July 24, 2014
By STEVEN HERBERT
City News Service
President Barack Obama arrived aboard Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday afternoon for a planned 24 1/2-hour visit to conduct two political fundraisers and speak at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. Los Angeles was the final stop on Obama’s three-day, three-city West Coast fundraising trip, which began Tuesday July 22, in Seattle, where he spoke at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. Obama will begin his day in San Francisco, where he is to attend a morning fundraiser benefiting the House Majority Political Action Committee.
He spoke and answered questions at an early afternoon Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Los Altos Hills. Obama’s first stop of his visit to Los Angeles was at the Hancock Park home of television producer Shonda Rhimes for a late-afternoon DNC fundraising reception and dinner. Tickets for the event begin at $1,000, according to an invitation posted on the website, PoliticalPartyTime.org, which tracks political fundraisers.
The price was $10,000 to attend the reception and for the opportunity to have a photo taken with Obama, and $32,400 — the maximum allowable contribution to a national party committee in a calendar year — to be a co-host of the event, which also allowed the donor to attend a dinner with Obama in addition to the reception and the photo opportunity. The event’s co-chairs included Kerry Washington, the star of the Rhimes-produced ABC drama “Scandal.” Rhimes is also a producer of two other ABC dramas, the long-running “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” which is set to premiere Sept. 25.
“The overwhelming majority” of tickets for the fundraiser were priced at $1,000 “because most of the people I know cannot afford” a $32,400 ticket, Rhimes told City News Service.
On Thursday, Obama was scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with about 30 people at the Los Angeles home of Michael Rapino, CEO of the concert promotion firm Live Nation, with tickets costing $32,400 each, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Proceeds benefit the Democratic National Committee. The lone planned non-fundraising event of Obama’s visit to California was also scheduled Thursday at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, where he was expected to speak on the “importance of job-driven skills training, particularly for fast-growing sectors such as health care,” according to the White House.
Various groups describing themselves as pro-immigration and pro-Palestinian planned to protest outside Trade-Technical College, calling for ending deportations of immigrants in the country without legal permission, for the U.S. to demand Israel end its attacks on Palestinians and for the creation of a Palestinian state. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, who will become House majority leader on Aug. 1, criticized Obama on Tuesday for not addressing California’s drought during his visit to the state, calling him “clueless to the fact that Californians care more for solving our problems than they care for high-dollar presidential fundraisers.”
Obama spoke about the drought at a farm in Los Banos in the San Joaquin Valley in February. The Obama administration has provided assistance to the state's farmers and ranchers in a variety of programs, sought to increase coordination and flexibility in water allocations; and improve drought monitoring, research and tools. The trip was Obama’s 19th to Los Angeles or Orange counties since taking office in 2009 and the third in three months. All but three of his trips have included political fundraisers.