A day after exiting his post at Los Angeles’ Office of Motion Picture and Television Production, Rajiv Dalal has thrown his hat into the political ring. California state politics to be specific. The former Time Warner executive today declared as a candidate for a seat in the 43rd California Assembly District, which will come open in 2016 when current Assemblyman Mike Gatto is termed out.
Coming off his old job as Deputy Film Czar for LA, Dalal’s pivotal role in the more than tripling of California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program last summer should play well in the entertainment-industry-strong district, which includes parts of the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. “Unlike most other industries, Hollywood lacks a representative in Sacramento who has worked in our industry and understands our business needs,” Dalal said today.
“My experience as Deputy Film Czar taught me that while California has many economic challenges, none are insurmountable if we’re able to bring all interested parties — from labor to small business, from Northern California to Southern California, from Republican to Democrat — together to find a solution,” he told me. “That is precisely what we did to tackle runaway production, and the result was a $1.6 billion middle class jobs bill.”
That experience also picks up on Gatto’s work. He was one of the primary proponents of the bid in Sacramento to stop runaway production from siphoning off jobs from the home of Hollywood. Along with the recently defeated Raul Bocanegra, Gatto was co-author of the bill that eventually saw the incentives increased to $330 million a year with tentpoles and network TV pilots now eligible. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation into law on September 18 last year.
As Mayor Eric Garcetti and Film Czar Ken Ziffren’s widely acknowledged pointman in shepherding the expansion from concept to reality, Dalal gained influential friends who will undoubtedly prove helpful as he aims for the Assemblyman seat and hits the fundraising trail.
“It takes a unique individual to bring together so many factions of our industry for one common goal. From small business to labor, Dalal did just that in brokering the film tax credit – leading to 10,000 well-paying film and television crew jobs for Los Angeles,” said L.A. County Federation of Labor VP and president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47 John Acosta Thursday in a statement. “That feat cannot be underestimated. All of us in the labor movement worked in partnership with him, are grateful for Dalal’s efforts, and will continue to rally around this cause.”
Dalal will, of course, be running as a Democrat. He is married to Disney marketing exec Divya Khanna Dalal.