March 28: Disaster Capitalism in Sonoma County – Who Are Our Local Power Brokers?

Head to Christ Church United Methodist in Santa Rosa on March 28 for what should be a lively discussion of who profits and who does not as Sonoma County recovers and rebuilds after last autumn’s wildfires. We assume this will include a discussion of Rebuild Northbay, the foundation that wealthy power broker Darius Anderson founded as a 501(c)(4), three days after those fires began. 501(c)(4) groups are referred to as “social welfare organizations” by the IRS. The National Rifle Association is another similarly-structured group currently in the news. These entities can lobby without limit and, of particular importance, can engage in campaign intervention – supporting or opposing candidates for public office – so long as that is not their primary activity.

Anderson is a principal of Sonoma Media Investments, owner of The Press Democrat, Argus-Courier and North Bay Business Journal, a fact not mentioned in his Rebuild Northbay bio, which highlights his business and investment background and in which he is described as “one of California’s most effective political strategists.” Regularly described in his own papers in remarkably glowing terms – go figure – we look forward to discovering how one of Sonoma County’s best-connected Democrats plans to use Rebuild Northbay for the common good. Thus far, none of Sonoma Media Investments’ news outlets have shown much interest in the political purposes Anderson has in mind for the organization.

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