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Quick Money

I happened to come across this Los Angeles Times article from last year:

Labor and business leaders declared victory Tuesday night over a bitterly contested ballot measure that would have imposed new restrictions on building apartment towers, shops and offices in Los Angeles.

As of midnight, returns showed Measure S going down to defeat by a 2-1 margin, with more than half of precincts reporting. . . .

More than $13 million was poured into the fight, funding billboards, television ads and an avalanche of campaign mailers.

OK, fine so far. Referenda are inherently unpredictable so both sides can throw money into a race without any clear sense of who’s gonna win.

But then this:

The Yes on S campaign raised more than $5 million — about 99% of which came from the nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation — to promote the ballot measure.

Huh? The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is spending millions of dollars on a referendum on development in L.A.? That’s weird. Maybe somewhere else in the city there’s a Low Density Housing Foundation that just spent 5 million bucks on AIDS.


  1. Daniel Weissman says:

    Per Wikipedia, apparently they were trying to stop the building of two apartment buildings that would block their headquarters’ view of the Hollywood hills.

  2. Statsgirl says:

    Somehow related to the Housing for Persons With AIDS program?

  3. Sifu Tweety says:

    The head of the AIDS healthcare foundation is sort of infamous for (allegedly; I only know what I read in the papers) using the foundation for his own ends. Specifically, in this case, he drafted Measure S because he didn’t want two new residential towers in Hollywood to spoil his view.

    • John Hall says:

      I remember something about this last year. I think you have it right.

    • Terry says:

      If you were a self-serving charlatan, would you choose to present yourself as a self-serving charlatan? Or would you present yourself as a selfless, high-minded, and pious do-gooder?

      I am always surprised when people are surprised when a “selfless, high-minded, and pious do-gooder” turns out to be a self-serving charlatan. “Patriotism [and other popular pieties] is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

      (Disclaimer: I know nothing about The Aids Healthcare Foundation and Measure S.)

  4. Doug says:

    The person leading the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (Michael Weinstein) is also heavily involved in Ohio pushing Proposal 2, which would amend the state constitution to require drugs to be priced a certain way. By far the biggest ballot issue in the November election.

  5. Clyde Schechter says:

    The IRS might want to have a look at this if what is said above is true. I’m assuming the Aids Healthcare Foundation is a not-for-profit organization. Not-for-profits may not expend funds for the benefit of their directors/officers/management: all expenses must be related to the mission of the organization. If it was really because the person heading the organization was concerned about the view from his office, this would sound like a major league violation of that rule. Perhaps there is some other explanation that would make this sound mission-related, but…

    I also wonder if this would be allowed under California’s election laws.

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