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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Follow the Money: Citizens United Decision Corrupts Emeryville & Other Local Elections

'Big Real Estate' 
Joins Big Oil & Big Soda

Follow the Money;  seventh in a series
The Tattler introduces a new feature for the 2014 election season: Follow the Money. 
This election cycle is shaping up to be very expensive and very far-flung with lots of money from out-of-town interests pouring into the city.  We plan on digging out and exposing this money from people and organizations we don’t know that are trying to change our town to their liking.  These unfamiliar individuals and interest groups may effect our November elections with all their spending in Emeryville but the Tattler is going to make sure that while they assert their influence, we’re going to expose who they are. 
Click on the 'Follow the Money' label at the bottom of this story or use the search bar to review the entire Follow the Money series.

The Tattler has been documenting the rise of the California and the National Association of Realtors (CAR & NAR) as they have injected $85,000 into our local election and corrupted the political process here.  This vulgar amount of money is swamping the prospects for democracy here but Emeryville isn't alone facing this onslaught.  Our East Bay neighbors are also being assaulted by boatloads of corporate political campaign cash.  It's all a result of the 'Citizens United' Supreme Court decision from a couple of years ago.
This relentless campaign of outsiders targeting the people of Emeryville with $85,000 is unprecedented in its scope. The CAR & NAR campaign is so big it seems not likely possible for a community to be overpowered more than we have been.  But here in Emeryville this year, we've only gotten a taste of this new America as envisioned by the Republican Party.

Consider the unfortunate plight of our neighbors in Berkeley and Richmond.
Berkeley is being inundated by a massive $1.4 million disinformation campaign from the American Beverage Association known as Big Soda, to fight Measure D, the tax on sugary drinks meant to fight childhood obesity Berkeley has taken on.  At a lopsided spending ratio of 10:1, our Berkeley neighbors face an uphill battle but not as bad as Emeryville's fight against NAR & CAR at a whopping 43:1 ratio.  In terms of dollars per resident or likely voter however, Big Soda is spending more in Berkeley than NAR & CAR in Emeryville.
Richmond's election this year is another story altogether. Chevron has pulled out all the stops to try to buy a City Council majority friendly to the oil refinery giant there.  It's Big Oil vs the people of Richmond and they're spending an astounding $2.4 million to assure victory. In every conceivable category, Chevron is blowing out all competition.  Residents there are being besieged by all manner of incessant coercion.

Our own paean to Citizens United (might be called Big Real Estate) is part of a nation-wide volitive and organized assertion of pure corporate power against the power of the people.  We can't imagine how something so simple and easy for the 1%ers; the flooding of a local election with outside cash, could lead so predictably to a victory.  Obviously the the bullies at NAR & CAR are confident in their simplistic calculations.  We like to imagine though people power is not such a lightweight, especially in Emeryville.  We want a debate here every election, just not one where one side blocks out the other side so utterly, effectively shuttering the debate.  Let's show NAR & CAR Emeryville is a different kind of community.  Let's vote YES on U&V Tuesday.

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