ALAMEDA ELECTIONS '12: Contributions to Bonta, Guillen past the half-million mark

ALAMEDA ELECTIONS '12: Contributions to Bonta, Guillen past the half-million mark

Michele Ellson

The two candidates vying for termed-out Assemblyman Sandré Swanson’s seat have raised more than $660,000 for their primary and general election campaigns, with much of the money coming from their professional bases and from public employee unions.

Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta has raised $388,747.14 in his quest to represent the newly formed 18th district in the state Assembly, filings from the California Secretary of State’s office that list contributions from July 2011 to June 30, 2012 show, including $44,965 from the date of the June 5 primary through June 30. Peralta Community College District Trustee Abel Guillen raised $272,203.80 between May 2011 and June 30, 2012, filings show, with $22,000 of that coming in between June 5 and June 30.

Bonta, who is a deputy city attorney for the City of San Francisco, pulled in nearly $57,000 of his total take from attorneys. Nearly $16,000 of the money Bonta has raised came from attorneys at San Francisco’s Keker & Van Nest.

Guillen, an educational consultant whose firms helps school districts and colleges with facilities planning and bond elections, brought in more than $10,000 came from educators and educational consultants. Peralta employees and their union and the community college district’s trustees contributed $17,900 to Guillen’s campaign.

Bonta has so far secured $48,800 from police and firefighter unions, a number that climbs to $51,300 if a check the Alameda firefighters union wrote to Bonta’s 2010 council campaign fund is included. The total includes $11,700 from the California Professional Firefighters political action committee, $10,300 from the Alameda Firefighters Association (including the contribution to Bonta’s council campaign fund), $7,800 from the Oakland Police Officers Association and $7,000 from the Peace Officers Research Association, which represents police officers all over California.

Guillen has received $24,400 from four teachers unions – $7,800 each from the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers and the Peralta Federation of Teachers plus another $1,000 from the Faculty Association of California/California Community Colleges – and $15,600 from the California Nurses Association, which originally endorsed Guillen but recently chose to also lend an endorsement to Bonta.

Bonta’s other top donors included the Professional Engineers in California Government political action committee, which has given his campaign $8,800; San Francisco Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, who contributed $7,800; and the Emergency Medical political action committee, the political arm of the group that represents California’s emergency physicians, which also contributed $7,800.

Guillen’s top donors included a quartet of Native American tribes that operate casinos, which together contributed $10,400 to his campaign; the Electrical Workers Local 595 in Dublin, which gave $8,800; and Cordoba Corporation, a civil engineering and construction firm with offices in Oakland, which gave $7,800.

Bonta raised $89,701 or 23 percent of the money he’s raised so far in the newly created district, which includes Alameda, Oakland and San Leandro, while Guillen raised $60,315.53, or 22 percent of his total take, in the district. The amounts exclude loans the candidates made to their own campaigns.

Individuals can contribute up to $3,900 per candidate per election, while small contributor committees – including the unions’ political action committees – can give up to $7,800 per election. Bonta had a dozen contributors who gave $7,800 or more, while Guillen had six. The amounts include donations for the June primary election and others for the general election contest to be decided in November, which are counted as separate contests.

Both candidates have agreed to abide by spending limits for their respective Assembly campaigns, the Secretary of State’s website shows. The limit for the primary was $520,000 and the general election limit is $909,000 – a ceiling neither candidate has yet hit.

The next major filing date for campaign contribution and expenditure lists is October 5.


Rob Bonta

California Professional Firefighters PAC: $11,700
Professional Engineers in California Government PAC:: $8,800
Alameda Firefighters Association PAC:: $7,800
C.C. Yin (Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association): $7,800
Clement Roberts (attorney): $7,800
Emergency Medical PAC (California American College of Emergency Physicians): $7,800
State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma: $7,800
Jerry Meyer (artist): $7,800
Jose Gomez (professor): $7,800
Oakland Police Officers Association: $7,800
Roslyn Meyer (doctor): $7,800
Warren Bonta: $7,800

Abel Guillen

California Nurses Association: $15,600
Electrical Workers Local 595: $8,800
California Federation of Teachers COPE PAC: $7,800
California Teachers Association/Association for Better Citizenship: $7,800
Cordoba Corporation: $7,800
Peralta Federation of Teachers: $7,800

Source: California Secretary of State’s Cal-Access database


Submitted by Bill 2-Wheel Smith on Wed, Aug 22, 2012

Early in the campaign, the list of major donors is far more helpful in evaluating candidates than simple telephone polls showing who is ahead. Will be interesting to see if, in the future, either candidate lists a company that derives the majority of its revenues from non-government sources in their list of major campaign donors.

Of interest to me, as a chemical engineer, is the contribution from the Professional Engineers in California Goverment. As part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, especially our California sections, I've fought the organizations behind the Professional Engineers In California Government PAC for decades to get laws passed to allow chemical engineers to supervise work we are more qualified for than civil engineers, especially the design and construction of chemical reactors and processing equipment, and remediation of chemicals in soil at hazardous waste sites.

Even though the States own Professional Engineering and Licensing Board recommends that the state grant us full licensure as nearly every other state in the union does, the civil engineers that are the dominant engineers in state government, have always persuaded key committee chairman to bottle up the legislation to rationalize California's engineering licensing laws. Now I know that I need to speak with both candidates about the engineering licensing issue sooner, rather than later.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Wed, Aug 22, 2012

Hi Bill: Glad we could help! Our main goal through the course of this election is to offer voters coverage that will tell you what you need to know when you go to the ballot box (or in many cases, the mailbox), so I urge folks to stay tuned for more over the next six weeks in particular and to keep telling us what information would help you make informed choices.