Money

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 – 10:30 a.m.

In didn’t take long.

San Bernardino County politicos, a obsessed with making themselves look good the past couple years, now find themselves in an unexpected predicament.

Of the county’s nine elected officials (the 5- County Supervisors, Sheriff-Coroner, Assessor-Recorder, District Attorney, Auditor-Controller-Treasurer=Tax Collector), three have campaign debt, and several other have little or no money in their campaign war-chests.

Last year, county supervisors passed a campaign finance ordinance that capped direct contribution at $3,900 per donor, per election cycle. The limit has since climbed to $4,200. In other words, each official can accept no more than $4,200 for a primary election, and the equal amount for a general election runoff. County Supervisors, particularly current Chair Janice Rutherford, patted themselves on the back for a job well-done.

Oh yes! Now the crying has started.

But now, these politicians, with no forward-looking vision, and who at the time wanted the feel-good campaign limits measure to garner them some good press, are struggling to raise campaign dough.

In the upcoming June 2014 primary election cycle, two county supervisors, and all four county-wide elected posts, maybe with the exception of Assessor-Recorder Dennis Draeger and Tax Collector Larry Walker, will absolutely be contested. Draeger has done a fine job, since taking over for convicted Former Assessor Bill Postmus. On the other hand, Walker, with the exception of a questionable hire and a few internal operational problems, hasn’t committed any serious missteps.

The aforementioned limit doesn’t apply to funds raised to repay campaign debt.

This group, unknowingly or not, placed their respective political futures in the hands of independent political action committees. Groups that can, at will, spend unlimited amounts of money, for or against them.

County unions, who collectively have millions in their own PACs, each found out the hard way, that their relationships with county supervisors is tenuous at best are a huge wildcard.

Then there’s the spectre of outside groups forming committees in support or opposition, another highly likely scenario.