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[Disclosure: this is about as conflicted as my writing here gets, as I'm both the author and the subject of this story -- but given that it's a direct response to an attack from another local blog, I think that it's justified. If you don't, take it with as many grains of salt as you'd like! -- GAD]
In the pages of the Republican fun factory OC Political, currently in our RSS feed from them, a local state legislative candidate has been criticized for “getting money from all the wrong places” — that is, for raising money from out 0f-district individuals rather from big special interests — and was slammed by the first comment as an inferior choice on the ballot to Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer.
If it was hard for you to guess — that candidate is me. I’m bad, I’m bad … and so is the graphic I’ve made of myself below (just to show that I can give myself the same sort of unsettling Photoshop treatment that I give to others!)
(All Rights So, So, So Reserved!)
Here’s the funny part, though. The commenter stated this
“The guy is a disgrace.
“I want a canidate [sic] who will fight. Bob Huff SUCKS.
“But, against Greg Diamond, I’d pick Hitler! (you can replace that with Jeffrey Dahmer if too contriversial) [sic].”
Yes. Well … indeed. What to say about that? I do have my detractors, that’s for sure. While I agree that Bob Huff … um … has substantial deficiencies as a candidate, I am fighting as best I can, kind sir, within the limits of running a solo law practice and my limited sum of donations. (I’ve been saving up for a San Diego fireworks display.)
That’s not the really funny part, though. The really funny part is by the story’s author, who styles himself as “The Republican Willie Brown,” and who criticizes me because a very large portion of my itemized donations have come from outside of California, and most of those in California have come from outside of my district.
It’s true. They have. That’s for three reasons.
(1) While I grew up in Huntington Beach, I lived out of state for 22 years, ending in late 2006, and many of my friends (mostly in the academic and legal communities) come from there.
(2) Many other people (who have given me the brunt of my donations) have known me for years from my writing on Daily Kos, and are contributing to me not because they want something from me but because they know me and think I’d be a good legislator.
(3) I’ve not focused that much on raising money locally (although I have raised some non-itemized small contributions.) Part of that is because, as a party reformer, I’ve been in some serious conflicts with the dominant “business Democrat” gang at DPOC (tied into Solorio, Correa, Daly, etc.) and I haven’t even asked them for money. While I get along reasonably well with those at DPOC, I’ve given them ample reason not to want to fund me and am happy with that result. I have suggested to people locally that whatever money they’d give to me might be of greater use by the extremely competitive candidates overlapping my district: Jay Chen, Alan Lowenthal, and Sharon Quirk-Silva. All three of them have good chances of being elected this year. I’m more of a longshot. While I welcome contributions, I’d prefer to collect them from people who know me from outside the district — where I’m not competing for funds with those races and where I won’t consequently owe anyone here anything but fair treatment. I’m sorry to say this, I suppose, but I don’t find that to be at all embarrassing.
Of course, there is another approach that one could take to fundraising — but that is one that I would consider embarrassing. It would involve prostituting myself to special interests who want financial and regulatory benefits at the public’s expense. For example, let’s take another look at this:
Look at that list. Huff’s third-highest individual donor was Majestic Realty, the company his wife works with on real estate schemes, including (though they’ve since denied it) the attempt to move the Angels from Anaheim to the City of Industry. (Remember the “NFL Stadium in Industry” redevelopment boondoggle from the same crew? Same guys.) Now that’s embarrassing! Big Insurance, Big Realty, Big Healthcare, Big Telecom, Big Energy, Big Pharma — this group is supposed to be more embarrassing than donations from hundreds of individuals?
I realize that this goes against conventional political wisdom, but I’m happy to have money from individuals outside of my district who know me and want nothing from me except honesty and hard work in Sacramento. I would be sad to go to Sacramento to be an errand boy for the rich who want to get richer and leave everyone else to the sharks — so if I am fortunate enough to be elected, I’m not going to do so. I’d find it too embarrassing. (And yes, I think that that’s a great qualification for office!)
I don’t think that I’ve posted my fundraising link here before, but under the circumstances I suppose that I might as well today. That link is right here. Knock yourselves out — even if you are from my district! (If you’re a major insurance company, though, you shouldn’t feel obligated.)