Wendy Bucknum Update
Part 9, Lobbyist calls in markers from her employer’s industry
Articles in this series examine the campaign of professional housing lobbyist Wendy Bucknum, She has announced her candidacy for the Mission Viejo City Council in the November election.
Bucknum is planning an out-of-town fundraiser on Apr. 30 for her special-interest donors. The fundraiser is a blatant shakedown of her employer’s housing industry contacts.
Bucknum said when she ran in 2012 that she couldn’t afford to run on her own money. When she saw she would likely lose the election, she loaned her campaign $8,000, which she is now scrambling to get back. She’s again running on Other People’s Money, and her donors don’t live in Mission Viejo.
Bucknum’s fundraiser will be held in San Juan Capistrano at Marbella Country Club. In her announcement, she names four hosts and “Community Industry Association Friends.” Look at the links of Bucknum’s hosts, and the crony capitalism becomes clear – these outsiders want their industry lobbyist on Mission Viejo’s council:
Tinnelly of Aliso Viejo, http://www.tinnellylaw.com/
Prendiville of San Juan Capistrano, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prendiville-Insurance-Agency/204801352867140
Antis of Irvine, https://www.facebook.com/antisroofing
Combs of San Clemente, http://www.caioc.org/Page/290~5263/Restoration-Services-Emergency-
The organization that connects Bucknum with her financiers is the Virginia-based CAI. Information on CAI’s website spells out its agenda:
“Since CAI was founded in 1973, the people that build and service common interest developments (CIDs) have been a significant force in interest group politics in many states. According to Evan McKenzie they are dominated by lawyers and property managers that have shaped legislative and judicial policy making to prevent meaningful regulation of CID activity, and keep the discourse on such matters largely private.
“In the absence of meaningful legislative regulation or oversight, the idea of residential private government took the shape advocated originally by developers through the Urban Land Institute and the Federal Housing Administration, and later through the CAI. "One result," Professor McKenzie argues, "is the institutionalization of a heavy–handed managerial focus in CID governance."”
When Bucknum and incumbent Councilman Frank Ury ran for city council as a slate in 2012, they solicited donations as a tag team. From feedback from area contractors Bucknum, and Ury attempted to shake down, the solicitation sounded more like extortion. One person said, “The pitch was a combination of throwing some business our way plus an implied threat of keeping business away from us if we didn’t donate. We passed on both of them.”
In addition to Bucknum running as a council candidate, Frank Ury is running for a seat on the OC Board of Supervisors. Voters, grab your wallets and RUN from these candidates.