Los Angeles Times: Why redistricting is such a hot topic in the leaked L.A. City Council audio
The main reason behind the fight over assets, said Jonathan Mehta Stein of California Common Cause, is the political benefits they can bring to a council member. “It all goes back to campaign fundraising and building power,” said Stein, who is the group’s executive director.
Those benefits are twofold, Stein said. First, having a business or commercial hub in your district puts you in contact with business owners who want to curry favor with you, which translates into campaign donations. And second, having a significant asset such as a major event space or a high-profile business gives you opportunities to hobnob with VIPs and powerful state figures.
“You’re building your networks; you’re building your Rolodex,” developing social cachet that will come in handy when you’re running for higher office, he said.
What the call revealed was council members “trying to build the political power of one racial or ethnic group at the expense of another,” Stein said. “But their own interest in the future of their political careers was also at play amid all the racism. ... When they’re trying to secure economic assets in their districts or their friends’ districts, they are trying to secure a glide path to more power, more influence and higher office for themselves and their friends.”