30 Thursday Oct 2014
bond funding, Lynda Resnick, No on prop 1, Nov 4 elections, Paramount farms, proposition 1, proposition funding, propositions, Resnicks, Roll international, State Superintendent, Stewart Resnick, Torlakson, water bonds, Water policy, Water politics
In 2013 the Los Angeles school board race attracted some remarkable, inordinately outsized contributions from supporters not even associated with LAUSD, lured instead by the zeal of Antonio Villaraigosa and his Coalition for School ®eform. This particular flank in the War to Privatize Education (“WarPED“?) has since lost quite a few of its generals and commanders (Villaraigosa, Bloomberg, Deasy). But one name appears in next week’s November election associated with a trough that is different.
Lynda Resnick personally contributed $100,000 toward the LA mayor’s war chest leveled against our public schools. And as a superficial expectation allying Education ®eformers with Privateers, it seems reasonable to predict some of the Lynda and Stewart Resnick billions from ROLL Global holdings (POM Wonderful, Fiji Water, Teleflora, Franklin Mint, Paramount Farms (growers of among other water-intensive citrus and nuts: pomegranites, mandarin “cuties” and pistachios)), might be employed in support of Villaraigosa-championed, Charter-school-cheerleading, Edushyster Marshall Tuck.
But, in fact, this philanthropic “limousine liberal” rolls the other way, nipping Tuck for Torlakson. Lynda, Stewart and three of their five children, Jason Sinay, Ilene and William Resnick, have instead collectively contributed at least $41,500 toward Tom Torlakson’s State Superintendent race.
So … all participants in all skirmishes are not aligned all of the time. And perhaps then Stewart Resnick is to be believed on the face of it when he states he makes political donations “without much real strategy“. Certainly, Torlakson has been in charge and in power for some while. And Stewart and his wife have appeared with Torlakson at the site of their San Joaquin Westlands citrus farm’s very own eponymous Charter School, Paramount Academy. Torlakson and his power base is not without his own charter championeering Oligarchs. And their contributions may be more aligned with profit than ideology.
These Resnicks are power donors with a proclivity for supporting self-serving policies politically. With a long history of mixing water with education, they are some of California’s wealthiest individuals because of California public water policy, which they actively shape.
The November election’s water policy Proposition 1, is a seven-and-a-half billion dollar ($7.5B) bond proposal – that’s some real change – packaged to appeal to drought-sensitized California residents, even environmentalists. But this massive public loan ultimately showers a mega-elite few with extravagant benefit for inefficient, inappropriate, multinational-profiting corporate farmland while yielding minimal long-term benefit for the public, which nevertheless picks up the tab.
There is plenty to read about the science, policy and claims surrounding proposition 1 and California’s water policy. But an interesting shortcut is to follow the money of who’s spending what where. And of course who isn’t getting funded. The voice of opposition is loud but funded with a mere rivulet, drowned by some of the planet’s wealthiest to the roar of three orders of magnitude more campaign dollars.
Lynda and Stewart Resnick have personally contributed at least $150,000 toward the tens of millions arrayed to pass this proposition. It is difficult if not impossible to follow their derivative interests in the matter. Funds are contributed by consortia that shield its constituents, and these front groups themselves have shadowy relationships. Could, for example, a group registered by the lawyer “Jason Resnick” of Western Growers Service Corporation that invested $250K in the prop. 1 cause, be more than nominally related to the family-run Resnick corporation? Regardless, it is minimally clear the Resnick’s have sunk a lot into floating this gargantuan bond measure, at least five times that of the annual median household income in Avenal, CA, a town adjacent to some of the Resnick’s Paramount Farm holdings.
The morality of this dubious philanthropy informs my own choices. Stay skeptical of overwhelming influence and listen instead to the foot soldiers carefully. My experience and needs as a parent in LAUSD is clearly at odds with the interests of its ideological financiers; this seems analogous. Consider the motivating interests beneath this political bill’s water line and vote with me:
¡¡ NO ON PROPOSITION 1 !!