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.
As voters, we need to acknowledge that it takes money to run a campaign. Until voters work to finance clean elections, we should stop being shocked when candidates accept money from businesses or individuals.
Editor’s note: Landregan is a member of the Glendale Planning Commission.
Council should explain actions in court
The wrong group of people are being blamed for this incident (“City pursuing lawsuit against ADI,” Dec. 29). Advanced Development & Investment Inc. shouldn’t be sued.
The members of the Glendale City Council should be taken to court for any possible connections between campaign contributions and project votes instead of throwing the blame on ADI. Unacceptable!
11-year-old shows incredible compassion
By his magnificent example, 11-year-old José Roman, better known as “JJ” to his family, has made me want to do better and be better in the year to come.
As the case manager for two housing programs here at PATH Achieve Glendale, I had the joy of witnessing an outpouring of generosity from agencies and adults from the Glendale community this holiday season in the form of parties and gifts for the children and their struggling parents who found themselves living in our shelter or in temporary housing.
In the midst of so much goodness, this young man stole my heart and taught me life lessons that I will carry with me to the year ahead.
JJ learned from his mom, Maria, that her department at Catholic Healthcare West in Glendale had “adopted” for Christmas a loving dad and his 5-year-old son who had just moved into their own temporary apartment after spending months living at PATH Achieve Glendale’s homeless shelter. Their needs were many, so most of their wish list consisted of necessary items for the apartment.
After looking at the list, JJ said to Maria, “Mom, every 5-year-old boy wants a bike. I want to use my allowance savings to buy him a new bike.” And that’s exactly what he did!
When Maria and a few of her coworkers delivered the holiday gifts, there, nestled in the stack, was one big box — Jose’s gift of kindness, compassion and generosity for a little boy he did not know.
JJ’s empathy and selflessness have given me a happy heart and hope for the future.