[Updated] There’s a new Super PAC in Pasadena and, while it is required to register with the Federal Elections Commission in Washington D.C., its politics, like most politics, are local.
The force behind the Business Leaders for Better Government (BLBG) Super PAC (political action committee) is local activist and former political candidate, Sheryl Turner.
And the force behind Turner can be found in a subheading to the Feb. 5 press statement announcing the outfit’s arrival on the scene: “Group focuses on increase in unnecessary business taxes in the Tri-Cities region.”
By “Tri-Cities,” BLBG means Pasadena, Glendale, and Burbank. By “unnecessary taxes” the Super PAC means the sales tax approved by Pasadena voters in November with Measure I.
“I didn’t like the three-quarter cents sales tax,” Turner said in a Feb. 6 interview, “and a lot of businesses didn’t either. And, in my opinion, there are signs that businesses will soon be hit with a public utilities tax coming down the pike.”
Turner rejected the suggestion that she had gone from running and participating in campaigns to financing them. “We look at this more as economic development and the Super PAC as a vehicle for that,” she said.
Turner noted that she had served as economic development director for the City of Beverly Hills and that her focus has been to ensure the viability and health of the business community. “So our interests lie in anything we can do to support that,” she added.
Turner explained that a Super PAC’s is different from a regular PAC in that it can take in any size contribution from anybody (who is not a foreign national). PACs are focused on single issues or candidates and deal with limitations on the amount of money they can collect; restrictions that don’t apply to the Super breed of the PAC species.
Asked if BLBG had a lot of funds on hand, Turner said, “We’re taking donations right now and have an aggressive recruitment plan.”
The group’s base, to date, she stated, is comprised “mostly of restaurants and automotive businesses.”
BLBG has emphasized the bipartisan nature of its efforts.
Turner noted that, “when you’re supporting the health of businesses, it tends to be more of a Republican issue,” but that the GOP’s thinning ranks in the region may mean ferreting out pro-business Democrats from those often perceived to be less so.
The group filed its FEC papers in October, but held its fire while a message and focus were refined. “We’ve been like candidates, doing listening tours, interviewing, researching and finding out the main issues that people are concerned with.”
Areas of focus developed during that gestation period include regional automotive sales and leasing; beer, wine, and liquor sales/distribution; business services; food and beverage; hotels and lodging; tourism, recreation and live entertainment; retail sales and unified school districts.
The Tri-Cities economy in a nutshell.
BLBG, the statement said, “will determine which candidates or ballot measures receive contributions in accordance with its strategic plan for 2020.”
BLBG said its treasurer is Bishop Christopher Milton of Holy Assembly Church of God in Christ. Its secretary is Alex Keledjian, who is a member of the Los Angeles County Republican Party board of directors.
Paul Little, president, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, said there have been PACs in the city’s past including the chamber’s own PasPAC.
“That was around in the mid-1990s to promote capping the utility transfer to the general fund, and other fiscal restraint measures, for city government,” said Little. “There have been none since that I’m aware of.”
The new Super PAC’s facebook page is here.