Campaign finance update: Pot and Perata

S.K. Seymour LLC, the partnership that runs Oakstersdam University and its related “cannabusinesses,” last Tuesday gave $10,000 to Hope 2010, a ballot measure committee (formerly known as Leadership California) controlled by former state Senate President Pro Tem and 2010 Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata. Perata in September publicly endorsed the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010,” the marijuana legalization ballot measure co-proposed by S.K. Seymour LLC partner and Oaksterdam University President Richard Lee. Hope 2010 is supporting the California Cancer Research Act, a proposed ballot measure that would raise the state’s tobacco tax to fund grants and loans for reaearch; to create, staff and equip California’s research facilities; and to boost efforts to reduce tobacco use. The measure is now awaiting preparation of its title and summary by the state Attorney General’s office; it looks like the campaign has a Web site being built but not yet ready for public viewing.

In other news, Palo Alto physicist Charles T. Munger Jr., son of Warren Buffett’s billionaire investor partner, last week put another $701,260 into his “Voters First Act for Congress” ballot measure, bringing his total so far to $1,003,030. The measure would remove authority for setting California’s 53 Congressional district boundaries from the state Legislature, and would give that authority instead to the same Citizens Redistricting Commission that will soon be setting state Legislative boundaries (as required by last year’s successful Proposition 11).

Pacific Gas & Electric on Friday put another $500,000 into its somewhat euphemistically named “Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote” committee, pushing a ballot measure which would require local governments to obtain the approval of two-thirds of their voters (rather than just a simple majority) before providing electricity to new customers or expanding such service to new territories if any public funds or bonds are involved, or before providing electricity through a community choice program if any public funds or bonds are involved. Critics say PG&E is playing on populist themes in order to block local governments from abandoning the utility giant in favor of power contracts with smaller, greener energy producers – a movement that’s been gaining steam in recent years. The proponents have until Dec. 21 to gather the 694,354 signatures needed to place this on the ballot next year. This contribution brings PG&E’s stake as the committee’s sole donor to $3.5 million so far.

And Livermore optometrist Scott Kamena on Friday put $23,000 into his own Kamena for Assembly 2008 committee, which had indicated in its mid-year report having $60,749.39 in outstanding debts. Kamena ran in the June 2008 Republican primary for the 15th Assembly District, coming in fourth behind nominee Abram Wilson and candidates Robert Rao and Judy Lloyd.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Perata’s campaign motto:

    “Never been indicted!”

    You can bet the Don never met a $10,000 contribution he didn’t like.

  • Carl Hutchins


    You have sure come along way from a cub reporter getting her paws wet on the Lucy Lane project in Saranap to a leading political reporter whe knows the score.

    Woe is uys as to Garamendi. I think he means well but,
    sometimes the means gets to cloud hs vision. He really doesn’t live in the district. closeby isn’t good enough.

    I remember hsoi touting combining workers compensation insurance and medical insurance into a gigantic 24/7 policy covering everyopne everywhere no matter what.

    With the gigantic fraud issues in Medicare, shouls we expand the rest of healthcare into that morass?

    Well, selfishly, I now get mny medical attention through VA. Nothing but high marks on that from me. And as I have seen four score years, not much further to go.

    As for my kids, that is the issue, health insurance ain’t cheap, so why do we think single payer will be cheaper????

    Best regards

    Carl Hutchins
    Still in Saranap

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Cede California back to Mexico