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Bates, Marquez and Sandhu Lead in Campaign Spending

The three candidates backed by big business, big developers and big oil have also racked up big bucks for their campaigns. This doesn’t include the additional megabucks spent on their behalf by Chevron-funded “independent committees,” including the Committee for Industrial Safety, Richmond First Committee, Richmond Police Officers Association, IAFF Local 88, The Committee to Oppose Measure T and Committee for Quality Government.

Do not vote for candidates controlled by and paid for by well-financed outside special interests. Keep Richmond for Richmonders!

Vote for the three candidates who will answer only to Richmond residents: Butt, Beckles and Ritterman.

As the Contra Costa Times editorialized: “IT'S TIME to clean house in Richmond. The City Council's approval of Chevron's controversial plant modification and the accompanying $61.6 million community benefits deal was a textbook case of back-room deal-making that cut the public out of the process. The deal is done, but Richmond voters can throw out the bums on the City Council who approved the secret accord — and that's what they should do… We recommend voters re-elect Tom Butt, the only councilman seeking re-election who stood up against the sleazy Chevron deal, and cast their two other votes for Jeff Ritterman, chief of cardiology at Kaiser Richmond, and Jovanka Beckles, a counselor and educator who is also vice president of the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council.”

And vote for Measure T!

From today’s West County Times:

Richmond council candidates spend big money to woo voters

By Katherine Tam
West County Times

Article Launched: 10/31/2008 05:52:37 PM PDT

Six Richmond City Council candidates are taking advantage of a new law that provides public money to help finance their bids for election.

Incumbents Nat Bates and Harpreet Sandhu each requested $25,000 in public funds, the maximum allowed under the city's new campaign financing law, City Clerk Diane Holmes said. Incumbent Tom Butt requested $20,000 and John Marquez $15,000. Challengers Jovanka Beckles and Jeff Ritterman requested $10,000 each.

Candidates have funneled thousands of dollars into mailers, yard signs, T-shirts and potholders bearing their names in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Voters will decide Tuesday which of the nine candidates will win three open seats. The City Council is shrinking from nine seats to seven at the end of this year, the result of a 2004 ballot initiative. Incumbents Bates, Butt, Marquez and Sandhu hope to retain their posts while challengers Beckles, Corky Booze, Rock Brown, Navdeep Garcha and Ritterman seek their first term in office.

A 10th candidate, Chris Tallerico, withdrew from the race last week after he was criticized for appearing in a contentious campaign mailer he said he did not create. Tallerico's name still appears on the ballot because his announcement came after the official withdrawal deadline.

This is the first election that candidates are eligible for public financing. The 2004 city law, authored by Councilman Jim Rogers, is intended to help candidates without a

lot of money or contributions compete while reducing reliance on special interests. Candidates must raise at least $15,000 to apply to the city for the first $5,000 in public funds, a threshold designed to ensure the money reaches viable candidates that have public support. The more money they raise, the more public funding they qualify for.

Incumbents are outraising and outspending challengers by a large margin. Bates has spent the most at $79,529, with Marquez close on his heels with $74,474, campaign finance reports show. Sandhu has spent $55,911 and Butt $46,364 to date.

Of the challengers, Ritterman has spent $19,147; Beckles $18,519; Booze $7,384; and Brown $1,344. Garcha filed a written statement to spend no more than $1,000. Tallerico spent $1,700, according to campaign finance reports.

In general, incumbents are getting more contributions from businesses, developers and unions than the challengers. Developers providing funding include the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, which wants to build a hotel-casino resort at Point Molate and gave $500 each to Bates and Butt; Kingston LLC, which is negotiating with the city to build the Miraflores Housing Project and gave $500 to Bates; and Praxair, which wants to build a 21.5-mile pipeline from a planned plant at the Chevron Richmond refinery to the Shell refinery in Martinez to supply hydrogen to oil refineries. The company gave $1,000 each to Marquez and Sandhu.

Some candidates also received financial support from each other or sitting council members who are not up for re-election. Sandhu received $1,100 combined from Bates, Marquez and Councilwomen Ludmyrna Lopez and Maria Viramontes, campaign finance reports show. Bates received $500 from Viramontes, and Marquez $250 from Lopez.

Beckles received a $28,000 loan from Councilman Jim Rogers, according to campaign finance reports.

Reach Katherine Tam at 510-262-2787 or ktam@bayareanewsgroup.com.