Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Matier and Ross on Sacramento Dash for Cash

San Francisco Chronicle reporters Matier and Ross cover crashing the dash for cash in today's column:


The caped crusader -- a.k.a. Kevin Baker of the California Nurses Association -- took up his post Thursday outside Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's big-bucks bash at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, attended by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. As the lobbyists and other donors arrived, the Batman-costumed Baker asked over and over, "I sense much power here -- can you tell me the source of that power?"

Baker is just one of a slew of party crashers sent out by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, the nonprofit arm of the coalition behind this fall's Yes on Prop. 89 public financing campaign initiative.

Batman isn't alone outside each bash in the dash for cash:
Another star of the walkway is Angela Eckert, an actress hired to pose as a TV reporter with microphone in hand and camera crew in tow.

Eckert dashed to six fundraisers in two hours one evening last week to interview guests.

"Do you have to wear a special pair of shoes to go to every fundraiser -- that's a lot of walking around?" Eckert asked an arriving lobbyist, who had attended more than one affair.

"My shoes already hurt me," the guest replied. "I probably need another pair."

While lobbyist need new shoes, California voters need clean money and Proposition 89:
On Tuesday, another 16 money parties were held -- including a $1,000- to $3,300-a-head cocktail reception for Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, at Spataro on L Street -- a short hop from the Capitol.

"It's a bad joke at this point -- the lobbyists are going to 10 or 15 events a night," said Leno, whose safe seat allows him to use most of the money he collects to help other Democratic candidates.

"It's a ridiculous system," Leno said. "We really need clean money. We need Prop. 89," which would sharply limit political contributions in addition to creating public financing of campaigns.

Today, 17 more events are on tap -- including a $1,500-to-$3,300-a-head Krispy Kreme doughnuts "healthy breakfast" gathering for Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico. (emphasis mine)

You can check out video on YouTube. We need to pass Proposition 89.