Who's Buying Who?

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 4 min read
Chart showing Douglas Emmett Inc.'s political expenditures: $566,000 for Traci Park, $250,000 opposing Karen Bass, $200,000 opposing Faisal Gill, $50,000 against Measure ULA, $50,000 to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce PAC, and $50,000 opposing Danielle Sandoval.

Hey, remember when I told you all about Barrington Plaza last spring?

And remember the update I published in November? TL;DR: the landlord lied; it is NOT, in fact, necessary to remove tenants to install fire sprinklers...and the developer put a concerning amount of money into the District Attorney race.

In fact, thanks to an important new piece from Capital and Main, you can read all about Douglas Emmett Inc.'s $1.17 MILLION dollars in political expenditures all over the city in 2022 alone. Hell, thanks to Capital and Main (with data provided by ethics.lacity.org), you can simply look at the chart screenshotted from the article.

The primary election is coming up on March 5, with runoffs November 5. Seven of the City Council's 15 seats are up, along with four LAUSD Board of Education seats.

I can't tell you how to vote because only you can decide for yourself who the best (or least-worst) candidates are, and I'm not familiar enough with every single candidate in each district to make endorsements. But I will tell you what my parents told me when I turned 18 and registered to vote:

You are voting for a PERSON. Not their party, not their rhetoric, not their public image. Look at who they are as human beings and how they behave when they think no one is watching.

That includes looking at who is giving them money.

Before you choose a particular candidate, look at who is donating to them. Did they receive, but not return, money from a group you find abhorrent? Has an unethical corporation cut them a nice fat check? Is a morally bankrupt individual or group using independent expenditure committees (which have no contribution limits) to keep giving them money?

Barrington Plaza is in CD11, and Councilmember Traci Park's seat is not one of the seven up for election. Park's office claims she attempted to help the BP tenants, but they strongly disagree with this assertion. Douglas Emmett Inc. spent a whopping $566,000 supporting Park in 2022.

Draw your own conclusions there.

The article also notes:

In January, the company gave $400,000 to an independent expenditure committee against City Councilmember Nithya Raman, a vocal advocate for renters.

Now why would they do that, hmm?*

The article adds:

The massive amount of money spent against Raman by Douglas Emmett shows why “the city hasn’t historically done a lot of tenant protection work,” she said. “Money does influence elections, and I can see that happening here,” Raman said of her own campaign.

In theory, there's liberty and justice for all. In practice, it's not unusual for the wealthy and well-connected (or corporations) to have the rules bent (or broken) in their favor. That's not the way it should be, but that's too often the way it is.

By the way, when you're looking at school board candidates, be sure to consider which ones have children attending LAUSD schools. They have a damn good reason to make schools better - and may be well-versed in what isn't working or could be done better.

(*Full disclosure: my family's longtime neighborhood happens to be in Raman's district. I wasn't living in CD4 at the time of the CD4 election and thus could not vote in it. This has no bearing on my mention of Raman.)

C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. is a fourth-generation Angeleno and is horrified at what greed and hubris are doing to Los Angeles.

This website was built by her preservation pals at Esotouric.

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