Monday, September 11, 2006

LA Times Political Blog

The LA Times has rolled out a political blog and a new feature called Mother's Milk which covers the money flow in California politics. Today they track:

Total political contributions for all state races:
Last week: $19,465,032

Year to date: $300,626,164
Source: Calif. Secretary of State


UPDATE: Bob Salladay has a "why money is important" about page to explain why the Times has created Mothers Milk, a mission statement if you will:

Seventy years ago, another Austrian ruled California. His name was Arthur Samish, the son of an immigrant who became the most powerful lobbyist in state history. At 300 pounds, the outsized man was master of leveraging campaign contributions and personal favors for the oil, movie studio, insurance and tobacco industries.

This year will prove that little has changed — California politics remains dominated by money.

The 2006 election is destined to set another record in political spending — cash will pour in from oil and tobacco companies, powerful unions, millionaires and corporate donors. They will unload more than $200 million to finance the governor's race, a host of initiatives, the Democratic and Republican parties, and various front groups. [...]

It's difficult to find a campaign donor without a tie to some powerful interest in Sacramento. Elected officials say donations don't influence their votes. They frequently quote Jesse M. Unruh, the legendary former Assembly Speaker, who said: "If you can't take their money, drink their booze, eat their food, screw their women and vote against them, you don't belong here."

But another quote from Unruh may be more operative this year: "Money is the mother's milk of politics."
If you are going to talk about money in California politics, I would suggest another quote the most constructive this year: "Vote Yes on Proposition 89"