We’re not running against an incumbent, we’re running against dirty money.
It seems pretty obvious who we are running against, right? We’re running against the incumbent in California’s Assembly District 53. But that’s not actually true.
In our view: politicians are a battlefield. Electeds aren’t just one person. They are the individual that is short hand for the office made up of staffers. They are the face of the donors and their agenda. They are an instrument for our community to exercise power.
But our communities can’t exercise power when dirty money sets the agenda. What we need will always come second to the deep pocketed corporations and their lobbyists.
When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.
– Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page
The answer is to get money out of politics. Matching funds for local candidates in some California cities are a good step, but we need to expand these systems. And we need to create a system to support grassroots candidates for state offices. Right now, Assembly candidates don’t get matching funds. They have a higher maximum donation amount. This is a formula that increases the influence of wealthy donors over candidates.
That’s why we’re not running against a candidate. We are running against some of the dirtiest money in the state of California.
Our opponent has managed to build a 7 figure war chest with cash from corporations and PACs.
So, who are we running against?
Here’s a partial list of corporations and PACs that have funded our opponent since his first campaign in 2014.
California Association of Realtors: $39,000
CAR was one of the main opponents of Proposition 10. Prop 10 would have legalized rent control by repealing Costa-Hawkins. CAR spent big money to keep tenants burdened with high rents to lubricate the eviction machine.
Peace Officers Research Association: $29,300
Peace Officers Research Association is the PAC for police unions across the state. They are partially funded by tax money. And they use this money to oppose needed reforms like SB 1421, which brings transparency to police misconduct. Currently, they are fighting against AB 392, a bill that would reduce police violence.
Clear Channel Communications: $23,200
With a combined total of $55,800 in contributions is it any wonder that they were able to nearly gut Net Neutrality in the state of California? Along with other telecom corporations, AT&T and Clear Channel have shown just how powerful their donations can be. SB 822 was passed into law with strong consumer protections because of sustained and robust public pressure.
Pacific Gas and Electric: $21,000
PG&E is one of the largest utilities in the state. Their negligence caused the Camp Fire which destroyed Paradise, CA and killed 88 people, mostly elderly who burned alive in their homes. Over the years they have been linked to multiple wildfires. Time and again they put profits over people resulting in destruction and death.
Sempra Energy: $18,200
Sempra deals in natural gas extraction and storage. They failed to maintain wells at Aliso Canyon, resulting in the largest methane leak in history. To this day residents of Porter Ranch suffer health effects, including respiratory problems and cancer.
Edison International: $19,700
Edison was responsible for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which has finally been shuttered because of faulty maintenance. There are still tons of nuclear waste stored close to a school and residential neighborhood.
Chevron Corporation: $16,300
Chevron is one of the largest oil companies on the planet. They have a history of extracting oil while poisoning our ecosystems. But they also have a global reach, having brought destruction to the global south.
Anschutz Entertainment Group: $15,400
AEG is responsible for displacing an entire neighborhood to make way for the LA Convention Center and LA Live. They also put on Coachella, which is being rocked by more accusations of adequately protecting attendees from harassment. Philip Anschutz has a history of donating to anti-LGBTQ campaigns across the country.
California Apartment Association: $15,300
CAA is not a group of tenants, but landlords. They spent big to oppose Prop 10 and allow their members to charge sky high rents. If there are tenant protections being debated in California, CAA will always been on the side of capital.
What can we do about it?
In short? Donate.
That’s a lot of money that we just listed above, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. If regular Angelenos are going to have a say in government we need to stop the toxic influence of donors.
Until we get to Sacramento to build a real public financing system we don’t have many options, other than to build a grassroots base. Your contribution isn’t just a way for our campaign to cover overhead, it’s how we leverage out power to win.
Small campaigns like ours aren’t looking to pay 6 figure salaries to consultants. We want to pay to put gas in our volunteers’ cars. To rent space for community meetings. To bring our constituents to Sacramento to tell us what you need.
We’ve got a big hill to climb and we need your help. Just like grassroots candidates across the nation. Our movement is going to win because WE are all in this together.
Never give up!
Climate justice begins here, in Los Angeles.
For vulnerable urban communities, displaced wildfire survivors, and many other residents of California, climate change isn’t something that we can put off worrying about for a few years — it is their reality, today. Changing how we approach housing construction, urban infrastructure, and utility management are going to all be key to addressing climate change here in California.
“The latest research projects the Los Angeles region to be 3°F to 4°F warmer by mid-century, creating more frequent and intense heat waves that pose particular risk to Los Angeles’s most vulnerable communities.”
– Union of Concerned Scientists, Preparing for Climate Change Impacts in Los Angeles
In the summer of 2018 we had some of the most intense heat that Los Angeles has ever experienced. And extreme heat kills more people annually across our country than hurricanes, lightning, earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, combined.
Last year’s heat wave wasn’t an aberration — it’s the new normal:
“The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, and the four warmest years on record have all occurred since 2014.”
– Rebecca Lindsey and LuAnn Dahlman, Climate Change: Global Temperature
And it is our most vulnerable communities that bear the brunt of these impacts.
In 2017, California was the 4th largest producer of crude oil in the United States. We must take immediate steps to end this damaging extractive process. Not only does this industry contribute to global climate change, it has immediate impacts on local communities who have had to live with pumping stations in their backyard for decades.
AD53 is home to multiple oil and gas drill sites, including 28 active wells located at 1328 S Hill St, just 2 blocks from the Dignity Health California Hospital Medical Center. The ongoing impact of the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak demonstrates how the petroleum industry continues to threaten the health and safety of our community.
California is the largest economy in the United States — larger than all but 4 nations. Our state has been at the vanguard of environmental protection and technological innovation for decades. Our vehicle emission standards set the bar for cars sold all across this country. We must continue to lead the country in combating the effects of climate change.
We cannot continue to conduct business as usual. Addressing the needs of every Californian as we move forward is key to providing true environmental justice, and absolutely fundamental in not simply surviving but thriving as we wrestle with a changing climate.
Our incumbent has taken thousands of dollars from private utilities and fossil fuel companies. There companies have endangered lives, caused massive wildfires, and poured tons of toxic chemicals into our air. Ending urban oil drilling is the goal, we support mandatory setbacks for drilling, revoking leases on state owned land, and robust clean up efforts to restore our environment. Los Angeles needs more than platitudes, we need to transform our economy and that starts by rejecting money from oil and gas companies.
We’re committed to ending the fossil fuel industry’s toxic influence on our politics, that’s why we’re committed to the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge. California is on the front line of the climate crisis and we need bold leadership to protect our homes, water, and air.
To learn more about the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, and see who else has signed, please visit: http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/
January 1st and April 1st are both holidays, but no one died for them. May 1st is for us workers.
But we had to fight like hell for it. Originally created to memorialize those killed in the Haymarket strikes it’s an international day of solidarity. We stand together with those who died in Chicago to organize their workplaces, for sustainable wages to support their families, for basic human dignity.
The battle isn’t over. On May Day 2007, LAPD’s Metro Division unleashed havoc on non-violent demonstrators, injuring several with the indiscriminate use of force. 146 projectiles were fired by officers against an unarmed crowd, causing dozens of injuries. We think of this as something that happens in other countries. And it does. That’s why May Day is international workers day.
Larry Itliong lead the first major strikes of farmworkers here in California. The Filipino community organized to demand and win better wages, building bridges to the Mexican farmworkers that also worked the fields. One of the fathers of the west coast labor movement, his legacy is celebrated in Los Angeles and beyond.
Our history is a history of fighting for things that we take for granted: 8 hour work days, 40 hour work weeks, health insurance, workplace safety, minimum wage, and non-discrimination protections. None of these things were given. They were won by the workers and communities that organized in their own defense. And that struggle continues right here in District 53.
Recently Lyft launched its IPO raising $20 billion in one day…and slashed wages for drivers. Thousands of gig economy workers staged a digital strike to protest working conditions, but executives have ignored them. Lyft and Uber demand long hours for low wages and no benefits, lobbying tooth and nail to keep their “contractors” unable to escape the debt trap. They even finance cars at usurious rates, so the less-than-broke can be exploited.
The battleground has changed but the tactics are the same: wealthy bosses exploit workers. They keep them divided and use confusing rhetoric of “opportunity” to disguise their plan. But on May Day we remember. The rideshare union and Larry Itliong both saw injustice and knew whose fault it was. Today we share his mission to build bridges and show the strength of our communities.
Whether they win is up to us. Representatives like Miguel Santiago aren’t seen on the picket line. They might gladhand with bosses or hide in Sacramento. Chris Roth marched with Fight for $15, teachers, and tenants rights organizations. He and thousands of others demanded their rights. He saw the power of solidarity, the message that rings as true as it did in Chicago more than a century ago. Divided we beg, united we win.
Team Chris can’t do this without you. We need you to get involved and spread the word about what we can achieve when we unite:
Today I want to invite you to my campaign, to join my team as we push for the strongest protections for workers and families. Together we will ensure living wages for everyone, healthcare for everyone, and clean power for everyone. Los Angeles is the future, and together we will make it the brightest future possible.
We’ll be at MacArthur Park to celebrate and build solidarity with working Angelenos and we hope to see you out there. Today is the day we celebrate each other to create the world we deserve.
Let’s be bold.