State senator Marty Block, locked in a rough-and-tumble primary race with fellow Democrat Toni Atkins, termed out of her Assembly seat, is going all out to attract donors to his financially challenged campaign war chest. His apparent sense of humor was displayed in an emailed invitation to a November 4 fundraiser at Sacramento’s Chicory Coffee and Tea, just across the street from the state capitol.
In an apparent allusion to the annual post-session special-interest Hawaiian blow-out for legislators run by ex-Democratic state senator Steve Peace, the invite pitches a “pre-Maui luncheon” offering a “$150 gift card to shop at the Sun Glass Hut!” Givers have a choice of being a $2500 sponsor or just a $1000 individual.
According to a December 2013 write-up by the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicory “is a popular hangout for legislators, lobbyists and other political insiders, who come for the chai tea lattes as much as the chance to make inroads on future legislation or overhear the latest Capitol gossip.” Said Jason Kinney with Bob White’s California Strategies lobbying shop: “It’s a political crossroads — if you’re anyone that’s anyone in California’s political ecosystem, you’re going to end up there at some point with a cup in your hand.”
Meanwhile, another big-money San Diego lobbying firm has lined up behind Chris Ward, Block’s chief of staff currently running for the San Diego City Council seat being vacated by Todd Gloria, the Democrat who plans to move on to the Assembly seat Block’s foe Atkins is leaving behind.
Southwest Strategies, with clients including military contractor General Dynamics, Pardee Homes, and the controversial Palomar Card Club, set an 8 a.m. December 1 money-raising event at its downtown nerve center on B Street. “Please consider making a minimum contribution of $250,” it says. “Pastries and coffee will be served.”