My friends are starting to hate me

December 29th, 2011

Every morning I wake up wanting to spend the day meeting with smart policy folks, putting together some fresh thinking to help turn around our beloved — but broken — California. I am eager and ready to contribute my lifetime of progressive activism toward solutions.

But instead, I spend most of my time “dialing for dollars.” I beg for money from everyone I know. And after a year of this, I’ve had good friends rush off the phone, avert their eyes at events, send me curt, unfriendly emails.

The worst experience so far was at a recent holiday party. I saw one of my friends who had pledged a contribution but not yet sent in the check. I looked up just in time to see her quickly turn around and run the other way, and it really broke my heart. But that’s what it’s come to, with the lack of desperately-needed campaign finance reform. A good and right decision to run for the California Assembly — to represent this beautiful, new, open Assembly District 50, the area I’ve lived and worked in for the past 26 years — is marred by the realistic but overpowering demands of money in politics. Money that’s needed to get out my message, my experience, my qualifications, and my ideas.

And so I still beg.

In order to succeed in 2012, I need another $7,433 before the end of this week to show those “wait and see” dollars (critical to winning) that this campaign has staying power. Yes, THIS week, I need another $7,300!

All this begging may be annoying to you. I may be the first person you want to strike off your New Years Eve invitation list. But before you do, consider this: Harvey Milk taught us that politicians must remain “independent and un-bought” in order to be effective.

You may hate the constant ask, but with every donation you give me freedom. 1,594 donors is freedom! Your support is what will ensure that I’m not beholden to the Sacramento machine or the “octopus of moneyed interests” (Tom Hayden’s words) investing in my opponents.

So if you believe, like I do, that being independent and un-bought is important as the representative of the new 50th Assembly District, help me out one more time this year. With each dollar you contribute, I pledge to be your independent and un-bought representative in Sacramento. Is that a deal?

I am blessed to have this opportunity to bring a lifetime of social change work to Sacramento in order to help “Let California be California again” (to paraphrase Langston Hughes).