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 Commentary July 1st, 2010     

The Editor

photo
Carlsbad Councilman Keith Blackburn

I’ve been following politics for a few years now, including the rough and tumble Chicago type, and thought I’d seen it all.

But, now comes a new and very clever and creative idea for fundraising and campaigning for office at the same time.

Carlsbad Councilmember Keith Blackburn is also a candidate for Mayor in that lovely city by the sea. That, in itself, is not all that unusual. Councilmembers often run for the Mayor’s job.

What makes this unusual is that Councilman Blackburn has a unique twist to his campaign and its fund raising. Anyone who donates to his mayoral campaign will have that amount tripled by Mr. Blackburn. Yep, you read that right. If you donate $100, he’ll match that donation with $300 of his own money for a total of $400. And, here’s where it gets interesting: all of the money raised will not go to his political campaign but is being donated to several animal rights and welfare associations. Among the beneficiaries are Animal Rescue Without Borders, Shelter Pet Partners, SNAP, Just a Dog, and
Coastal German Shepard Rescue
. You make the donation, he triples it, and the sum total goes to the animal rescue organization which YOU choose.

I don’t know much about Councilmember Blackburn. I knew he was a retired cop who ran for office and got elected. I don’t know his politics . . . but I know a good story when I see when. I called him and fleshed out the story a bit.

“I know a lot of cops,” I told him. “Retired and active duty. I’m aware that many cops have very attractive retirement plans but I don’t know too many who could afford to donate up to $100,000 to anything, let alone their political campaign . . . and to a charity as well. Are you a wealthy person? Or did you win the lottery?”

“Well,” he says, “philanthropy has always been very important to me. I’ve invested well over the years. We were the original partner/investors in the original Carlsbad Company Stores, and my wife, Dawn, who is a Carlsbad realtor, and I have invested considerably in real estate.

I’ve also been active in animal rights. I’m a foster parent for several animals. We care about the community, its peoples, its animals. I just thought this was a good way to give back to the community, to draw attention to the plight of animals that need homes, and to draw some attention to my mayoral campaign at the same time. Seemed a better idea than just loaning, or giving, that money to my political campaign.”

Blackburn is retired with 30 years of service to both the Sheriff’s Department and, for the past 21 years, the Carlsbad Police Department. He is still active with the Carlsbad Police Reserves. He donates about 40 hours monthly to the animal shelter on Palomar Airport Road, where he assists staff with dogs that are neglected or abused.

He points out he still has a daughter to put through college so he’s had to limit his matching funds to $100,000.

While this commentary does not constitute an endorsement for his mayor’s race, (not yet, anyway) it surely is acknowledged as a tip of the old chapeau to a very creative and, hopefully, effective fund raising program for the critters we all love so much.

(We will be endorsing in a number of political races this year but it’s a bit too early for us. Look for our endorsements for city, county, state, and national races in, most likely, September or October).

 
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