District 5 City Council Race: Hahn Led Capitelli in Fundraising; Incumbent Led in Developer Dollars

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday March 25, 2009 - 06:49:00 PM

Challenger Sophie Hahn outspent Laurie Capitelli in the battle for the Berkeley City Council’s District 5 seat, shelling out $57,896.17 to the incumbent’s $43,023.05. 

While the challenger raised more money overall, the incumbent raised five times as much money from the sector that dominates many Berkeley political contests: land use. One of every four dollars Capitelli raised came from land-use-related donors, compared with one dollar in every 25 raised by Hahn. 

Capitelli won the hotly contested election, with 4,299 votes to Hahn’s 3,897. That gives the challenger a cost per vote of $14.86, compared with Capitelli’s $10.01. 

Those cost-per-vote sums are much greater than the amounts spent in the mayoral race, where incumbent Tom Bates spent $2.37 for each of his votes, while former Mayor Shirley Dean expended $1.79 for each of her 20,188 votes. 

Campaign contribution reports filed earlier in the campaign had given Capitelli at least $6,325 from individuals with a financial interest in development and the sale of real estate, accounting for 35.2 percent of his donors.  

The final filings, with $5,200 in land-use- sector donations, bring the total amount of identifiable contributions from people and groups involved in the development and sale of property to $11,425. 

Among the contributors to Capitelli listed in his final campaign filings are these individuals with land-use-sector occupations: 

• Grace Bishop, an El Cerrito real estate broker, $100. 

• Kimberly Miller, a member of Capitelli’s Red Oak Realty, $200. 

• Mamood Moktari, another Red Oak staff member, $50. 

• Peter Damm, also of Red Oak, gave a second $100 contribution. 

• Arlene Leonoff of Red Oak added $100 to a previous donation of $49. 

• William Davis, an attorney who is a partner of land-use lawyer and Berkeley Planning Commisioner Harry Pollack, $250. 

• Harry Pollack added $150 to his previous $100 donation. 

• Dawn Malatesta, a loan processor for MPR Financial and an East Bay mortgage broker, $100. 

• California real Estate PAC on behalf of the Berkeley Association of Realtors, $250. 

• Martin H. Dodd, a Berkeley real estate lawyer, gave $100 on top of a previous $150. 

• Cindy Chang, spouse of Berkeley developer Chris Hudson, $250. 

• Evan McDonald, Hudson’s partner, $250. 

• Developer Patrick Kennedy, $250. 

• Kennedy’s spouse, Julie, $250. 

• Berkeley real estate investor Soheyl Modaressi, $250. 

• Architect and Planning Commissioner Jim Novosel, $250. 

• Michael St. John, a property management consultant, $100. 

• Designer/builder Dennis Cohen, $200. 

• Contractor Matthew Friedman, $100. 

• West Berkeley developer Doug Herst, $250. 

• Carolyn Herst, spouse of the West Berkeley developer, $250. 

• Caleb Dardick, a publicist who represents developers, added $150 to a previous $100 contribution. 

• Contractor David Hart, $250. 

• Architect Charles Kahn, $100. 

• Contractor Martin Kaufman, $250. 

• David Ruegg of Rue Ell Enterprises, real estate developers, $250. 

• Robert Ellsworth, Ruegg’s partner, $250. 

• Dena Belzer, an economic consultant on planning issues, $100. 

• Peter Calthorpe, a private sector urban planner, $200. 

• Alexandra Crisafulli of Millstein & Associates real estate, $100. 

• Steve Yoshimura of Nakamura Realty gave $50 to augment a previous contribution of $100. 

• Capitelli also lent himself $8,000. 

The incumbent’s campaign also featured a paid campaign manager, Jill Martinucci, his staff aide as a councilmember, who was paid $4,000 in the final filing period. 


Hahn donors 

Hahn, the challenger, drew only a small amount from the land-use sector. 

The challenger’s earlier reports included at least $2,000 of land-use-sector contributors, or 6.5 percent of her total campaign war chest as of Sept. 30. 

The final filing boosts her total from people who profit from property and its development to $2,300. 

Hahn takes the prize for having the most powerfully connected donor. While technically not in the development game and only a minor donor, Martin Friedman, of Credit Suisse, and formerly head of mergers and acquisition for Novartis Pharma, chipped in with $50. 

She recorded only three contributions from folks with identifiable land-use-sector vocations, including: 

• Nancy Hendrickson, an engineer for CH2M Hill, $100. 

• Real estate law specialist Pamela Lakey, $100. 

• Mary Murtagh, of nonprofit housing developers EAH, $100. 

Like Capitelli, Hahn also retained one full-time campaign worker, Ashley Conrad, who was paid $4,027.50 during the final filing period.