Sunday, April 12, 2009

C.A.R.E. Pays for Play?

[Correction to C.A.R.E.'s tax status is included in the text. They are a 501(c)4, not (c)3.]

I guess C.A.R.E. is feeling pretty frisky lately because they’re sending out invitations for a "celebration" later this month, a very special wine and cheese extravaganza, in honor of justice, equity, and the restoration of rights to California adoptees… no, wait, that’s not right. You can see the invitation by clicking here…

If you read it very carefully you’ll note that C.A.R.E. is not actually hosting this shindig, “individual members of the California Adoption Reform Effort” are. Note that C.A.R.E.’s name is highlighted. This gives the impression that this is a C.A.R.E. sponsored "celebration" although the actual text denies it… ( I used to do this sort of dodge all the time with endorsement lists, put somebody’s name and affiliation with an asterisk next to it, with a tiny note at the bottom informing people that the organization is noted for “identification purposes only”, ha!) Note that this "celebration" is not highlighted on the C.A.R.E. website either.

This is because this "celebration" is a thinly disguised fundraiser for Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, ("make the checks out to Fiona2010") and C.A.R.E. could jeopardize its 501(c)4 status if it donated money or in-kind resources directly to a candidate. But this is just a technicality, this party is all about C.A.R.E., they’re giving away Jean Strauss swag, they’ll be pouring C.A.R.E. vino, heck, they’ll probably serve chévre and brie curdled from the bitter milk of stoic adopted goats and cows, victims of Pastoral Primal Wound.

It’s not uncommon for organizations sponsoring legislation to hold fundraisers, but the monies usually go to support the sponsoring organization. Media buys and other outreach tools cost money. C.A.R.E. hasn’t incurred that kind of burden, though, because C.A.R.E. doesn’t do outreach.

It’s also not uncommon for organizations sponsoring legislation to host receptions, usually in the capitol building, late afternoon/early evening wine and cheese events, but these are free. As word of free booze and food passes swiftly down the corridors of power, the host organization is guaranteed a steady parade of legislators and glad-handing staff, who line up to shake your hand and proffer their ears so you can whisper your message, “Thanks for coming, I hope you’ll support AB 372”. Substantive conversation is kept to a minimum as mouths are filled with wholesale wines, cracker crumbs and stuffed olives. All told, if you get donated wine and food, the costs are fairly low, your legislative author rents the space under the copula, you get your message out. But again, that would constitute a type of outreach and C.A.R.E. doesn’t do outreach.

C.A.R.E. is hitting up its members and supporters not to benefit their mission, but to benefit their author, Fiona Ma. I know a bit about California politics, and a lot about San Francisco politics. Fiona Ma won re-election last year with 83.3% of the vote. She faces no credible threat to her seat... And here it is, April 2009 and C.A.R.E. is raising money for November 2010? I have to go look at the California SoS database again, but I’d be very surprised if Fiona didn’t have money socked away from last year.

This smells a lot like Pay to Play.

Which is kind of hilarious because the C.A.R.E. constituency, the adoption reform constituency as a whole, are not “money”. In my experience fund raising for adoption reform you may find a major donor here and there, but the vast majority tap out at 25 bucks. I cannot imagine many C.A.R.E. rank-and-file ponying up 99 clams so they can “celebrate” Fiona Ma, let alone bequeath a grand to her personal political enrichment kitty…

If I wanted to play swami, I’d put on my giant purple turban and gaze with soft focus into my crystal ball… what do I see? I see a bunch of C.A.R.E. folks busily milling around in red aprons, black slacks, white shirts with clip-on bow ties… they’re serving a very small group of donors (the faces are a blur, I can’t make them out) from trays of crackers and cheeses and baby carrots with spinach dip… the exact location is difficult to determine, I see the letters “TBA”, but it looks like a lobbyist’s office… the mood is desultory… at least until Bastardette pops out of the giant "celebration" cake and sprays everyone with a squirt gun filled with skunk juice…

Celebration, c'mon!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can feel the anger oozing from all the orifices. Why is that? I'm curious?

8:37 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

It's a little difficult to answer your question, anonyperson, without knowing its context... but I'll try!

I suppose the short answer is that I'm pissed that the folks who are negotiating legislation in my name are such dumbasses. If this were happening in Idaho or Nevada, I wouldn't give a hoot, but it's my state and my records they're monkeying around with.

Also, this is my personal blog, so I feel free to vent. Do you have a space where you can express your emotions?

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since your Blog asks for comments, I would expect you to be open to comments that criticize your views. If you only want supportive views to reinforce your entrenched angry position, then censor your comments. If I feel you are expressing views that are intellectually dishonest and misrepresenting the truth then I feel I have the right and obligation to say so. You of course have a first amendment right to say whatever you want but not if it dishonestly defames others. As long as you do so, I have the right to use your blog comments to say so.

1:11 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

I provide a space for comments, even to anonymouses. I'm not sure what you mean by being "open" to comments that criticize my views, I don't feel an obligation one way or the other. I reopened comments in the Funhouse so that folks like you would engage.

If you have some specific misrepresentation of fact you feel needs correcting, by all means post it up. If you disagree with my opinions, go ahead and disagree. I'm a grown up, I can take it.

1:29 PM  

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