Sunday night and the guilt guillotine is in full swing: have you finished your homework?

That booklet (two, actually) the CA Secretary of State mailed about what your ballot will look like is awfully thick. There are a lot of issues to wade through and degrees of competence and consequence to consider.

It’s time to look for short cuts. The more essential the better. And what could be more fundamental than money?

You can’t really do better than “follow the money”. Basically, everything that’s ever been written is in some sense about its influence. And politics is nothing if not a study in influence. So study it.

Observing the roster of exogenous high rollers aberrantly bankrolling the LA school board elections leads to some interesting conclusions about California water policy and how to weigh in with your vote on Proposition 1 to address the state’s water woes. I was told some 25 years ago that avoiding dams was the wave of water policy future, and so it is hardly surprising that this latest multi-billion dollar water bond we are urged to vote for that is so heavy on dam construction and light on drought relief, turns out to be a veteran of over 30 years’ gerrymandering. “Following the money” reveals a long, dirty trail of quid pro quo compromises resulting in better corporate welfare than fare to serve the rest of us well. I have nothing against spending money, even a lot of it, on the public commons. But this bill diverts that trust to private holdings and belies our ability to husband our environment or sustain a just society through shared resources.

Those heavily invested in privatizing public education betray a political perspective and personality unlikely to refrain from such influence peddling in other arenas, as seen in the case of EdReforming, “water Oligarchs”, Lynda and Stewart Resnick.

But one of, perhaps the single largest private donator propelling Proposition 1 is a real estate tycoon floating on his parent’s sea of laundry quarters. This rainmaker Bill Bloomfield (Jr) has been pumping candidate Ben Allen over Sandra Fluke for State Senate District #26 to the tune of upwards of $1m and everyone wants to know why.

The official line that seems at once noncontroversial and to be not entirely irrelevant is that he’s a “nice guy”; candidate and booster just hit it off. As, by implication, ought you to, the voter – ‘since he’s a nice guy and you can trust him’. Popular opinion seems to regard Allen and Fluke as sort of indistinguishably nice, a wash in the trust department. But he’s the one, the subtext seems to imply, with the more solid business credentials.

But solicited or not, there ought to be suspicion of Bloomfield’s association from a corporate standpoint. There is no such things as free political lunch money and some cite Bloomfield’s involvement as the alarming clue that betrays Allen’s partisan Republican alignment; education ideology may be secondary. In the end despite many, and vocal cries for repudiation of Bloomfield’s millions, it seems the source and political Republican ideology of Bloomfield’s long history of partisanship, really is not anathema to Allen after all.

So like other high profile single-party contestant’s pairings – State Superintendent (Torlakson v Tuck); LA County Supervisor (Kuehl v Shriver) – there is a dialectic setup anyway, if not Elephant v Donkey, Repub v Dem then Leftish-supporters’-dollars v Right-wing monies. And it’s not always easy to determine how the money is flowing, thanks to Supreme Court rulings of Citizens’ United and McCutcheon.

We must always remain suspicious of anyone bearing outsized political gifts. At best there will always remain an appearance of political purchasing, the buying and selling of those humans democratically elected to represent we the people, by plutocrats’ unfairly advantaged holdings.

Please join me in voting on the side of cleaner, more populist bank accounts:

  Sandra Fluke for State Senate District 26,

•  against (“NO“! on) state water dam and Ag-Biz Proposition 1, and most urgently imperative of all,

•  FOR State Superintendent Tom Torlakson.