That's nice for him. Less so for us.
Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, the millennial son of the famous Los Angeles politician Mark Ridley-Thomas, threw a birthday party for himself on Saturday, August 5th. Although open to anyone who bought a ticket, the party was seemingly a way to receive industry contributions.
Ridley-Thomas’ twitter page was temporarily taken over by PR Firm Affluent Solution Group in order to promote the various high-ticket donors who gave him money. Ridley-Thomas thanked each contributor individually on his twitter page.
Some of the names who were thanked include:
Clean Energy, a natural gas and fracking company.
California Resources Corporation, an oil, natural gas, and fracking company.
DART, a company that makes single use styrofoam cups.
PORAC, a pro-police officer lobbyist group.
Harold G Becks and Associates, a law firm that seems to mostly defend police officers.
PhRMA, a pharmaceutical lobbyist group.
Davita, a company that makes kidney dialysis machines.
Bryan Carney, a lawyer for Kaiser Permanente.
Thousands of people die annually in Southern California due to pollution. Lower income neighborhoods in Los Angeles, like many that Ridley-Thomas represents, have disproportionately higher pollution than richer neighborhoods.
Three million Californians still do not have health insurance, and an even larger number of our citizens can’t afford to go to the doctor with the insurance that they do have.
Throughout the past three years, the largest contributors to Ridley-Thomas have been in the health sector, either insurance or pharmaceutical companies. Combined, Ridley-Thomas has received over $317,367 in contributions from these industries.
SB-562, the Healthy California Act, was recently shelved before Ridley-Thomas was even asked to voice an opinion. Anthony Rendon decided unilaterally to stop the bill as it traveled through the Assembly. Rendon personally has contributed $8200 to Ridley-Thomas. Ridley-Thomas, as a member of the Assembly Health Committee has not spoken publicly of SB-562 or Single Payer. His constituents are dying, and he is throwing a party for himself, paid for in part by the Health Industry.
This is one Assemblymember in one district in one city in California. The story is clear, and these same problems exist across our state.
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas is a member of the Democratic Party, but is any of this democratic? What sort of world do we live in where this is normal?