The proverbial playing field on which the Berkeley mayoral and City Council races are being played—at least as far as campaign cash is concerned—is far from level, according to the most recent financial filing statements released Oct. 5.
In the mayoral race, incumbent Mayor Tom Bates, who’s raised about $74,000, has netted about three times the funds of his challenger, former Planning Commission Chair Zelda Bronstein, who has picked up about $24,000 in donations. Another challenger, Christian Pecaut, has raised $250 and Zachary Running Wolf has filed no campaign finance statement.
In Berkeley a donor cannot contribute more than $250.
A close look at statements filed last week, covering July 1 to Sept. 30, shows that Bates picked up $25,299 from 147 contributors, while Bronstein raised $7,188 from 64 donors. Bronstein ended September with about $5,400 on hand, while Bates still had $53,500 in the bank.
The bulk of Bates’ contributions come in the $200-$250 range (56 percent of the contributions) while Bronstein has the bulk of hers in the $100-$199 range (41 percent of her contributors).
Bates has strong support from 13 people identifying themselves as developers or realtors. Most of them gave the maximum $250 donation. Of note are several individuals associated with Richmond developer Oliver & Company: Steven Friedland, construction manager; Richard Spickard, another construction manager; and Josh Oliver, senior vice president. In Berkeley Oliver & Company’s projects include the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Pyramid Brewery, senior housing and others.
Other developer-donors include Patrick Kennedy, of Panoramic Interests; Carle Hirahara and Takeo Hirahara, director and CEO, respectively, of Lamorinda Development; and John Gordon of Gordon Commercial.
There are at least 10 university professors among Bates’ contributors, including Fred Collignon, of UC Berkeley’s planning department and a former councilmember, and Alan Gould. While Gould and Collignon put up $250 each, most of the others donated around $100.
Another category of mostly $250 donors to the Bates campaign are elected officials and their staffs or their spouses and aspiring elected officials. The Planet counted nine donations in this category. Contributors include Wilma Chan, Oakland assemblymenber; Tony Thurmond, a candidate for the Richmond City council; Carol Liu, assemblymenber from Pasadena; Sheila Kuehl, state senator from Pasadena as well as a check from her chief of staff. Councilmember Max Anderson also contributed to Bates.
Other contributors of note are Berkeley Bowl owners Diane and Glenn Yasuda, who gave $250 each; environmentalist Norman La Force; progressive activist Judy Ann Alberti and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers.
The bulk of Bronstein’s support appears to come from neighborhood activists, including Rosemary Vimont, Janice Thomas, Jim Sharp, Clifford Fred and Prakash Pinto. Other donors of note are environmentalist Jill Korte, Urban Ore managers Mary Lou Deventer and Dan Knapp, and the Progressive Democrats of the East Bay.
A former university professor herself, Bronstein has five faculty members on her list of contributors, including Mark Nicas of UC Berkeley and Cynthia Brown of UC Santa Barbara.
Fundraising in District 7 is also lopsided, but in this case, challenger George Beier has the bulk of the funds ($44,000), $12,000 of which comes from loans from himself and another $6,000 from other loans. During August and September, Beier raised about $22,000 in donations.
Incumbent Kriss Worthington has raised $19,000 total, having picked up $6,000 this period. He has debts of $207.
Beier has contributions from at least 14 people self-identified with the real estate industry, including Donald Yost and Robert Cabrera. Four members of the Lineweaver family—John (in real estate), Andy (in property management), Rose (a homemaker) and Hans (in property mortgage)—each contributed $250.
Three of Beier’s contributors are students.
Beier also has donations from Councilmember Betty Olds and School Board member Shirley Issel.
About 45 percent of Beier’s 190 contributions are from donors giving less than $100 and 24 percent come from those contributing $200 to $250.
Worthington received funds from 46 contributors, with 37 percent coming from people who donated less than $100 and 26 percent donating $200 or more.
Among the elected officials from whom he received funds are Councilmembers Dona Spring and Darryl Moore and Alameda County School Board member Gay Cobb. He also got funds from Assemblymember elect Sandre Swanson, Andy Katz, running for EBMUD director, and Pam Webster, running for Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.
Funds also come from community activists, including Michael Katz, Juliet Lamont, Carrie Olson, Judy-Ann Alberti and Sharon Maldonado.
Worthington also got a donation from the Progressive Democrats of the East Bay.
While Worthington turned in his Oct. 5 statement on the morning of Oct. 6, Beier admits that he has yet to rectify accounting for a $6,500 poll done by David Binder Research in June. (His forms indicate that he has paid part of what he owes Binder, but do not indicate when he contracted with the researcher.)
Worthington has spent some $8,000 on literature and lawn signs and paid about $1,800 for office rent. His campaign manager for the first two months was Nancy Carleton, a part-time volunteer. Worthington says he will have a full-time manager for the remaining month of the campaign.)
Beier has spent about $9,000 on three campaign staffers and $6,000 on MSHC, a political consulting firm specializing, according to its website, in “mail, targeting, internet.” He’s spent about $500 on ads in the on-line website, Facebook.
Beier has spent about $750 for three months of rent for the Telegraph Avenue office he shares with Councilmember Gordon Wozniak.
In the District 8 race, in which incumbent Councilmember Gordon Wozniak faces challenger Rent Board member Jason Overman, Wozniak has a large cash advantage, having raised $34,000 so far for the race. He got about $10,000 from 71 people in contributions during the recent filing period and has a balance of about $7,500.
Overman, who entered the race late, received only about $4,000 from 23 contributors and borrowed $10,500 from himself.
His contributors include councilmembers Dona Spring and Kriss Worthington, six students and his parents, Ted and Julie Overman. He also got a contribution from the Committee to Defend Affordable Housing and Progressive Democrats of the East Bay.
He has spent about $1,000 on literature, and has about $13,000 in hand.
Among Wozniak’s contributors are several UC Berkeley professors, including Fred Collignon, political science professor Gene Rochlin and computer science professor Richard Fateman.
Other Wozniak donors are realtors Faye Keogh and Anne Van Dyke of the Grubb Company and landlord John Koenigshofer.
Also contributing are Francis Macy, educator with the Earth Island Institute, and Jeanne Smith, an attorney with the city of Berkeley. Wozniak points out that 80 percent of his donors live in District 8.
Wozniak has spent about $1,200 on four months rent for the office he is renting from Ed Munger. Wozniak said he and Beier split the $500 per month rent. “It’s market rate for a temporary office,” Wozniak said.
Wozniak also has paid about $15,000 in salaries to his campaign staff, three of whom are the same staffers Beier is using: Nara Dahlbacka, R.J. Kaufman, and B. Frederick. He noted that only two of the staffers are currently on the payroll.
The Daily Planet will look more closely at the District 4 and District 1 races, including campaign finance statements in subsequent editions.
Complete finance statements are posted on the city clerk’s web site at http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/elections/candidates/default.htm