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  Candidate Fund Raising Update
Friday 15, 2004

Today’s West County Times reported candidates’ fund raising totals through September 30, 2004. One other report is due later in October, and then candidates are required to file special reports for any large sums received just prior to the election.

As usual, incumbents lead in fundraising, with Penn, Bates, Bell and Butt, in order of magnitude. It is not unusual for me to trail the pack. In the race for mayor two years ago, I came in second but spent the least of four candidates.

Money doesn’t always translate into votes, but the lack of it usually translates into losses. The reason is that there is a limit to the level of exposure new candidates can get through free publicity, like newspaper articles and candidate forums. If you added up the attendees to every candidate forum, it would be a few hundred at best.

In a local election, mail is only one effective way to reach the 30,000 people likely to vote in this year’s election, and a mailing piece costs at least $10,000 to print and mail, not including design and layout. In the Richmond 2001 mayoral race, only 13,937 people voted.

Richmond hopefuls rake it in
Posted on Fri, Oct. 15, 2004

Industry, labor unions, developers, political action committees and individuals have poured more than $150,000 into Richmond City Council campaigns, records show.

Business interests alone account for $53,000 -- nearly $50,000 of it in the most recent filing period, which ended Sept. 30.

Campaign finance disclosure statements reveal that developers have contributed $13,700 to council races, home builders $9,500, local industry $27,900, and waste management services $2,000.

Unions have anted up more than $13,000, and the city's most ubiquitous political action committee, Black Men and Women, or BMW, has donated nearly $10,000.

Incumbent Councilwoman Mindell Penn has taken the lead in fund raising, having amassed $50,910 to date -- $37,460 in the most recent filing period. Penn's donors include homebuilders and developers, labor unions, area businesses and individuals.

Longtime City Councilman Nat Bates has brought in more than $42,000 in campaign contributions, $13,000 in the most recent period. Bates' contributors are almost entirely developers and builders.

BMW, cofounded by Bates and former councilmen Jim McMillan and Lonnie Washington, gave generously to all 15 candidates. The group's filing had not been received at the county election office because Washington requested an extension beyond the Oct. 5 postmark deadline since he was out of town, he said. The group's report from the last filing period showed that much of its money came from the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians.

BMW donations ranged from the maximum allowed under city finance rules of $2,500 for Bates to $1,000 for Councilman Gary Bell and Eddrick Osborne to $500 for challengers Corky Booze, Arnie Kasendorf and Kathy Scharff. The PAC gave $250 to former Councilman John Marquez and $200 to newcomer Tony Thurmond.

DiCon FiberOptics, whose corporate headquarters is in Marina Bay, gave Bates, Councilman Tom Butt and Penn each $2,500, and Osborne $500.

DP Security, which has contracts to patrol Point Molate and City Hall South, handed Marquez $250, Butt $850 and Booze $250.

Bell is running a lean campaign, fueled by contributions from individuals and small businesses totaling less than $30,000.

Butt has amassed $28,415, primarily from individual donors.

Among the challengers, Booze has collected $7,608, Kathy Scharff, $1,669, and Tony Thurmond $3,821. Kasendorf reported some $20,749 in his first bid for elective office, mostly from a loan to himself.

Deborah Preston-Stewart garnered nearly $8,000, Eddrick Osborne just under $12,000, and Andres Soto received nearly $12,000, entirely from individuals, most of whom are connected to community-based nonprofit organizations.

Bill Idzerda did not accept any campaign contributions.

Disclosure reports from candidates Herman Blackwell and Gayle McLaughlin had not been received by Friday.

Marquez claimed $17,543 in donations to date, including $12,866 in the last period. Marquez won the lion's share of labor union support, including $1,250 from the Richmond Police Officers Association; $1,000 each from the IBEW Local 302 and the Boilermakers Local 549; $500 each from the Operating Engineers Local 3 and the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 159; $250 each from Laborers International Local 324 and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council; and $100 each from the Pile Drivers Local 34 and the Teamsters Local 315.