Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Dear Ladies, You're Dumb. Love... | Month of Sundays: Where's Anti... »

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Venus Velazquez: “I support an interest cap on payday loans!”

posted by on June 14 at 14:22 PM

Going through the campaign finance records of this year’s city council candidates for a story we did this week, I found that Latina activist and now-candidate Venus Velazquez had gotten more than $1,000 from Money Tree, the controversial payday loan company that drew the ire of minority activists earlier this year.

Indeed, forming Communities Against Payday Predators, activists tried to pass a 36% interest cap on the loans in Olympia. They failed.

Knowing that donations from Money Tree folks like company execs Dennis and David Bassford and Money Tree spokesman David Gandara had been flowing to minority politicians, including Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37, South Seattle) and Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11, Renton)—and apparently swaying their positions, I called Velazquez today to find out where she stood on the issue.

Velazquez says she’s on record supporting the cap on interest rates, having signed a letter from the activists last winter. “David [Gandara] knows my position on this,” Velazquez told me, “but he gave me money anyway because he wants me to win. He’s an old friend.” Velazquez and Gandara worked together at the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce when Velazquez was the Chamber president. “My door’s open to David,” she says, “but he knows where I stand.”

As for the Bassford contributions Velazquez explained: “David [Gandara] wants me to win. He asked his friends to contribute and so [Bassford] donated.”

Velazquez also reports that Sen. Prentice, the main opponent of capping payday rates, has endorsed her.

Footnote: Velazquez said she didn’t mind that we reported the Money Tree contributions because she’s “on record” for the cap, but she reports she didn’t like that we described her as “An impolitic loudmouth who’s willing to tell it like it is.”

While she revels in being “outspoken” and “from the East coast” she told me that “loudmouth” had sexist overtones. I told her that we constantly described Dwight Pelz the exact same way, and that she should be flattered.

RSS icon Comments


for the record i was at a meeting @ el centro de la raza where velasquez spoke out against the payday lenders and in support of the cap, and with margarita prentice and the money tree tools present . i am surprised that she took money from them. she should have turned it down. bad move. my guess is that she is getting bad advice from campaign supporter mike sotelo ( liby's husband)

Posted by SeMe | June 14, 2007 2:35 PM

No politician or aspiring politician should take money from MoneyTree - especially if they "support" a cap on predatory interest rates.

Taking money from the "Tree" smacks community activists in the face and smells bad. It also kicks activists and sane people opposed to working families paying almost %400 interest.

This is like a pro-union candidate accepting cash from Wal-Mart or Whole Foods.

Posted by Buying Access | June 14, 2007 2:37 PM

But what cap does she support? That's the question I'd like answered.

Just saying that you support "a cap" isn't enough - specify exactly what cap you do support.

Posted by Willis | June 14, 2007 3:03 PM

Willis @ 3,
Velazquez supported the 36% interest cap that Communities Against Payday Predators outlined in their Feb. 8, 2007 letter to the Gov. that she signed.

Posted by Josh Feit | June 14, 2007 3:15 PM

A candidate who takes money from conflicting interests, and then does the right thing anyway? I'm impressed.

Posted by Gomez | June 14, 2007 3:30 PM

and I wouldn't have called her a loudmouth - or Dwight.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 14, 2007 4:05 PM

Apparently some of you young 'uns never heard of Jesse "Big Daddy" Unruh, who was speaker of the California Assembly in the 1960s, famous for his association with the Kennedys and his immortal quotation about lobbyists:

If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, look them in the eye and vote against them, you don't belong here.

I say hurray for Venus. Take their money. I don't know why they're giving to her, because she isn't in the Legislature and isn't running for the Legislature, but hey.

Taking money from them means dick. They give money to everybody. Slap in the face to activists, my ass. It's how you vote.

Posted by ivan | June 14, 2007 5:30 PM

loudmouth? outspoken? East Coast?
Is this code for telling people what you actually think -- instead of pretending to agree with everyone and hiding what you really think, in order to be "nice"?

Posted by breakthecode | June 14, 2007 5:58 PM

xnpzvk dtgn gzvb dnovq ieadhf omjlf vonmsw

Posted by vmbchtie uqckbxt | June 25, 2007 6:16 PM

xnpzvk dtgn gzvb dnovq ieadhf omjlf vonmsw

Posted by vmbchtie uqckbxt | June 25, 2007 6:16 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).