Author Topic: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election  (Read 7685 times)

Metro Jacksonville

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2644
    • MetroJacksonville.com
Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« on: July 15, 2015, 03:00:02 AM »
Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election



Political Action Committees (PACs) were the economic engine behind the 2015 mayoral race. Here's some analysis on where the money went and how it got there.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-jul-arash-kamiar-financing-the-2015-mayoral-election

fieldafm

  • Editor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2015, 12:23:44 PM »
If you think you can't influence public policy.. then you are probably right.

If you are at all willing and able (speaking from personal experience), then you can in fact effect public policy decisions.


Quote
Ali Shelton, Ty Petway, and Jed Davis come to mind

Ali Shelton 'just happens' to be a supremely competent individual that has extensive experience doing the very job she has been hired for. 

Neither Ty Petway nor Jed Davis work (nor will work) for the mayor's office.

As far as donations, you won't find Jed Davis' name giving to Lenny Curry's campaign (although the Davis family did donate to Alvin Brown's campaign in 2011). You can access those records here: https://www.voterfocus.com/ws/WScand/cand_srch.php?c=duval

CCMjax

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 455
  • "That's what we're here for boys . . . to win!!"
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2015, 12:38:24 PM »
Quote
It may be a leap to assume that the general public of Jacksonville is as powerless on a local level as Gilens and Page describe in their study. I can’t say with any certainty how Jacksonville policies are impacted by public opinion or money.

I can say for certain how policies are impacted by money: just look at Curry's appointments thus far.  His is giving appointments to his big money donors, their friends and family (just off the top of my head, Ali Shelton, Ty Petway, and Jed Davis come to mind). Those who give money will shape our policies via appointments.  *sigh* same game as usual.

Personally, I don't care if someone "buys" their position as long as they do their job and do it well while making the quality of life better in this town.
"The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying 'This is mine,' and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society." - Jean Jacques Rousseau

Tacachale

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8156
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2015, 01:00:45 PM »
Quote
It may be a leap to assume that the general public of Jacksonville is as powerless on a local level as Gilens and Page describe in their study. I can’t say with any certainty how Jacksonville policies are impacted by public opinion or money.

I can say for certain how policies are impacted by money: just look at Curry's appointments thus far.  His is giving appointments to his big money donors, their friends and family (just off the top of my head, Ali Shelton, Ty Petway, and Jed Davis come to mind). Those who give money will shape our policies via appointments.  *sigh* same game as usual.

Personally, I don't care if someone "buys" their position as long as they do their job and do it well while making the quality of life better in this town.

Definitely. Though it helps if the charge isn't just made up out of thin air.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Tacachale

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8156
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2015, 01:40:33 PM »
To me, these are the most interesting observations:

Quote

Of the $2.8 million raised by Taking Jacksonville to the Next level (Brown) $2.7 million was “contributed” to the Florida Democratic Party, which provided “in-kind” Contributions to Brown’s campaign totaling $1.37 million, which leaves $1.4 million “remaining”.

...

Taking Jacksonville to the Next Level (Brown) contributed 97 percent of their money to the State Democratic Party. The money that remained in the PAC (approx. $100k) was not spent on any of the same people or businesses as Brown’s campaign.  So, it's kind of opaque how PAC dollars were actually spent by the State Democratic Party. 


I think we can assume the state party's money did go to Brown, or at least the Democrat slate in this election which benefited Brown (as there isn't another election for a while). But it means the bulk of all the Brown campaign's money was filtered through the control of the Florida Democratic Party. To me, that was possibly the single biggest miscalculation of the campaign. It just boggles the mind that you'd trust most of your resources with the Florida Democratic Party if your goal was to run a campaign that you win.

Considering that both campaigns raised about an equivalent amount of money, it seems pretty obvious that Brown's money was spent less effectively (what a shock). Despite all that money, there were still weeks at a time when Brown had few if any TV ads, even as Curry was flat out hammering him in his own ads. It's very strange for one of the most expensive campaigns ever run here.

Reportedly the Brown campaign was spending a lot of money on staff and out-of-town operatives, whereas Curry was using the same amount of money on less staff and more ads. Additionally, putting everything in the hands of the state party gave a lot of Brown's campaign a very out-of-touch feel.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

fieldafm

  • Editor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4655
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2015, 02:47:57 PM »
Quote
I never said she wasn't competent

Then what's the problem? Competency has by and large been a rare commodity these past 4 years.

Implying a host of mysterious and evil puppet masters have doomed Jacksonville to poor public policy decisions, and we are all powerless to their immortal supremacy is a pretty hackneyed narrative (even more ridiculous considering the names that just happened to be dropped).


Tacachale

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8156
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2015, 02:53:57 PM »
Any smart mayor would surround themselves with people they know and can work with. Maybe they should hire/appoint people they don't know and can't work with to appease the cynics.

Quote
I never said she wasn't competent

Then what's the problem? Competency has by and large been a rare commodity these past 4 years.

Implying a host of mysterious and evil puppet masters have doomed Jacksonville to poor public policy decisions, and we are all powerless to their immortal supremacy is a pretty hackneyed narrative (even more ridiculous considering the names that just happened to be dropped).



Yeah, I'd rather have familiar people that can do their job, than new faces who can't.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

ben america

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2015, 03:27:47 PM »
For those of us that didn't have the advantage of growing up with these fine folks that can afford to buy influence, it is difficult to see what value they have other than the class relationships with the wealthiest people and families in town. If the moral judgement is that the reason these folks have prospered is because they are better people who made better decisions, thus they should lead the city, then the status quo will always rule and there will be fewer opportunities to raise people up from their position because they are there due to some moral failing.

Buying influence is in direct conflict with the one person, one vote model of democracy. In fact, seems like it pretty much solidifies an oligarchy. I'm sure these are decent people, but I wouldn't know since it appears that in order to access them I need money.

Tacachale

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8156
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 04:07:35 PM »
For those of us that didn't have the advantage of growing up with these fine folks that can afford to buy influence, it is difficult to see what value they have other than the class relationships with the wealthiest people and families in town. If the moral judgement is that the reason these folks have prospered is because they are better people who made better decisions, thus they should lead the city, then the status quo will always rule and there will be fewer opportunities to raise people up from their position because they are there due to some moral failing.

Buying influence is in direct conflict with the one person, one vote model of democracy. In fact, seems like it pretty much solidifies an oligarchy. I'm sure these are decent people, but I wouldn't know since it appears that in order to access them I need money.

Interesting point, and there's a lot of truth to that. But I'm not willing to hedge the success of the city's operations on an ideological or intellectual argument like that. At the end of the day, we have to be able to measure job performance when it comes to running the city.

To put it in more concrete terms, under the last administration, a lot of folks got hired who simply couldn't perform in their positions. I'm sure they were decent people, etc., etc., and maybe they were being judged by some unfair standards set by the "class" of elites. It doesn't change the fact that by the end, the city had trouble handling some of its basic functions.

You're on target about people buying influence, though perhaps not in the way you intend. To my mind, the biggest threat to our elections process is the growing involvement of the state and national parties in our local elections. Both camps clearly saw our mayoral election as an early skirmish in the War of 2016, and they brought the money accordingly. As a result we had a race that avoided basically every local issue of concern. If things don't change, our races are only going to become more and more partisan and more and more driven by outside interests who don't know or care about Jacksonville. I'm sure it will make the races easier to tweet about, but it probably won't result in the most effective candidates getting into office.

To be honest, I'd much rather have our elections be influenced by Peter Rummell and Shad Khan than by Jeb Bush and Bill Clinton, let alone Rick Perry and Bill Cosby.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

ben america

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 82
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2015, 06:28:42 PM »
Actually, I just had that same conversation about the ideological battlements we are building and the way that serves the political party status quo with Brian Hughes at Art Walk. Your comments are spot on, so cheers!

I am making a highly ideological argument about the moral judgement of wealth and the systems in place to maintain it. We are creating a political underclass by the practice of using money to gain influence. Thus, our ideas become stale, and often the chase for the unlikely or impossible has too high a price associated with it, so we stick with the same old answers, getting the same old results.

Brown's administration was no benchmark in terms of staff selection IMHO. He lacked a confidence in leadership that many of his supporters ascribed to him, myself included. But I lost that in the phone call after Gastrofest. It was clear to me he had no interest in hearing the ideas of anyone who would challenge him. I won't go so far as to say he surrounded himself with sycophants, but I will say there was a lot of talent that was left untapped. And the talent that was tapped were payoffs to political relationships, both red and blue.

It was pretty clear who was to return to power with the election of MLC. There aren't many surprises there except to those optimists among us who thought maybe, just maybe the Lenny I met seven years ago who was so moderate and told me that he wasn't a "party guy" who went on to become local party chair and then state party chair, maybe he was now his own man. Perhaps he would make some shocking staff picks that would make everyone step back and go, whoa.

But unsurprisingly every statement from his media team includes a Brown Blame. Rather than just a statement of "we're looking at it, we will get back to you', it comes off as an extension of the message, "Democrats can't effectively run government". It is no wonder the City's Facebook page was used to post a political message and after a few folks made some noise, it was quietly taken down, with no explanation, no apology. Meh, no surprise. We're back to business as usual. 

Either way I personally haven't gained or lost anything. Except maybe our new Mayor will see the value of my activity as representative of a group of constituents he has sworn to represent. Perhaps rather than seeing those efforts as "evil" or divisive, they will be seen as opportunities to lead. Lenny's chief criticism of Alvin was that Alvin didn't lead. Fine, then Let Lenny Lead.

And if he doesn't lead, then he will be led. And we've already seen who he listens to. Now we see who he surrounds himself with.

vicupstate

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3782
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2015, 08:44:52 AM »
Quote
You're on target about people buying influence, though perhaps not in the way you intend. To my mind, the biggest threat to our elections process is the growing involvement of the state and national parties in our local elections. Both camps clearly saw our mayoral election as an early skirmish in the War of 2016, and they brought the money accordingly. As a result we had a race that avoided basically every local issue of concern. If things don't change, our races are only going to become more and more partisan and more and more driven by outside interests who don't know or care about Jacksonville. I'm sure it will make the races easier to tweet about, but it probably won't result in the most effective candidates getting into office.

Very true and very well put. A Charter Amendment effort to make the city's elections non-partisan would solve this.
"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can never be certain they're authentic." - Abraham Lincoln

TheCat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2185
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2015, 10:52:11 AM »
Quote
It may be a leap to assume that the general public of Jacksonville is as powerless on a local level as Gilens and Page describe in their study. I can’t say with any certainty how Jacksonville policies are impacted by public opinion or money.

I can say for certain how policies are impacted by money: just look at Curry's appointments thus far.  His is giving appointments to his big money donors, their friends and family (just off the top of my head, Ali Shelton, Ty Petway, and Jed Davis come to mind). Those who give money will shape our policies via appointments.  *sigh* same game as usual.

That would be a good thing to look into. How many degrees of separation between appointments and donors?


TheCat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2185
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2015, 11:02:23 AM »
To me, these are the most interesting observations:

Quote

Of the $2.8 million raised by Taking Jacksonville to the Next level (Brown) $2.7 million was “contributed” to the Florida Democratic Party, which provided “in-kind” Contributions to Brown’s campaign totaling $1.37 million, which leaves $1.4 million “remaining”.

...

Taking Jacksonville to the Next Level (Brown) contributed 97 percent of their money to the State Democratic Party. The money that remained in the PAC (approx. $100k) was not spent on any of the same people or businesses as Brown’s campaign.  So, it's kind of opaque how PAC dollars were actually spent by the State Democratic Party. 


I think we can assume the state party's money did go to Brown, or at least the Democrat slate in this election which benefited Brown (as there isn't another election for a while). But it means the bulk of all the Brown campaign's money was filtered through the control of the Florida Democratic Party. To me, that was possibly the single biggest miscalculation of the campaign. It just boggles the mind that you'd trust most of your resources with the Florida Democratic Party if your goal was to run a campaign that you win.

Considering that both campaigns raised about an equivalent amount of money, it seems pretty obvious that Brown's money was spent less effectively (what a shock). Despite all that money, there were still weeks at a time when Brown had few if any TV ads, even as Curry was flat out hammering him in his own ads. It's very strange for one of the most expensive campaigns ever run here.

Reportedly the Brown campaign was spending a lot of money on staff and out-of-town operatives, whereas Curry was using the same amount of money on less staff and more ads. Additionally, putting everything in the hands of the state party gave a lot of Brown's campaign a very out-of-touch feel.

Both campaigns filtered significant amount of money through the state party. That is apparently the game. For sure, Brown funneled more money that way.

Here's my conclusion on Brown. I think he thought he was going to win no matter what. This is left field, but I further think there was a slant of religiosity to his belief that he would win; like a divine appointment sort of thing. It didn't work out for him.

 


Tacachale

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8156
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2015, 11:55:53 AM »
To me, these are the most interesting observations:

Quote

Of the $2.8 million raised by Taking Jacksonville to the Next level (Brown) $2.7 million was “contributed” to the Florida Democratic Party, which provided “in-kind” Contributions to Brown’s campaign totaling $1.37 million, which leaves $1.4 million “remaining”.

...

Taking Jacksonville to the Next Level (Brown) contributed 97 percent of their money to the State Democratic Party. The money that remained in the PAC (approx. $100k) was not spent on any of the same people or businesses as Brown’s campaign.  So, it's kind of opaque how PAC dollars were actually spent by the State Democratic Party. 


I think we can assume the state party's money did go to Brown, or at least the Democrat slate in this election which benefited Brown (as there isn't another election for a while). But it means the bulk of all the Brown campaign's money was filtered through the control of the Florida Democratic Party. To me, that was possibly the single biggest miscalculation of the campaign. It just boggles the mind that you'd trust most of your resources with the Florida Democratic Party if your goal was to run a campaign that you win.

Considering that both campaigns raised about an equivalent amount of money, it seems pretty obvious that Brown's money was spent less effectively (what a shock). Despite all that money, there were still weeks at a time when Brown had few if any TV ads, even as Curry was flat out hammering him in his own ads. It's very strange for one of the most expensive campaigns ever run here.

Reportedly the Brown campaign was spending a lot of money on staff and out-of-town operatives, whereas Curry was using the same amount of money on less staff and more ads. Additionally, putting everything in the hands of the state party gave a lot of Brown's campaign a very out-of-touch feel.

Both campaigns filtered significant amount of money through the state party. That is apparently the game. For sure, Brown funneled more money that way.

Here's my conclusion on Brown. I think he thought he was going to win no matter what. This is left field, but I further think there was a slant of religiosity to his belief that he would win; like a divine appointment sort of thing. It didn't work out for him.

On filtering the money, yeah, that's true. I think the difference comes down to the fact that Curry did it less, whereas for Brown it was pretty much everything. Beyond just the money, Brown also had heavier involvement by state operatives than Curry did. And honestly, trusting the Florida GOP is a much lower liability for Curry than trusting the state Dems was for Brown. A lot of the "state" folks on Curry's team have Jax connections. They know how to reach people here. That's just not the case for the Florida Democrats.

On the conclusion, totally reasonable. Brown had a tendency for self-delusion throughout his term. One of his biggest problems.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

TheCat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2185
Re: Arash Kamiar: Financing the 2015 Mayoral Election
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2015, 12:55:10 PM »
Quote
It may be a leap to assume that the general public of Jacksonville is as powerless on a local level as Gilens and Page describe in their study. I can’t say with any certainty how Jacksonville policies are impacted by public opinion or money.

I can say for certain how policies are impacted by money: just look at Curry's appointments thus far.  His is giving appointments to his big money donors, their friends and family (just off the top of my head, Ali Shelton, Ty Petway, and Jed Davis come to mind). Those who give money will shape our policies via appointments.  *sigh* same game as usual.

Personally, I don't care if someone "buys" their position as long as they do their job and do it well while making the quality of life better in this town.


No way. At least, if we are going to be okay with people buying positions...let's sell them directly. No reason for the money, effort and energy to be poured into campaigns. Let's send $$$ straight to the city accounts. Let's offer city positions as an RFP of sorts. Highest bidder, combined with a good plan gets the job?

I wonder what would happen to our governments and quality of life if the amount of volunteer hours, money and strategy were poured into our city directly every four years.