By Hillel Aron
Haim Saban is different than you and me: he's the 287th richest man in the world, worth $3.3 billion.
The Egyptian Jew, who looks an Ian McShane/Silvio Berlusconi cross, created The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. And he's the biggest giver to Proposition 27, the measure to keep California gerrymandered to within an inch of its life and protect those delicate incumbents.
As the New Yorker details, Saban is cozy with the Democratic Party and the Clintons (not the Obamas). He's “a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” He says things like: “You tell that fucking guy to stay out of my face! I was driving a fucking tank in the Israeli Army … when he was watching 'Scooby-Doo'!”
But what do California's fixed elections, so grotesque that they've inspired comparisons to the Politburo, have to do with Israel?
And why did Saban, who in 2010 is rabidly for gerrymandering, give $200,000 in 2008 to Prop. 11, which California voters approved to end gerrymandering?
Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee writes:
Saban would not discuss his donations, referring questions to a spokesman, who said in an e-mail that Saban concluded that Proposition 11 “hasn't worked out as intended” and didn't want to extend the concept of a citizens' commission to congressional boundaries, as envisioned by Munger and his new initiative.
But wait. Prop. 11 is only in the baby stages of being implemented. The citizens who will sit on the commission to redraw legislative districts in California — a power that state legislators fought hard not to let the citizens have — haven't even been selected yet.
Morain notes that Saban's fat $2 million donation to overturn the brand-new law, “isn't what it seems.”
Morain is a bit too kind.
Saban was against gerrymandering before he was for it. Why the flip-flop?
Perhaps it does all lead to Israel. It may be that Saban is protecting Howard Berman, the California congressman and chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who's a staunch Israel supporter.
Citizens on the Prop. 11 commission, who will have communities of interest in mind when they draw up voting districts, won't give damn about preserving the strange “Man in Scarf Wearing a Pilgrim Hat” shape of Berman's 28th District of California.
If Proposition 20 is approved November 2 instead of Proposition 27 — truly a Haim Saban nightmare — it would give citizens the power to draw up not just California state legislative districts, but Congressional districts too.
Unlike pols, citizens would respect true boundaries like neighborhood borders and the Hollywood Hills.
Berman could very easily find that the mostly San Fernando Valley district he thinks of as “his” no longer contains enough of “his” voters.
Remember, the 20th Congressional District was specially drawn, using computer programs to stack it with people who vote for Berman, to make sure Berman gets elected time after time.
Saban gave Berman $4,800 – half for the primary, half for the general election – the max.
So maybe the billionaire is trying to make sure his personal politician gets reelected into perpetuity.
Or maybe Saban is cozying up to Nancy Pelosi, in an attempt to buy as much influence as $2 million can. Pelosi is way, way into gerrymandering, as are almost all of the top-most political incumbents in the U.S. Congress.
For further reading on the gerrymandering schemes in California, please check out: