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Campaign Cash Flowed As Election Approached

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday November 07, 2006

With the latest loan to his campaign of $26,000, District 7 challenger George Beier has broken Berkeley’s record for financing a City Council campaign.  

Also raking in the funds, in the Oct. 21-Nov. 6 campaign reporting period, the local Chamber of Commerce PAC reports raising $17,000 on top of the $60,000 it had spent before Oct. 21. 

Having raised more than $100,000, Beier tops Gordon Wozniak’s 2002 record spending of $72,619, according to Jesse Townley, Berkeley Progressive Alliance member who researched campaign spending extensively while preparing for a ballot measure to fund campaigns with public dollars. 

In the District 7 race, the independently wealthy Beier has now put $45,000 of his own money into the campaign to unseat incumbent Kriss Worthington. Another 37 individuals contributed a total of $4,000 to Beier’s campaign during this period, including a $250 contribution from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, $250 from Real Estate broker John Gordon, and $250 each from venture capitalists Margaret Alafi and Moshe Alafi. 

Beier had raised $55,000 and spent $72,000 in the period leading up to Oct. 21.  

As of Nov. 6—the Daily Planet is using information from filings up to 2 p.m. on Monday—Worthington had added $7,750 from 48 contributions to the $28,000 he had raised by Oct. 21. Several unions gave Worthington contributions of $250 during this period, the maximum allowed under Berkeley election law. They included Service Employees International Union 535, SEIU 616, Sprinklers, Fitters and Apprentices Local 483, Public Employees Union Local 1. Supervisor Keith Carson also kicked in $250. 


Chamber of Commerce PAC 

The Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee, which had spent $61,000 by Oct. 21 on mailers to defeat Measure J and Councilmembers Dona Spring and Kriss Worthington, took in $17,350 from six businesses and individuals during this period.  

Chamber PAC contributors in the days leading up the election include Read Investments, which gave $10,000 to the effort; Douglas Herst, former Peerless Lighting owner who is planning a major West Berkeley development, gave $5,000. Oakland-based EMG Properties, Inc and Norheim & Yost each gave $1,000.  

The University of California gave the PAC $250, which surprised Irene Hegarty, who heads the university’s community relations department. Hegarty confirmed that the university, as a public institution, cannot make political contributions. 

She said she would track down the person who wrote the check. “Probably the individual will have to replace the check,” Hegarty said. 


District 8 race 

District 8 incumbent Councilmember Gordon Wozniak added $3,800 to the $51,000 he had raised by Oct. 21, picking up donations from 28 contributors, including $250 contributions from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, Fourth Street developer Denny Abrams and John DeClercq of EMG Properties. 

His challenger, UC Berkeley student Jason Overman, reported $1,400 in contributions from 11 sources, including a $250 donation from SEIU 535, $100 donations from Councilmembers Dona Spring and Kriss Worthington, $100 from Panoramic Hill neighborhood activist Janice Thomas and $200 from rent board member Howard Chong. Overman had raised about $17,000 by Oct. 21 and spent $21,000. 


District 4 race 

In District 4, challenger Raudel Wilson reported $1,250 in contributions post-Oct. 21, including $250 contributions from Christopher Hudson and Evan McDonald, both of Hudson McDonald LLC and one each from Carolyn Herst and Douglas Herst. 

Incumbent Dona Spring reported no contributions during this period. 


Mayor race 

Mayor Tom Bates collected $6,150 from 33 contributors after Oct. 21, including a mix of realtors /developers and trade unions. He had raised $100,000 by Oct. 21. 

Among the realtors/developer contributors to the mayor during this period are: Colleen Larkins of Thornwall Properties, Barbara Marienthal of Coldwell Banker, Roy Nee of Property Profiles, and Phil Tagami of California Commercial Investments. Trade union contributions come from Operating Engineers Local 3, SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, SEIU 535, Teamsters Local 853.  

Challenger Zelda Bronstein picked up $700 from four contributors that included $200 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee and $250 from retired UC Berkeley professor Phyllis Dolhinow. Bronstein had raised $35,000 by Oct. 21.