Wonky Wednesday: Not Going on our Christmas Tree

I picked up these salt-filled, Cargill Christmas ornaments last week at a Bay Planning Coalition luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Cargill and their development partner, DMB Associates, were both sponsors of the event.

Not only was the event staffed by a half dozen of their employees,  but Cargill also paid for the table decorations and DMB made sure everybody knew they were responsible for the large multicolor display of cupcakes, with each one topped off with the initials “D”, “M” and “B.” I’m sorry I didn’t have my camera with me.

While the ornaments are coming in for some laughs here in the office, there’s nothing funny about the scope of Cargill/DMB’s influence with the amounts of money they are willing to spend to get their way.

The really big money being spent by Cargill/DMB are on their high-powered law firms such as Hunton & Williams, a firm which the New York Times connected to a plot by the US Chamber of Commerce to spy on US citizen activists. It is spent on powerful lobbyists in Washington in Sacramento, like the now $500,000 in documented spending by DMB trying to derail the Bay Area’s groundbreaking sea level rise plan. And it is spent on a staff of more than ten people working full-time in Redwood City since 2006.

Against that backdrop, Cargill’s cheerless Christmas ornaments and DMB’s holiday turkeys, scholarships, and little league sponsorships look like what they are: very small change.