
Broad, Rick Caruso, Casey Wasserman and you get the picture of how chits were
called in to make sure Hahn came out on top and will get to look after
their interests in Washington as well as she has right here.
Understand that there’s no reason to believe Hahn is any better or worse than the rest of her colleagues in doing favors and looking after the interests of those who look after her interest.
It is a tight little system that serves the interests of both politicians and the political operatives who encircle them and tie the various interests together.
And that’s the problem with City Hall and Sacramento and Washington, for that matter — the public pays the bill for government but the public interest isn’t being served the way special interests are.