The rich are different

Posted on | June 8, 2009 | 4 Comments

“HIGH net worth individuals, non-profit organizations and corporations often have different needs when it comes to their philanthropy,” begins the “What We Do” section of the Andy Spahn & Associates website.

Indeed. The rich are different. Few appreciate how different so acutely as the Universal City-based lobbyist Spahn. On Thursday June 25th, the former Dreamworks executive will be hosting a fundraiser for Darrell Steinberg, President pro Tempore of the California State Senate. It’s a bring your own wallet affair. A gift of $1,000 qualifies a guest as a “supporter,” of $3,900 a “friend,” and $7,800 a “co-chair.” 

This being in California, nearly half of the “co-chairs” listed on the invitation are key figures in water.

There are Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaires and Central Valley land owners who the Contra Costa Times reports have gleaned approximately 20 cents of every dollar of a roughly $200m environmental water account, which was intended to protect the Bay-Delta’s imperiled ecosystem.

Then there is Keith Brackpool, the British financier behind Cadiz, Inc, who last February hosted what the LA Times dubbed “birthday-gate,” a party for his friend Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Last week Brackpool’s Cadiz publicized renewed attempts to mine Cadiz-held Mojave groundwater and use the publicly-owned Colorado River Aqueduct to deliver it to Southern Californian customers. The estimated value of the deal should it go through: $500 million to $1 billion. The same day that Cadiz announced its ground water scheme was still alive, a request for proposals looking for very Cadiz-like services closed at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Mayor Villaraigosa appoints the commissioners who sit on the DWP board.

Another co-chair of the Spahn fundraiser is Richard Katz, the former Cadiz consultant and assemblyman whom Mayor Villaraigosa unsuccessfully tried to have appointed to the chairmanship of the umbrella organization overseeing LADWP. Co-chairing with Katz will be Wendy Mitchell, former Vice President for Communications and Government Relations at Cadiz.

So, yes, the rich are different. They know how to turn political donations of thousands into proceeds of millions.



4 Responses to “The rich are different”

  1. Nate
    June 9th, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    Emily, it is wonderful to see some real news and reporting on water issues in Southern California. Thank you for the effort you put into maintaining this website.

  2. admin
    June 9th, 2009 @ 9:58 am

    A reader! It could be that addressing the gamut from water source to hose and tap is unrealistic, but it seems worth the effort in a city where that gamut is one big blank and that blank is so important. Thank you for the encouragement.

  3. Melanie
    June 9th, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    Thank you, thank you. Excellent reporting, succinctly stated. Coverage like this of ‘the gamut’ is critically needed in LA. I’ll bet you could take the above even a step further by discussing several other key players (developers) on that committee and tie it all back to water-impacting land use decisions. Keep it up! – Melanie

  4. admin
    June 9th, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

    I’m sure you’re right. Thank you!

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