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Sheldon Adelson

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Sheldon Adelson


Billionaire Bucks

Money from Macau


Thursday, October 4, 2012
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MACAU STORY: The last (and only time) I was in the Portuguese tax haven and gambling mecca of Macau, Stanley Ho had a casino monopoly, gang wars raged, and everyone feared the gangster known as “Broken Tooth.”

Today, the tiny enclave is officially part of China, gang wars have subsided, Broken Tooth is gone (for now), and Las Vegas has invaded and is making billions. Ho still has 16 casinos, but Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson reaped $2.95 billion from his four pleasure palaces in the first half of this year, which has allowed him to help bankroll Mitt Romney’s presidential bid. Macau casinos now rake in five times the annual Vegas shakedown.

Barney Brantingham

Adelson has donated $36.6 million to Romney so far and has said he’ll up the ante to $100 million to put Mitt in the White House. Adelson is just one of 31 billionaires backing Romney with bucks, according to Forbes financial magazine.

There are very cynical people in the world who suspect that Adelson is hoping for a GOP win so the feds will get off his back. He’s under investigation for alleged bribery and money laundering aimed at getting favorable concessions from China. President Obama’s Justice Department is after him.

Part-time Montecitan Harold Simmons is a relative piker in the Romney sweepstakes, having donated a mere $15.8 million. Not bad for a guy who started out with just one drug store. He’s worth $7.1 billion but had a bad year, dropping $2.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Another part-timer, Oprah Winfrey, is worth $2.7 billion and, as far as I know, is not donating a cent to Mitt. She’s not only the richest African-American woman in Montecito but the nation’s only black billionaire. She is reportedly shooting a film in New Orleans, The Butler, with Forest Whitaker. Due out next year, it’s the story of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight presidents, 1952-86.

Wonder what’s in Ty Warner’s wallet? He’s just behind Oprah at $2.4 billion, still nothing to toy with. Craig McCaw, ex-hubby of you-know-who, is worth $1.5 billion and trying to sell his James Island, off the coast of British Columbia, for about $75 million. Then there’s Santa Barbara’s richest part-timer, Larry Ellison, founder of the Oracle software empire. At $41 billion, he’s the third richest man in the U.S. and is still raking it in. He made $8 billion in the past year.

That’s not bad for a South Side Chicago kid. Ellison just bought 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lana‘i for an estimated $500 million or $600 million or something. What’s next: Santa Cruz Island? Santa Barbara itself?

Scanning Netflix, I spotted the 1952 movie Macao (sometimes spelled that way), featuring locals Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell, both now deceased. Netflix and Leonard Maltin’s guide gave it such a good rating that I ordered it. Wonder if Adelson ever saw the movie ​— ​or even went to Macau?

CHICKEN SALAD: Let me get this straight: The seriously ideologically split Santa Barbara City Council has taken some Architectural Board of Review (ABR) members to task for supposedly being ideological. What a joke.

It was almost amusing to watch some on the council shaking fingers at ABR members for the shocking crime of abstaining on the Chik-fil-A patio shrubbery. The three conservatives even wanted to throw two ABR abstainers under the bus. (The third abstainer had already resigned.) After much breast-beating and pompous speeches, the witch hunt was defeated 4-3.

Seldom, if ever, has a chicken sandwich caused such a ruckus. After four hours of wasted time, the council wearily agreed on an expanded code of conduct for the ABR and other design boards. I don’t recall the council folk pledging to keep their own left-right leanings out of deliberations. Who, really, could blame them? So they’re not taking any stinking oath.

A different council might have voted 4-3 to oust the abstainers and searched for replacements more to their ideological liking.

After Chik-fil-A eventually opens on upper State Street, replacing Burger King and its red meat, we’ll see who salutes a chain that helps finance antigay hate groups. As for me, I’m not big on fast food that doesn’t come out of my microwave. I’m abstaining on chicken sandwiches

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So Sheldon Adelson isn't altruistic but is instead expecting favors from a Romney administration. Something everything tea-bag party conservative republican to get behind.

The ABR hearing was interesting in that you could, irrespective of the homophobic scapegoating, detect strong animosity toward the ABR and city processes in general. There was a diverse group of those who don't want anything built at all and those who don't want any regulation at all; the confluence of plans and planting association types and those with axes to grind. The blood in the water revealed that we are indeed in shark alert territory and some great whites were hopeful, looking for some way to disembowel the ABR and I guess replace it with the Francisco Kitchen Koffee Klatch Kabinet, the self appointed membership of the deceased Pearl Chase celebrants, so as to eschew inclusiveness, the future, the living and more modern planning processes.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 6:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No Barney, they didn't take the abstaining ABR members to task for being idealogical, they took them to task for not doing their non-political job for political reasons. None of these ABR members claimed either a conflict of interest or an inability to be objective, they (at least one) flat out refused to do their job because they didn't like the politics of the owner of Chick-Fil-A.

How would you feel if your postal carrier refused to deliver your mail because of your political affiliations?

Contrary to what you state, it's not a matter of ideology, it's a matter of job performance. Using the threat of withholding city services to people we don't like amounts to restriction of freedom of speech.

And yes, the ABR members also have freedom of speech, but that freedom applies to them only as individuals, not as public servants assigned a specific task.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 8:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ABR members aren't paid so it's not a job. How many times Botany do I and others have to tell you and others: C F-A had already been approved; C-FA was never in danger of having their approval revoked; the protest of one ABR member was symbolic in it's entirety and in no way harmed c-FA; other members abstained for reasons they were advised to do so by the Citty Attorney.
Don't get mad at the ABR members, get mad at SB City Atty Steve Wiley who has used his position for political purposes in the past (the harassment and shutdown marijuana dispensaries are a glaring example.)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken, it doesn't matter if they're paid or not. When they agree to take a position with the city, they agree to perform the tasks assigned by the city. They can't pick and choose which ones to accept and which ones not to. They are still civil servants whether or not they receive a paycheck. If they don't want to do the job, they can step down. The work they are assigned needs to be done. If they're not willing to do it, we should find someone that is.

We also need to differentiate between political positions and non-political positions. Those that are elected can be political in their statements and their decisions. That is their right. Only the voters can oust them. Those that are appointed or hired (whether paid or volunteer) are assigned specific tasks to perform. Either they should perform those tasks or get out of the way so someone else can.

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 6:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany, check this out!
Back by popular demand (and refusal of the facts!)
1. C F-A had already been approved.
2. C-FA was never in danger of having their approval revoked.
3. The protest of one ABR member was symbolic in it's entirety and in no way harmed c-FA; other members abstained for reasons
4. All ABR members as well as all city employees in like positions were advised by City Atty Steve Wiley to abstain for the very reasons they did!

5. Why isn't Wiley's job in jeopardy for incompetence (bad info to city employees, as well as for not following his own rules of abstinence!)?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 5, 2012 at 8:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sheldon Adelson can spend all the money he wants on Romney but he still won't get me to vote for him.

The hollywood elite can stump for Obama all they want and I still won't vote for him.

These people can only influence elections if we support their candidates.

So to all those people throwing money at the political status quo I would suggest that you instead get involved in your local communities and eliminate the poverty in those places and if you still have more money than you know what to do with branch out with your altruism.

The person sleeping outside in the cold needs your money more than these well-heeled politicians.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 6, 2012 at 2:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Nice. You tell 'em Barney.

GluteousMaximus (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2012 at 9:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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