Katzenberg, Spielberg, Abrams donate to Bass mayoral bid

Rick Caruso’s self-funded mayoral nomination has largely overshadowed how another wealthy local is pouring historic sums in support of the first candidate’s opponent, Rep. Karen Bass.

Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg on Wednesday donated $1 million to Communities United for Bass for LA Mayor 2022, bringing his total contributions to the group to about $1.85 million. As an independent spending committee, the group is legally separate from and does not coordinate with Bass’s campaign.

Other Hollywood luminaries have also donated to the group: On Monday, director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw Spielberg each donated $125,000, while producer Norman Lear contributed $5,000.

Producer-director JJ Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath, both executive directors of Bad Robot Productions, each donated $50,000 last month. They each gave $125,000 that spring.

The pro bass group has raised nearly $5 million since the beginning of the year. A new and separate pro-bass PAC led by the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters has raised more than $2 million in donations over the past few weeks.

That generosity, on top of the $6 million her campaign spent during the last round of hiring, pales in comparison to the roughly $70 million Caruso has poured into his campaign since entering the race.

“Rick Caruso is showing no signs of stopping the infusion of tens of millions of his own dollars into his mayoral vanity campaign,” said Morgan Miller, chairman of Communities United for Bass. “We need every available resource so we can hold him accountable.”

Aside from Caruso, Katzenberg’s spending is the largest single donation to a candidate in the city elections this cycle.

Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks and former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, has long been a political donor, but his donations typically went to national politicians like President Obama and Hillary Clinton. He gave heavily to President Biden’s campaign, raising more than $700,000 at one event.

In 2013, Katzenberg invested more than $101,000 in efforts to get Wendy Greuel—who worked with him at DreamWorks—elected mayor.

This cycle, however, has seen his political donations skyrocket locally, coinciding with a revived interest in LA’s homelessness crisis.

Rep. Karen Bass, a candidate for Los Angeles mayor, speaks at a pro-choice event.

Rep. Karen Bass, a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, speaks at a pro-choice event Monday at the Women’s March Action Headquarters in Los Angeles.

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

In the summer of 2021, Katzenberg met with scores of local elected officials and aid workers working on homelessness policy ahead of a vote to introduce new anti-camping rules that would allow the city to remove camps set up by the homeless near key public areas Facilities such as libraries and homeless shelters as housing offers become available.

Since then, he has continued to meet with people playing a role in the city and county’s homelessness response to understand how the crisis management could be improved.

During the primary, Katzenberg distributed approximately $1.37 million to local, county and statewide candidates.

LA mayoral candidate Rick Caruso, left, hosts an event with seniors at the Horace Heidt Estates on Wednesday.

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso, left, takes the microphone from Horace Heidt Jr. during a campaign appearance in Sherman Oaks September 28.

(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

This included the maximum donations of $800 to City Council members Mitch O’Farrell, Bob Blumenfield, Monica Rodriguez and Curran Price. Katzenberg also donated $500,000 to a committee supporting former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna’s attempt to impeach LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

He recently donated an additional $500,000 to the Luna Support Committee, according to a spokesman.

Katzenberg’s donations to the pro-Bass committee went primarily to ads that boosted Bass’ resume and attacked Caruso for his past registration as a Republican and his past support of anti-abortion politicians.

In the spring, the salvos of attack between the two wealthy men became more personal. Variety published an interview with Caruso in which he attacked Katzenberg for “lying” about him in ads.

“Rick’s attacks are an attempt to bully and suppress the truth,” Katzenberg told the Times in response. “He has made it clear that he is far too thin-skinned and high-spirited to be our mayor.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-06/katzenberg-spielberg-jj-abrams-karen-bass-million-donation-la-mayor Katzenberg, Spielberg, Abrams donate to Bass mayoral bid

Alley Einstein

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