Measure L is Kevin Johnson’s million-dollar baby

Big corporations like Comcast have donated nearly $1 million to strong mayor. What do they want?

What do Comcast and AT&T have in common? They offer Internet, yes. They both specialize in F-bomb-inducing brands of customer service—you know it! Neither is based in Sacramento, but they both donated five-figure sums to pro-Measure L committees this past month.

How about Lyft, or billionaires like Michael Bloomberg, Ron Burkle or Steve Jobs' widow? They too are out of town, yet forked over major donations to Mayor Kevin Johnson's crusade for more executive power.

I don't use the term crusade lightly. K.J.'s been damn-near messianic, what with his rabid canvassing of neighborhoods and rotating cast of Yes-on-L shirts. His team's organized more town halls for Measure L than there were for the Kings-arena subsidy or the Sac City school closures—combined. Fellow local journalists are going to need a Measure L recovery group, no doubt (Jamie's on Broadway at noon on November 5?).

Anyway, this was expected. After six years of coveting the strong-mayor crown, Johnson's campaign was surely going Rove (as in Karl) this fall.

I did not, however, expect this benchmark: Committees aligned with Johnson's strong-mayor manifest destiny should exceed $1 million in fundraising soon. Some of the wealthiest individuals and companies worldwide are writing checks so that Johnson can ascend to Sistine-esque heights at City Hall.

One million dollars.

What does that number mean? What do these almighty donors want from Johnson? If Measure L is really about accountability and transparency, then why the hell does a company like Comcast give a damn? What does that lovable communications Goliath want for its $45,000 tithing?

There's an acronym in journalism: JDLR, or “just doesn't look right.” And something is definitely JDLR with K.J.'s million-dollar Measure L baby.