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The Daily News of Los Angeles

With only days left in the current legislative session, California Senate President Don Perata, D-Oakland, derailed a bill tightening regulations on developers — legislation that builders bitterly opposed. Two days later, the building industry cut a $500,000 check to one of his political committees.


Maybe, but Sacramento seems to be awash in coincidences these days.

Perata’s counterpart in the state Assembly, Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, knows a thing or two about coincidences. His wife has been given a $125,000 consulting contract from the South Coast Air Quality Management District — at the same time the SCAQMD was seeking legislation it favored in Sacramento.

Another coincidence, to be sure. One that just so happens to benefit one of the state’s most powerful politicians.


Sure, just like the rather fortunate coincidences that have befallen some of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s most generous contributors. According to an analysis from the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, 13 Schwarzenegger supporters who have either directly or indirectly contributed heavily to the governor’s campaigns have received highly prized state appointments.

The Schwarzenegger administration insists that there’s no connection between the two, just as Perata denies any link between his fundraising and his decision-making. And Nunez says he will in no way promote the bill backed by the group that’s paying his wife.

They could well be telling the truth. Perhaps the politicians earnestly believe that their positions of power have nothing to do with the good fortunes of their friends, loved ones and supporters. But it’s hard to believe that the special interests who fund the politicians aren’t seeking some kind of a return on their investment, even if no quid pro quo is ever actually discussed.

And while the politicians might be in denial about what’s going on all around them, the public is under no such delusions. Disgusted voters see the control that special interests exert over what goes on in Sacramento, then stay home on Election Day.

And that’s no coincidence.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
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