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Developers Give Cash To Council Favorites

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday October 30, 2008 - 09:27:00 AM

Development-related contributions continue to pour into the coffers of candidates for next week’s Berkeley City Council election, with Mayor Tom Bates in the lead both in total and sector-related contributions. 


Tom Bates 

Mayor Tom Bates continues to corral the lion’s share of development dollars, clocking up at least $9,249 in new contributions from builders, their clients, consultants, their representatives and officials who make land use decisions. 

That total amounts to 40.9 percent of contributions reported since Oct. 1, a figure that dwarfs the comparable numbers for his competitors in a campaign rife with arguments about the future shape of the city. 

The $22,621.95 in contributions he received in cash between Oct. 1 and Oct. 18, plus $500 in non-monetary contributions and the $5,250 he had loaned himself earlier, brought the mayor’s total campaign chest to $72,718.75. 

Adding the $13,650 in earlier development-related contributions to the new figures yields a total of $22,899—or 31.5 percent of his campaign chest.  

Current period development-related gifts include: 

• Don Medley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory director of government and community affairs, $250; 

• Would-be Richmond Point Molate casino developer James D. Levine, $250; 

• Steven Oliver, Oliver and Company Construction, $250; 

• Dion Aroner, AJE Partners, community relations for developers, $250; 

• Dena Belzer, Strategic Economics, development consultants, $250; 

• Yuval Bobrovitch, real estate investor, SB Pacific Group, $250; 

• Barbara Ellis, AJE Partners, community relations for developers, $150; 

• Dave Fogarty, city economic development staff, $250; 

• Igad Safraty, real estate investor, SB Pacific Group, $250; 

• Dorothy Walker, retired UC Berkeley development executive, $100; 

• Raudel Wilson, Mechanics Bank and former DAPAC member, $50; 

• Christopher Barlow, Wareham Developers partner, $250; 

• Judith Briggs Marsh, real estate appraisals, Marsh and Associates, $250; 

• Denis Clifford, trusts and estates attorney, $200; 

• Caleb Dardick, public who represents development projects, $350; 

• Richard Friedman, president, Carpenter and Company, hotel developers, $250; 

• Cassandra Gaenger, Wareham Developers, $250; 

• James Goddard, Wareham Developers, partner, $250; 

• Thomas Gram, attorney, real estate law, $100; 

• Fred Harvey, real estate lawyer, $50; 

• Dan Kataoka, Berkeley Bowl general manager, $250; 

• Isaac Kos-Read, Townsend Public Affairs (clients include developers), Oakland, $250; 

• Roy Nee, developer, $250; 

• Ryan Ripstein, developer; $250; 

• Nancy Robbins, Mill Valley, wife of Wareham development partner, $250;  

• Geoffrey Sears, Wareham Development partner, $250; 

• Eric Zell, lobbyist whose clients include Wareham, Chevron, and Alta Bates, $100; 

• Mark Rhoades, Berkeley city planning official turned developer, $250; 

• Don Solem, Solem and Associates, publicist with development clients, $250; 

• Walter Armer, SNK Development, $250; 

• Carolyn Herst, wife of Douglas Herst, West Berkeley developer, $250; 

• Ali Kashani, developer, partner of Mark Rhoades, $250; 

• Jonathan Kaufman, Solem and Associates, publicist with development clients, $100; 

• Donald Peterson, SNK Development, $250; 

• Toby Taylor, Emeryville developer, $99; 

• Felicia Woytak, real estate investor, $250; 

• Denny Abrams, developer of Fourth Street, $250; 

• Glenn Yasuda, owner, Berkeley Bowl, $250; 

• Jack Gardner, John Stewart Company president, $250; 

• Barclay Simpson, a building supplies manufacturer who is also the namesake and major donor for the UC Berkeley gym now under construction west of Memorial Stadium, $250; 

• International Union of Painters and Allied Trades PAC, $250; 

• Teamsters Joint Council No. 7 PAC, $250; 

• Bruce Riordan, transportation planning consultant, $100. 

The $500 of non-monetary contributions came in the form of food. An employee of Berkeley’s largest developer, the University of California, Office of the President Manager Nancy Stevenson and spouse Ronald were the donors. 

Shirley Dean 

By contrast, former Mayor Shirley Dean, in her run to recapture the seat she lost to Bates six years ago, has attracted little money related to developing or managing property. 

Her total campaign intake had reached $35,368 by Oct. 18, including a $5,000 loan. Her total share from the land-use-related sector, including $1,700 received in the latest filing period, comes to $2,748, or 7.8 percent. 

During the previous 17 days, she has taken in donations of $11,514, with the land-use sector including: 

• Marilyn Braiger, property manager for Howe Street Apartments, $50; 

• Michael Drew, Drew Properties manager, $250; 

• Dan Kataoka, Berkeley Bowl, $250 (matching his gift to Bates); 

• John Koenigshofer, Elmwood Realty, $250; 

• Marley Lyman, CSM Properties owner/manager, $250; 

• Grubb Company real estate broker Bebe McRae, $250; 

• Mary Oram, ERI Property Management, $50; 

• James Peterson, development consultant, Villa View Properties Development, $250; 

• Mori Wei, apartment manager, $100. 

Other candidates  

Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi, a third mayoral candidate, listed no contributions when he filed papers of organization for the Kahlil 4 Mayor campaign on Oct. 23. 

Write-in candidate Zachary Running Wolf had filed no statements, though he has posted signs.  


The other race where developer dollars may play a key role is the race for the City Council’s 4th District, representing the heart of downtown. 

Terry Doran 

By Oct. 18, current Zoning Adjustments Board and former Berkeley School Board member Terry Doran had received $15,194 in contributions, $3,655 coming in the prior 17 days. 

Of that sum, only $5,100 came from the land use sector—though developer Ali Kashani told fellow developers last week that Doran had urged them to hold off with their cash to avoid bad publicity, until he changed his mind because of the publicity generated by this paper for his leading opponent, Jesse Arreguin, whom the executive editor has endorsed. 

While Doran denied Kashani’s account, developers came to a Sunday party for the candidate, and those donations had not been reported as of this writing. 

Before the party, only 17.5 percent of his cash had come from the land-use sector, including $1,000 received five days before the party, in the form of four $250 donations from developer John DeClerq, private sector urban planner Joe DeStefano of Calthorpe Associates, and matching checks from West Berkeley project developer Douglas Herst and spouse Caroline. 

Two days before the party, Doran received $100 in donations from two architects, David Trachtenberg and Rebecca Hayden, for a total of $200; 

Other sector contributions reported during the Oct. 1-18 filing period in-clude: 

• Development planning consultant David C. Early, who is also the founder of the Livable Berkeley “smart growth” lobbying group, $100; 

• Construction finance planning consultant David Cobb, of Davis Langdon LLP, $150; 

• Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 PAC, $250; 

• Chamber of Commerce CEO Ted Garrett, $250. 

In preceding periods, Doran had received contributions from: 

• Oakland city planner Michael Bradley, $250; 

• Retired UC Berkeley development executive, Livable Berkeley activists and DAPAC member Dorothy Walker, $100; 

• UC Berkeley planning professor Frederick Collignon, $100; 

• Barbara Hendrickson, Red Oak Realty, $250; 

• Real estate syndicator Maxim Schrogin, $100; 

• Mortgage broker Samuel Fishman, $100; 

• Albert Nahman, Nahman Plumbing and Heating, $100; 

Among the officials donating who are involved in land-use decisions are: 

• Mayor Tom Bates, $250; 

• City economic development planner Dave Fogarty, $250; 

• City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, $250; 

• City Councilmember Darryl Moore, $250; 

• City Councilmember and real estate broker Laurie Capitelli, $250; 

• City Councilmember Max Anderson, $50; 

• Planning Commissioner and council candidate Susan Wengraf, $100; 

• Planning Commission Chair and retired architect James Samuels, $50. 

• Will Travis, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and former chair of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC), $200; 

• Planning Commissioner David Stoloff, $250; 

• ZAB member and architect Bob Allen, $250. 

Jesse Arreguin 

Opponent Jesse Arreguin, the leading fundraiser among Doran’s opponents, had raised $13,424. In the most recent 18-day filing period, Arreguin received from people identifiable as involved in land-use issues:  

• Environmental planning consultant Juliet Lamont, $250; 

• Real estate attorney Maryland Cleveland, $150;  

• Donald Jelinek, an attorney who has handled real estate cases, $100; 

• Timothy Hansen, a project manager for Goldstone Management, $250; 

• Architect Kris Eggene, $100; 

• Rash Ghosh, who is currently in a legal battle with the city after his building was seized by the city in a nuisance action, $50. 

He also received contributions from city officials making land-use decisions: 

• City councilmember Kriss Worthington, $250; 

• Planning commissioner Gene Poschman, $250; 

• Zoning Adjustments Board member Sara Shumer, $250; 

• Transportation Commissioner Rob Wrenn and spouse Mary each gave $75, for a total of $150;  

• Transportation Commissioner Wendy Alfsen, $100; 

• Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Anne Wagley, also a Daily Planet editor, $250; 

• Landmarks Preservation Commissioner and Design Review Committee member Carrie Olson, $200. 

LA Wood 

LA Wood, a community activist and videographer, has taken in $3,467.99, including a $250 loan from himself. 

One development-related contribution came from Polly Quick, a project manager for ICF International, which does some transportation planning, and a second came from Mark McDonald, a welder and mechanic for Skylight & Sun, who gave $50. 


Susan Wengraf 

Susan Wengraf reported only two development-related donations in the current filing period, accounting for only $300 of the $2,224 received between Oct. 1 and 18. They are: 

• Maria Jarvis, Urban Land Institute (motto: “connecting the global real estate industry”), $50; 

• Timothy Sarre, Sema Construction engineer, $250. 

Her total contributions had reached $29,294 by Oct. 18, with $4,050 coming from the land-use sector, or 13.8 percent. 

Phoebe Anne Sorgen 

Wengraf’s opponent, Phoebe Anne Sorgen, received $1,499 in the same period, bringing her total to $13,370, which includes an earlier $10,350 loan from herself. 

Her only donor with involvement in land-use issues is Anna De Leon, who fought a long and ultimately successful legal battle with the city and developer Patrick Kennedy over the Gaia Building, winning a ruling that the City Council had wrongly voted to implement standards governing use of the city’s cultural bonus at the Gaia Building. 

De Leon’s contribution of $100 amounts to 3.3 percent of Sorgen’s total contributions, much less if her loan is included. 


Laurie Capitelli 

In a district where the incumbent is real estate broker Laurie Capitelli, it’s not surprising that he has received the heftiest hunk of property-related donations, including many from members of his own firm, Red Oak Realty. 

He reports $6,030 in contributions for the current reporting period, including these from Red Oak’s staff: 

• Peter Campbell, $100; 

• Patrick Leaper, $250; 

• Mark Lederer, $250; 

• Schuyler Oliver, $250, and 

• Marsha Quick, $100. 

Other development sector contributors include: 

• Private sector planner Michael Fajans, $100; 

• Electrician Scott Bannister, $250; 

• Real estate lawyer Frederic Harvey Jr., $100; 

• David Clahan, Caldecott Construction, $250; 

• MPR Financial mortgage underwriter Tjendrawati Karwita, $100; 

• Marisita Jarvis, a consultant whose activities include teaching real estate industry figures to teach planning as volunteers in public schools, $50. 

Capitelli also received a $5,000 loan from another real estate industry figure, himself. 

Capitelli’s total contributions thus far had reached $29,120 (including his loan), with a development-related total of $8,125—not including his loan to himself—or 27.9 percent. 

Sophie Hahn 

By contrast, of the $4,610 in contributions received for the current period by Sophie Hahn, only two have readily identifiable development connections, for a total of $500: 

• Janet Riley, spouse of San Francisco real estate investor Clint Reilly, $250; 

• Tomas Schoenberg, Swig Company commercial real estate, $250. 

Her total contributions have reached $35,270, with a land-use share totaling $2,500, or 7.1 percent of the total. 

Hahn also loaned herself $15,000, reported over two filing periods.