Hey, I want you to kick in for my inauguration bashes Gov Schwarzenegger and Oakland Mayor elect Ron Dellums

Some people know how to shake down supporters, who in many cases happen to be special interests with an Agenda of their own. This just in from the San Francisco Chronicle. “No pay to play?” Than what do you call this Mayor Dellums?
Larry Gilbert’s two cents worth. What’s your thoughts on this activity?

Join the celebrants, pay for the privilege
– Phil Matier, Andrew Ross

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

They may not share the same politics, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oakland Mayor-elect Ron Dellums have two things in common this swearing-in season — they’re both planning big inauguration bashes, and they’re both asking donors to kick in as much as $50,000 apiece to fuel the fun.

For Dellums, the planned week of festivities is a chance to showcase Oakland and — with the help of many of the same businesses he branded as inside dealers during the mayoral campaign — deliver his message of “inclusion” and “multicultural diversity.”

No fewer than 15 events are on the calendar, including a black-tie inaugural gala, a luncheon, a hand-holding ceremony around Lake Merritt and a Jan. 8 swearing-in at the 3,000-seat Paramount Theater — complete with a performance by members of the Oakland Symphony and a taped reading by writer/poet Maya Angelou.

The price tag for the Dellums-fest is expected to top half a million dollars, though the mayor-elect’s inaugural committee has declined to disclose the budget.

Fun as it all may be, some Oakland developers and lobbyists are scratching their heads over a recent solicitation packet from the mayor-elect.

The packet includes a letter in which Dellums promises “no backroom deals and no ‘pay to play’ ” — as well as a separate pitch from his inaugural committee hitting up potential donors for hefty sponsorships to help cover the cost of the events.

Corporate givers are invited to pledge anywhere from the $10,000 “innovator” level to the $50,000 “visionary” level — entitling them to a specified number of tickets with “preferential seating” and a mention in programs and on event signage.

Some developers even tell of having received follow-up phone calls from inaugural reps pressing them to participate.

“I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” said one developer, who asked not to be named because he has a project pending before the city.

“In the end, we said, ‘If you want us to give to a school or charity, fine – but not for a party,’ ” the developer said.

Community organizers and nonprofits are also being asked to give, at anywhere from $250 to $1,000.

The solicitation letter from inaugural director Alana Ross says sponsors “will be making a valuable investment in a great city” and that “the festivities will also offer you an opportunity to bask in the spotlight of the local and national attention that the start of the mayoral term will draw.”

Deborah Campbell Ford, spokeswoman for Dellums, insisted the events are as much about celebrating the city as the new mayor.

The night of the inaugural there will be a black-tie dinner at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant for as many as 1,800 people. It’s open to the public, with tickets selling for $150 each, according to the mayor-elect’s Web site.

Then there’s a Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Jan. 9; a Martin Luther King Day celebration on the 10th; a kids adventure at the Chabot Space and Science Center and an interfaith reception on the 11th; a night on the town hosted by many of Oakland’s restaurants, galleries and the like on the 12th; the Lake Merritt handholding ceremony, a gay and lesbian celebration and a tour of Chinatown, West Oakland and other neighborhoods on the 13th — all capped off by a $50-a-head people’s celebration at the Oakland Marriott downtown on the 14th, a Sunday, for as many as 4,000 folks.

“It’s a kind of Welcome to My Town week,” Campbell Ford said. “We want to open Oakland up and let people see that there’s more here than 135 homicides.”

As for Schwarzenegger, his upcoming inaugural is a chance to finally throw the giant red carpet party he never got to have three years ago after the voters recalled Gov. Gray Davis.

At the time, it was thought a big shindig would be a bit unseemly under the circumstances. Not now.

If there’s any doubt the governor and seven-time Mr. Olympia is thinking big, just check out the letter from Arnold’s 2007 Inaugural Committee.

Anyone pledging $50,000, according to the invite, will be treated to 10 tickets to a Jan. 4 cocktail reception, plus four VIP seats and six general admission tickets at the Jan. 5 swearing-in ceremony at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.

But that’s not all. The 50 grand will also buy a table for 10 at the post-swearing-in legislative lunch under the Capitol rotunda and 10 tickets to a gala that evening at the Sacramento Convention Center.

The governor’s office has declined to disclose its budget for the festivities — but staffers have hinted it’s certain to be every bit as costly as Davis’ first inaugural in 1999, when the incoming Democrat raised and spent $3.7 million.

Whatever the cost, Team Arnold insists private donors will foot the entire bill.

‘Tis the season: San Francisco parking officers are definitely not feeling the love of the holiday season — in fact, it’s getting downright dangerous out there, with four officers having been assaulted in recent days.

The first attack happened Nov. 21, when a female officer who had written up a ticket on Valencia Street had her arm dislocated in a pummeling by the ticket’s recipient. The alleged assailant was later arrested.

Two hours later, a second parking officer cited a vehicle for parking in a red zone in the same area. He was sitting in his Geo Metro, talking with someone, when the driver of the ticketed auto shattered his side window, punched him in the face three times and fled.

On Monday, a parking officer was spit on after ticketing a guy for parking in a white zone on St. Josephs Avenue.

Then, later the same day on California Street, a parking officer warned a driver that he was parking in a street-cleaning zone. The man yelled back that he had 10 minutes and refused to move. The officer wrote out a ticket — and a couple of minutes later the driver came up and shattered the windshield of the officer’s cart with one punch, then drove away.

And for this, parking officers are paid anywhere from $38,500 to $47,000 a year.

Extra! Check out the Matier & Ross Web page this week at www.SFGate.com/matierandross. Cast your vote for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top priority for the coming year. Play the Men in Plastic Suits caption contest. Check out the bricks and kisses in feedback. And read the Extra, Extra, Extra musings and insights of friends including Rich “Big Vinny” Lieberman and The Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci and Don “Bad Reporter” Asmussen.

Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Phil Matier can also be seen on CBS-5 Morning and Evening News. Got a tip? Call them at (415) 777-8815 or drop them an e-mail at matierandross@sfchronicle.com.

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