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Another perspective on the ADI story

January 08, 2011

The Glendale News-Press editorial ("The whole truth will shine through soon," Jan. 1) and many individual letters are asking how City Council members can claim not to have known that large amounts of their contributions were coming from businesses who were subcontracting with the developer Advanced Development & Investment Inc. As a former candidate for Glendale city clerk, I have a personal and unique perspective on fundraising in Glendale.

Let's look at the 2009 Glendale City Council member contributions Form 700. They received contributions from businesses, many of which were still Glendale-based, that are in the construction industry. These businesses are not subsidiaries or partners of ADI. However, many of these businesses have done business with ADI.

For a candidate to know that these firms subcontracted with ADI, they would have had to do a public records request on ADI projects, or any other capital improvement project in the city for that matter, in order to get a list of every person or company ADI employed or subcontracted on their projects. Then they would have had to cross-check the lists against lists of contributors.


During the 2009 election, ADI was not suspected of any wrongdoing, so why would a candidate bother to do this?

Contributions to candidates routinely come from Glendale businesses, not just those connected with ADI. To expect a candidate to know who every contributor does business with is an unreasonable burden.

If the reports are correct — that ADI asked its subcontractors to contribute money to candidates — then there are real concerns, but how would a candidate know about this? Putting aside whether they pressured their business associates into those donations, which might be illegal, there is nothing unusual, unethical or illegal about a company asking other businesses or friends to support a particular candidate.

Political parties, unions, industry groups, professional associations, religious groups, cultural groups all frequently fundraise on behalf of chosen candidates. It is a fact that this is how most campaigns are financed.

Why are we shocked that companies donate money to candidates that they believe will be friendly to their industry? The only way to get private money out of campaigns is by banning all private contributions to political campaigns, and instead instituting public financing of all candidates.

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