De La Fuente Racks Up $81,000 in City Council Reelection Bid

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday March 28, 2008

Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente has pulled in more than $81,000 in his bid for re-election to his fifth-district central East Oakland City Council seat, far overshadowing any other campaign fundraising in contested races in five City Council districts and three Oakland Unified School Board districts. 

The office of the Oakland City Clerk recently released campaign contribution and expenditure reports in City Council and school board races. 

De La Fuente has raised eight times the money of Fruitvale realtor Mario Juarez, who has picked up $10,500 in contributions in his bid to unseat the veteran councilmember. 

The Daily Planet did not receive campaign finance reports for the two other District 5 challengers, small business owner Beverly Blythe and community development consultant David Wofford. 

De La Fuente’s lead in the fundraising race was part of a trend in which incumbent City Councilmembers are outraising their challengers, though none of them by as wide a margin as the council president. 

In Council District 1 (North Oakland), incumbent Jane Brunner outraised her opponent, public safety activist and Berkeley city employee Patrick McCullough, $7,654 to $906 between Jan. 1 and Mar. 17, the most recent report filing period. But with $27,386 carried over from contributions made before the first of the year, Brunner holds an even larger cash advantage over McCullough, with $26,881 cash on hand to McCullough’s $570. 

In Council District 3 (West Oakland/ Downtown), incumbent Nancy Nadel holds a $19,656 to $8,124 advantage over her only certified challenger, Covenant House Development Director Sean Sullivan. But Nadel is awaiting an expected Friday morning Superior Court decision on whether or not District 3 OUSD School Board member Greg Hodge will be allowed into the race after the Oakland City Clerk’s office ruled that he was one signature short of the 50 needed to qualify for the ballot. Hodge’s fund-raising totals were not available from the City Clerk’s office at the time this story was written. 

In Council District 7 (far East Oakland), incumbent Larry Reid reported only $950 raised since the first of the year, compared to $4,165 by his opponent, community activist Clifford Gilmore. But Reid carried over $5,259 raised before the first of the year, leaving his campaign with a cash balance of $4,828 to Gillmore’s $3,407. 

With incumbent At-Large Council-member Henry Chang deciding not to run for reelection shortly after local power broker State Senate President Don Perata gave his support to another candidate—District 1 School Board member Kerry Hamill—there was no runaway leader in fundraising among the five people competing for Chang’s old seat. 

Hamill has raised $7,997 and had $7,773 cash on hand at the end of the mid-March reporting period. 

AC Transit At-Large Director Rebecca Kaplan had the largest amount of contributions—$20,517—but contributed $7,600 of that herself. In addition, Kaplan has spent $10,000 of her cash total with The Next Generation campaign consultants of Oakland, leaving her with $7,112 cash on hand in mid-March. 

Former AC Transit Director and Oakland attorney Clinton Killian raised $8,199 in the last reporting period. But Killian also loaned his campaign $10,000, leaving him with the largest cash balance of the contenders: $18,187. 

The fourth challenger, Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods co-founder Charles Pine, raised $3,735 during the last reporting period, leaving him with $3,531 on hand. 

The Daily Planet did not receive campaign contribution reports for the fifth At-Large challenger, Oakland volunteer Frank Rose. 


Oakland school board 

In the Oakland Unified School District 1 race (North Oakland) to replace the retiring Hamill, parent activist Jody London was a somewhat surprising fundraising leader over educational philanthropist Brian Rogers, with the two candidates taking distinctly different fundraising paths. London raised $16,309 during the last reporting period, leaving her with a cash balance of $17,605, while Rogers raised $13,150, leaving him with $9,813 in the bank. Of London’s 82 individual contributions, 57 came in amounts of $100.  

Rogers, on the other hand, paid little attention to getting money from outside sources, giving $10,000 to his own campaign. No campaign finance contribution report was made available for the campaign of a third challenger, writer Tennessee Reed, the daughter of writer Ishmael Reed. 

The Daily Planet did not receive fund-raising totals for OUSD District 3 (West Oakland), where community building consultant Jumoke Hinton Hodge (the wife of board member Greg Hodge) and community program manager Olubemiga Oluwole Sr. are competing. No fundraising totals were received for the OUSD District 7 (far East Oakland) race, where incumbent Alice Spearman is being challenged by Acts Full Gospel Church Associate Pastor and Acts Christian Academy principal Doris Limbrick and Beverly Williams of East Oakland. 

Oakland City Attorney John Russo and 5th District (central East Oakland) OUSD Board member Noel Gallo are running unopposed for reelection.