Unions open checkbooks for local races

Unions open checkbooks for local races

Michele Ellson

Alameda’s teacher and firefighter unions have opened their checkbooks for local candidates over the past several weeks, spending more than $30,000 on campaign literature and lawn signs for the candidates they support, newly filed campaign disclosures show.

The Alameda Firefighters Association’s political action committee spent $20,128.86 during this latest filing period, including $15,845.17 on mailers and door hangers supporting City Council candidates Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Jeff Cambra and Stewart Chen and Alameda Health Care District Board candidates Jordan Battani and J. Michael McCormick, along with the slate of school board candidates supported by the teachers union, records posted online by the City Clerk's office show.

The firefighters union also contributed $3,283.69 to the Alameda Democratic Club for campaign literature and $1,000 to the campaign to defeat Proposition 32, which would curtail unions’ ability to contribute to campaigns.

The Alameda Education Association’s political action committee spent $14,539.42 between October 1 and October 20 on lawn signs, post cards and mailers for Barbara Kahn, Jon G. Murphy and Trish Herrera Spencer, the candidates they have endorsed in the school board race. The union received a $5,000 contribution from the California Teachers Association, of which it is a member.

A group supporting candidates Nielsen Tam, Ron Mooney and Michael Robles-Wong raised $7,764 over the same time period – including a $5,000 contribution from former school board trustee Bill Schaff – and spent $548.71, most of that on mailer design.

Robles-Wong raised another $1,008 between October 1 and October 20, bringing his fundraising total to $2,055 for this year. Disclosure forms for other school board candidates weren’t available Thursday, the deadline for filing the forms, but every other candidate in the race has said they planned to spend less than $1,000, the amount at which disclosures must be filed.

Meanwhile, City Council candidate Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft pulled into the lead in that fundraising race, pulling in $13,747 in contributions during this fundraising period toward a total of $23,557 between January 1 and October 20. Ezzy Ashcraft has contributed $9,625 to her own campaign this year, and during the filing period she received $100 from Mayor Marie Gilmore’s husband, Rod, and $200 from outgoing Councilwoman Beverly Johnson’s campaign fund.

Ezzy Ashcraft obtained another $1,000 contribution from the Alameda Entertainment Association, which operates the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex, four days after the reporting period ended, records show. Contributions and independent expenditures of $1,000 or more made between October 21 and November 5 for local and state races must be reported within 24 hours of being made.

Stewart Chen raised another $2,148 over the past few weeks, including $500 from former councilman Frank Matarrese, bringing his fundraising total to $21,034. Jeff Cambra raised $7,192 during the first 20 days of October, an amount that included a second $5,000 loan made to his own campaign, bringing his total fundraising this year to $18,460.

Jane Sullwold raised $3,184, bringing her fundraising total to $15,386, while Tony Daysog raised $5,255.59, bringing his fundraising total to $7,059.59, most of which he contributed or loaned to his campaign. Neither Gerard Valbuena Dumuk nor Joana Darc Weber appeared to have filed disclosure forms with the City Clerk’s office on Thursday, online records showed.

A filing for Protect Our Alameda Parks, which is campaigning for Measure D, a local ballot initiative that would put proposed park land swaps before voters, was also not available online Thursday.

Vice Mayor Rob Bonta’s fundraising efforts for his bid to win the Assembly District 18 seat continued to outpace that of his challenger, Peralta Community College District Trustee Abel Guillen, online records show. Records filed with the California Secretary of State showed that Bonta raised $63,025.87 between October 1 and October 20, bringing his total fundraising for the year to $483,007.01; Guillen raised $32,584.11 over the same 20-day period, bringing his fundraising total to $359,535.57 for the year.

Records show that Bonta received $33,500 in contributions that were filed after the close of the October 20 reporting period; the state’s records didn’t show any contributions for Guillen being filed after October 20.

A separate committee set up to support Bonta’s candidacy raised $160,000 during the reporting period and after, an amount that includes $100,000 from the state firefighters union, $25,000 from the California School Employees Association and additional checks from the state’s police and professional engineers unions, the California Medical Association and the Asian American Small Business political action committee.

The independent Bonta for Assembly 2012 committee has spent $72,656.76 during the filing period and in the days since, records from the Secretary of State’s Cal-Access database show.

A separate committee opposing an effort to recall Bonta from his City Council seat raised $50 during the filing period and has spent $206.03 this year, records show. The committee collecting funds for the recall effort, Save Our City Alameda, has raised $3,758 this year, including $2,600 in loans and contributions from local blogger and political activist David Howard and $700 from Alameda Health Care District Board candidate Leland Traiman, and spent $3,742.13, including $1,800.13 on advertising during the filing period.

Thursday’s filings mark the final ones that will be required to be made before the November 6 election, save disclosures required for late contributions and independent expenditures of $1,000 or more, which must be filed 24 hours after the contributions are received and expenditures made.

The filings are posted below.


Submitted by Cturnover on Wed, Oct 31, 2012

I have received several robocalls anti Trish Spencer. How can I find out who is paying for these?

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Thu, Nov 1, 2012

Hi C: I'd look for late expenditure reports either on the City Clerk's website or County Registrar of Voters, links here: http://docs.ci.alameda.ca.us/weblink8/browse.aspx?startid=81737&&dbid=0 and here: http://static.netfile.com/agency/coa/, though those only need to be filed if the expenditure is $1,000 or more. My memory is that those robocalls cost less than $1,000, so there a good chance we won't know who paid for them until after the election is over.