EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Assembly speaker's gravy train comes to Bonta's 18th District

ASSEMBLY | 18TH DISTRICT | It’s doubtful many in the 18th District know Toni Atkins is the speaker of the State Assembly. For the uninitiated, ostensibly, she is Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s boss in the Legislature (of course, excluding his ultimate boss—us.)

So, what do you do when the boss needs help from one of her most ambitious underlings? You throw an expensive fundraiser for her undetermined State Senate campaign, that’s what!

Bonta, along with East Bay Assemblymembers Bill Quirk and Tony Thurmond, is hosting a $4,200-per-person fundraiser Wednesday night at the Alameda home of Gray Harris, the co-president of the Alameda Democratic Club, who also has ties to the local teachers association and firefighters union.

Not surprisingly, a number of local firefighters groups are co-hosting the event, including those in Alameda, Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco and Fremont.

However, if you don’t have the cash to max out your donation to join “Team Toni,” additional levels of support range from $2,500 to $100.

Although it’s clear to most that Bonta has his eyes on rising to the top of the Democratic leadership in Sacramento, what makes this fundraiser different is nobody knows exactly when Atkins will attempt the jump to the upper house of the Legislature.

For instance, contributions to tonight’s soiree are made payable to “Atkins for Senate 2020.” Atkins is termed out of the San Diego seat in 2016, but the path is somewhat blocked by Democrats in the Senate.

Left to its own accord, the Senate seat isn’t open until 2020, but that doesn’t mean the cash being raised by Atkins in places like Alameda, in the meantime, won’t be used to shower contributions on other Democrats in the Assembly, or prospective candidates.

Bonta, himself, is already quite adept at raising significant amounts of money for the Democratic leadership. In addition, he holds a seat that does not require the even-year job of getting re-elected. In essence, everything Bonta raises for himself and others, is gravy, a condiment unlikely to be served at tonight’s gathering.

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