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Wednesday
Jan112017

L.A. CITY HALL: Proposed ban, campaign contributions from developers?: Commentary (Steve Lopez), "When it comes to political donations in L.A., what's legal can be worse than what's not" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (Los Angeles City Hall, proposed ban on campaign contributions from developers)....

* Los Angeles Times (Steve Lopez):  "When it comes to political donations in L.A., what's legal can be worse than what's not" - From the LAT:

It looked good. It sounded good. The Los Angeles City Council, in the wake of recent Times exposes by David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes on City Hall’s legendary pay-to-play culture, took what seemed to be a positive step Tuesday to limit the influence of campaign donations from developers. But don’t send cards of congratulations or break out the party hats just yet. Just as no amount of Raid can kill all the cockroaches, in politics, money gets where it wants to go. Slam a door, and it finds two windows.

So sure, let’s ban donations to City Council members and the mayor from developers who have projects up for review by the city. But I’m going to hazard a guess that such a ban wouldn’t be terribly effective, and I’m not even sure it’ll happen.

First, would the system be any cleaner if . . . . And as City Council members David Ryu, Joe Buscaino, Paul Krekorian, Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin noted in their motion for the drafting of a new law by the city Ethics Commission, part of the challenge will be to define “developers and their principals.”

Would a developer’s spouse be banned from writing a check to a councilman or mayor, or a candidate? Would the developer’s employees, corporate partners, affiliated LLCs, lawyers, architects, consultants, neighbors, cousins, friends and golf partners also be banned, and if not, can anything really be accomplished?

If a recent ruling by the state Fair Political Practices Commission is any indication, it’s not so easy to stop the flow of money. Pismo Beach City Councilman Erik Howell . . . . . . . .

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Now back to Los Angeles.

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So are we utterly helpless, with no better way to fumigate City Hall? Yes and no .................