Sunday, July 29, 2007

Della's Acceptance of Contributions from Predatory Lenders

A recent post at The Paper Noose about the contributors to the David Della and Tim Burgess campaigns led me to poke around in the Seattle Ethics and Election Committee's website.

I was surprised to find that Della, who's basically running on the I-support-the-poor-and-minorities platform, has accepted $800 in contributions from executives at Moneytree, a payday loan outfit that charges residents of mostly poor and minority communities up to 391% in interest on payday loans.

From Seattle's list of the employers of Della campaign contributors:

MONEY TREE INC $800


If you dig a little deeper, you'll find that it all came from the President and Director of Community Development.

David Gandara Moneytree, Inc. Director, Community Devel 5/25/07 $50
David Gandara Moneytree, Inc. Director, Community Devel 4/5/07 $300
Dennis Bassford Moneytree, Inc. President 10/23/06 $300
David Gandara Moneytree, Inc. Director, Community Devel 10/23/06 $150


Blogger won't let me add a poll to this post unfortunately, but they let me add it to the sidebar (do you see it at right?). Do you think that the Della campaign will accept my comment on this post in his blog?

Della has more contributors than any other candidate

According to the latest filings, David has nearly 700 contributors to his campaign, well more than any other Council incumbent or challenger. David has always relied on small contributors to help support his campaign because it reflects the kind of community he wants.


My comment, which is currently "awaiting moderation":

Do the big contributions he’s accepted from the President and Director of Community Development of Moneytree — a payday loan facility that sets up shop in poor neighborhoods and charges residents up to 391% in interest — also reflect the kind of community he wants?


I hope they accept it! It would be the blog's very first comment since its inception in early May.

Trip to Toronto: Hotel Bar (The End!)

The last afternoon of our trip, we finally visited the Consort Bar in our hotel, the Royal Meridien King Edward. We stayed there because we got a sweet Expedia package deal, and Frommer's made it sound OK:

At one time, the King Eddy was the only place in Toronto that Hollywood royalty, such as Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, would consider staying. In the 1980s, after many years of neglect, a group of local investors spent C$40 million (US$32 million) to rescue it. The result recalls its former glory, with rosy marble columns and a glass-domed rotunda dominating the lobby. Although the guest rooms aren't what I'd call spacious -- 28 to 33 sq. m (300-350 sq. ft.) is standard -- their uniformly high ceilings give them a sweeping grandeur that is unusual. The rooms are also charmingly appointed. Unlike rooms at many competitors, where you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference among them, these guest rooms have been decorated with a personal touch. The bathrooms are particularly nice, with large marble tubs.

...

The wood-paneled Consort Bar is wonderfully clubby, and its 2.5m-high (8-ft.) windows afford fun people-watching while you sip a champagne cocktail. It's got a surprising long menu, which includes everything from crispy calamari to thin-crust pizzas.


We ordered Niagara wines and an amazing cheese plate instead of champagne, squid, or pizza.

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But we did a lot of that fun people-watching.

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We drank too much Niagara wine at a friend's house that night.

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And almost ate $6 candy bars from the hotel minibar at midnight. But decided to go out and find cheaper, more substantial food instead. Pizza Pizza.

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We barely made it onto the plane the next morning. Southern Ontario is lovely, but I was glad to see the Cascades again.

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Trip to Toronto: Pictures of Chinatown, UT, and Yorkville

Chinatown.

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Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.

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Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

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Eyebrow embroidery? Ouch!

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University of Toronto.

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We stopped in the Physical Geography Building to use the bathroom.

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Yorkville.

We didn't stay in Yorkville long. It's that rich neighborhood that looks like every other big city's rich neighborhood. A Chanel store, Four Seasons, Tiffany & Co., etc. I only took photos of the art museums, whose current exhibits weren't particularly tempting.

The Gardiner.

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The Royal Ontario Museum.

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Trip to Toronto: 401 Richmond

Friday we poked around the 401 Richmond building, as recommended by our two tourist guides, the little new Wallpaper City Guide to Toronto and the Design*Sponge Toronto Design Guide:

401 RICHMOND BUILDING

As the name suggests, this meticulously maintained former warehouse is located on Richmond St West, in the fashion district. Home to a wide variety of artists, galleries, indie media companies, theatre companies, collectives and more, the 401 is an absolute buzz of creative activity. Regular tours, sample sales, shows and gallery openings, mean it should be on every Torontonian's radar. Take a break and sip a tea on the green roof with its fantastic view of the downtown skyline.


We didn't drink any tea, but I did indulge in some fresh watermelon juice.

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I was intrigued by the VendaVision, but I suspected that it wouldn't work.

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Now I know what it was all about:

Torontonians will soon be able to enjoy a cold soda and indie art flick simultaneously through the magic of VendaVision. The vending machines, which will be stationed in several Toronto locations, dispense pop and art for a dollar--25% of which goes directly to the contributing artist. Who says you can't support Canadian film and rot your teeth at the same time? Local yokel Leif Harmsen is responsible for this madness, and is seeking not only film contributions but donations of pop machines, monitors, and DVD players.


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Gwendolyne of Gwendolyne Hats recommended we visit the building's rooftop garden, which I had forgotten about.

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Bye, 401 Richmond!

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trip to Toronto: Niagara Fucking Falls

I never thought I would go to Niagara Falls, but I did, and I can report that it is awesome.

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I'm not saying that you need to go there, but I'm saying that if you're ever spending some time in Toronto, you need to go there.

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Doesn't this boat ride look fun?

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Yeah, baby!

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Niagara Falls is conveniently located next to wine country.

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Cheers!

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