There are a lot of Big Personalities here in the land of Studio Art and artiface. The parsimonious Eli Broad, with his “pushy” impact philanthropy may have captured the mostfrontispieces, but there are other moguls massaging the political machinery around here.
Bill Bloomfield distinguishes himself as the plutocrat who complains about special interests while personally giving more than $36m to influence state politics (see below), runs for political office while proclaiming “politics is too important to be left to politicians”, and subverts partisan party politics through private coronationwhile criticizing the influence of partisans.
Bill Bloomfield distinguishes himself as the plutocrat who complains about special interests while personally giving more than $36m to influence state politics.
You can read Bloomfield’s autobiography here. More revealing is the folks he first started “fauxlanthropizing” with in 2005. He opened a Political Action Committee (PAC) aka Independent Expenditure Committee (IEC) with contributions from some of America’s most notorious heterological “Education Reformers”: Netflix’ ed tech entrepreneur Hastings, Wal-Mart’s union-busting Walton, EdReform investor Buzz Wooley, Charter School Growth Fund and ed tech venture capitalist Doerr among others (Table 1).
They used that money to unsuccessfully advance the Republican initiative to concentrate gerrymandering power into the hands of just three unelected judges. Nearly $8m was spent in collecting signatures alone on this and three other initiatives, all part of Schwarzenegger’s political “reform plans”. The petition signatures were legally challenged because their language was different from the official initiative’s, reflecting the irony of this dirtiest of campaigns disingenuously forwarded as attacking political unfairness. (Bloomfield successfully influenced redistricting five years later with the passage of proposition 20 in 2010).
Since 2005 Mr. Bloomfield and his wife have used more than $36m to personally influence their partisan, conservative politics in California alone (Table 2, magnify and read across). Giving to and from other states may not be included in this recounting. This is a conservative estimate of direct legislative philanthropic impact; derivative “dark” giving is not included.
Here are a few characteristic slices of the legislators’ agendas funded by Bloomfield’s $36,000,000:
• More than half a million dollars toward Republican governor campaigns.
• More than one million toward Republican PACs
• $11m to the communications-organ of ‘Education Reform’, EdVoice.
• $2.5m to charter school PACs
• Well over $10m to candidates who favor privatization in Education, including:
– $7.5m for former Green Dots Charters and PLAS head Marshall Tuck who was twice rejected by voters to be State Superintendent,
– $1.5m to now-former State Senate Education chair Ben Allen who supported privatizer Marshall Tuck,
– one-quarter million to defeated LAUSD District 1 candidate Alex Johnson, whom Mark Ridley-Thomasnominated instead to the LA County Board of Education from which to preside instead over the privatization agenda,
– $86K to members of the current LAUSD charter-backed school board (Melvoin, Gonez, Garcia, Vladovic),
– $25K toward Glendale/NE LA area Assembly representative Laura Friedman,
– $6.2K to Heather Repenning, Mayor Garcetti’s Education ingénue who has nominally, though not functionally, “…promised to reject the support of [Charter Schools PACs]..”,
– 4.4K, the family maximum, to charter school operator, disgraced and retired school board felon Ref Rodriguez,
• $42.4K to charter school apologist State Assembly member Autumn Burke,
• $26K toward Great Public Schools: LA where the only school board member to refuse the study of charter impacts on 1/29/19 (at 2:59:50), Nick Melvoin, got his political start,
• $26K to Big Developer shill State Senate member Scott Wiener.
Following Bloomfield’s money yields some vision of the political agenda he anticipates supported candidates to forward.
In particular his recent boost to the LAUSD5 candidacy of former Public WorksCommissioner Repenning should be eye-opening. As an education neophyte and political maven there is some presumably deliberate ambiguity surrounding Ms. Repenning’s Education politics leanings. Let the character of her supporters be your guide. Don’t guess about affinity and alignment. Pick Education Expertise at the polls on March 5, 2019. Pick: