As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

AD-40: Don't Ask Me About The Ad Campaign On Your Behalf, Son

San Fernando Valley politics are weird and dynastic. Bob Blumenfield used to work for Howard Berman; his campaign manager is Larry Levine, whose son Lloyd is running for state Senate; Lloyd's former chief of staff is Stuart Waldman, who's running against Blumenfield. This doesn't mean they're bad people at all. But there's a dynastic feel to Valley politics that is unsettling.

And now we have this.

Michael Blumenfield thinks his son Bob would do a fine job representing the San Fernando Valley in the state Legislature.

So he poured $120,000 into campaign advertising and, he said, never discussed it with his son, who lives in the same Woodland Hills neighborhood.

By law, such "independent expenditures" cannot be coordinated with candidates. They are most often used by business and union interests to mail brochures and air TV ads for or against candidates in the weeks before an election.

Donations to independent efforts are unrestricted. They have become increasingly common since 2000, when voters capped the size of direct donations to state politicians.

Observers say they've rarely seen a candidate's family run a campaign outside the control of the candidate, although in 2001, five brothers and other relatives and friends financed a $10,000 radio ad campaign on behalf of Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge.

This shows that the IE laws in this state are ridiculous. And it's not like Stuart Waldman is exempt; he has a massive IE on his behalf this cycle, too.

Laurette Healey is the grassroots progressive running in this race and would represent a break from the past. Her quote in the piece is notable.

One of them, Laurette Healey of Van Nuys, a former advisor to the state controller, said the controversy illustrates the need for taxpayer-funded campaigns.

"The vote in this district, and any district should not be determined by the size of someone's bank account," she said.


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