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Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Trying to buy influence? Signs point to 'no' …

Editor’s Notebook: Trying to buy influence? Signs point to ‘no’ …

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We got some online-readership mojo-cum-traction last week with an article noting that Arlington County Board member (and largely all-around good guy) Matt de Ferranti has a BFF – as in “billionaire best friend,” as in financial guru Arthur Rock.

De Ferranti recently got a “piece of the Rock,” so to speak, when the San Francisco-based venture capitalist dropped $15,000 into the Arlington elected official’s campaign. He did roughly the same thing four years ago.

One might reasonably ask why Mr. Rock, who apparently has never met nor talked to de Ferranti, was wading into Arlington races (as he also did a few years back by giving some Fabulous Moolah – for those who get that reference to an old-time female wrestler – into the coffers of School Board candidate Cristina Diaz-Torres.)

It seems that both of them, like others around the country who have received some financial love from the billionaire, are related to an educational organization he supports. So he drops a little cash into their campaign coffers now and again.

As for whether he might want anything out of the relationships? Next month brings Mr. Rock’s 96th birthday, so I’m not sure he’s particularly concerned one way or another about issues in the local communities where he deposits his cash.

(An exception would be his current abode of San Francisco, where Rock was heavily involved in financing the ultimately successful effort to remove three cray-cray School Board members. And how inept and/or cray-cray must a Democrat be to be recalled in San Francisco, particularly considering there are plenty of additional cray-crays ready to take their places?)

Our coverage gave room to de Ferranti’s two opponents on the Nov. 8 ballot (Audrey Clement and Adam Theo) to have a say, and they made their points. And de Ferranti also may now be asking himself, “self, was it worth getting the cash to have a story on this written up in Sun Gazette, no matter how fair, balanced, nuanced and, dare one say, brilliant the coverage was?” (We are probably paraphrasing ….)

But in the grand scheme of things, having a billionaire-buddy is probably not going to be the major issue in the fall campaign, particularly if it’s a nonagenerarian from 2,400 miles away. (George Soros being the exception to that rule, but so far, he hasn’t shown an interest in this race.)

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE …: On the Bearing Drift political Website that caters to Virginia’s six remaining political RINOs, former Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling yesterday came out in favor of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s disowning the Republican nominee to be his successor.

While in many ways I want to be sympathetic to both Bolling and Hogan – we Clean-Plate Society members must stick together, preferably over a brunch buffet! – one really wonders if they shouldn’t, in that immortal phrase bellowed from the back at the first Stamos/Dehghani-Tafti debate of 2019, just “hush up!”

Always remember the Robert “No Relation to Chris” Zimmerman (AKA Bob Dylan) dictum of politics: “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” And for the last few years, the GOP wind has been blowing, hard, against the likes of Bolling and Hogan.

Maybe it’d be better for them to seek cover and ride out the storm, rather than risk the wrath of the weather gods by howling into the wind so often.

– Scott McCaffrey

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