Last Week I got my invitation to the Sixteenth Annual Ravioli & Polenta Dinner, put on by the Mike Thompson for Congress Committee. If memory serves me correctly Mike usually raises about $2 million every two years to run basically unopposed. Where does all that money go? Some to keep staff stomachs full, of course, but apparently Mike donates chunks of it to other Democratic Party politicians whose seats are less certain. This makes him an important guy and basically buys votes for his wine industry patrons and for other favorite Thompson causes.
Why would you pay $20 or more into a campaign that clearly does not need the money? Many attendees will simply be star-struck Democratic rank-and-file. Others will be hoping Mike remembers them when they want something.
Being a Democratic gathering, and it now being a Democratic congress, Mike Thompson will probably drop his old rap about really being a Republican on matters like lowering inheritance and capital gains taxes. Tax the workers is no longer a Thompson campaign slogan. Instead Thompson will criticize George W. Bush on Iraq, always a favorite with the very Democrats who were screaming for Islamic blood back in 2002. He will paint himself as a truly green environmentalists, a veritable champion of commercial fishermen. Why, Zeke Grader of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations (PCFFA) will be a special guest.
The event will be at Crown Hall, 45285 Ukiah St., in the town of Mendocino, from 5 to 7:30 PM on Friday, August 17, 2007. Didn't get an invite? Call Mary Jane Bowker at 707-226-8989.
I did a wee bit of research to find out who the big money sponsors of the the event our. Top dog, $1000 or more Titanium level, is Ollie Edmunds. Ollie is probably a nice guy, but he does not live in Thompson's district. He owns Gualala Redwoods, which owns redwood forests near Gualala. He is, of course, an environmentalist like the rest of us, it just happens to be his job to cut down trees.
At the Platinum level ($500 to $1000) we have three sets of sponsors. Jim Caito, again not a bad guy, but his Caito Fisheries is a wholesale buyer of commercial fish. Sure, he'd like to see better salmon runs. On the other hand restrictions on fishing to restore oceanic stocks is probably not his cup of tea. Mike and Maribelle Anderson own the Legacy Yacht and are developing some real estate just north of Fort Bragg, so it is important to be there, what with the property being in the Coastal Zone and therefore a political football. Finally we have Michael and Leslie Lebeau. This couple seems to be do gooders, which is nice; I could not find out where there money comes from. But they gave $10,000 to No On 77, the single most corrupt campaign in recent California history. So, in fact, Mike Thompson and his gerrymander pals owe the Lebeaus. Prop 77 would have taken the drawing of California political districts out of the hands of the state legislature and given it to a non-partisan panel. It terrified both Republican Party politicians and there corrupting donors and Democratic Party politicians and there corrupting donors. Me and Arnold and a few independents were not able to muster support for the proposition against a tidal wave of corrupt lying money.
If you go, have fun. I might go if they gave me a press pass, but my conscience forbids me to give money or support to War Crimes Organizations.
-- William P. Meyers
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Mike Thomspon is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.