While the Contra Costa Times story on campaign finances provides good overview, it doesn’t provide the detail that really provides a picture of where candidates are getting their support and what that support is connected to. Here’s the real story, focusing on those “establishment” candidates who are the darlings of big business, real estate speculators, industry, casinos and the infamous police and firefighters political action committees. The source described below are related only to donations exceeding $2,000, mostly the $2,500 that is the Richmond contribution limit.
Although Lopez was the only candidate with a maximum contribution from an Indian tribe (Scotts Valley Band of the Pomo), Bates, Lopez, Viramontes and Ziesenhenne received money from the construction trades unions who are promoting the Point Molate Casino
- Bates: UA Local 342, IBEW Local 342
- Lopez; Laborers Local 324, Operating Engineers Local 3, Sheet Metal Local 104,UA Local 342, Plumbing and Pipefitters Local 159, Carpenters
- Viramontes: IBEW Local 342, Operating Engineers Local 3
- Ziesenhenne: IBEW Local 342
In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in RichPAC and not yet reported spent, three candidates maxed on contributions from North Shoreline property owners. Some may have broken the law by taking $5,000 from related entities.
- Bates: Overaa Investment, D.B. Murray
- Lopez: Overaa Investments and Kimberly B. Overaa
- Viramontes: D.B. Murrray
Other Real Estate Speculators:
- Bates: David Spatz, North Richmond Properties
- Ziesenhenne: North Richmond Properties
RPOA (police union) and IAFF Local 188 (firefighters union) These are people who are paying for the attack on Mayor McLaughlin
- Bates: RPOA PAC
- Lopez: IAFF Local 188.
- Viramontes: RPOA PAC
- RPOA PAC
Council of Industries
These are industries along the Richmond shoreline and typically support Chevron in any way they can:
- Harris: California Oils Corporation, Sims Metal
- Lopez: Plant Reclamation, Sims Metal
- Bates: California Oils Corporation, Levin Richmond Terminal, Sims Metal
- Viramontes: Plant Reclamation, Sims Metal
- Ziesenhenne: California Oils Corporation, Sims Metal
- Finlay: Sims metal
This is the independent committee operated by Nat Bates, which supports the following with maximum contributions:
- Bates (probably illegal)
City of Richmond Business Partners
- Viramontes: Zeaad Handoush (lives in Pinole, has a patent on a tobacco smoking device)
Keep in mind that these are all individual contributions to candidates’ campaign committees. The really big oney comes rom so-called independent committees, such as the RPOA PAC and IAFF Local 188 PAC that are paying for the anti-McLaughlin campaign, and the Chevron PQACS that are paying for pro-Lopez and Viramontes mailers. Either these organizations ate late reporting or have not files their Form 460s according to law.
To see the Forms 460, go to the city clerk’s website at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1438.
Who's giving, who's spending campaign money in Richmond council race
By Katherine Tam
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 10/17/2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Richmond's City Council hopefuls are raising from $2,000 to almost $80,000 to court voters before Election Day.
Councilman Nat Bates leads the pack, raising $79,760 from July 1 to Sept. 30 in his bid to oust Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. He spent $53,040 those same months, according to the latest campaign finance disclosure reports at City Hall.
Bates is outspending his opponents by a hefty margin. McLaughlin raised $15,183 in her campaign for a second term and spent $20,506, including money previously raised. Businessman John Ziesenhenne, who served on the council from 1981 to 1993, raised $36,852 and spent $28,986.
The candidates draw from different pots. Contributions for Bates and Ziesenhenne come from individuals, businesses, political action committees and labor unions. Bates also received $1,000 from Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, which wants to turn 30 acres of unincorporated land along Richmond Parkway into a casino. By contrast, McLaughlin, who has said she will not accept funds from corporations, received almost all her contributions from individuals; two were from unions.
The Richmond Police Officers Association and Richmond Fire 188, who endorse Bates, spent $24,730 on a campaign criticizing McLaughlin for a 2001 federal bankruptcy filing that cited serious psychiatric disabilities for why she had trouble keeping a full-time job to pay $119,000 in credit card bills and student loans.
Their expenses include mailers, a television ad, $10,000 for a consultant to study McLaughlin's background, and $5,000 for a consultant to look into Jovanka Beckles, a fellow Richmond Progressive Alliance member who is running for council.
McLaughlin has adamantly rejected claims that her past makes her unfit for office. She said she experienced depression, which she attributed to being the victim of multiple crimes when she was younger and dealing with the deaths of close family, but has overcome it.
Meanwhile, the latest campaign finance reports show what the nine candidates running for three open council seats are spending:
· Beckles, a violence prevention specialist, raised $14,700, mostly from individuals, and spent $11,309.
· Corky Booze, a self-employed businessman making his tenth council run, raised $26,338 and spent $12,716. He received a combined $6,500 from California Grand, BVK Gaming and Oaks Club, which oppose a casino-hotel resort at Point Molate proposed by a private developer and the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians, as well as smaller contributions from people tied to the group Stop the Mega Casino. He also received $2,500 from Gaming Management.
· Virginia Finlay, a Realtor, raised $25,920. Her larger contributions come from businesses and unions. She spent about the same as she received.
· Rhonda Harris, a developer, raised $14,807 and spent $22,731, using some funds from before. Larger contributions are from businesses and unions.
· Councilwoman Myrna Lopez raised $33,763 and spent $22,308. Her larger amounts came from businesses and labor unions. She received $1,000 from the Scotts Valley tribe.
· Retired teacher Eduardo Martinez raised $11,090, mostly from individuals. He spent $5,275.
· Councilman Jim Rogers raised $23,250, including labor unions and $500 from the Scotts Valley tribe. He spent $6,429.
· Lab technician Harry Singh has the smallest war chest. He raised $2,000 from individuals, and spent $1,625.
· Incumbent Maria Viramontes raised $35,249 from individuals, businesses and labor unions. She received $1,000 from the Scotts Valley tribe. She spent $13,967.
United Teachers of Richmond gave $250 each to Beckles, Martinez, McLaughlin and Rogers.
The medical marijuana dispensaries are getting into the mix. The GDP Collective at Hilltop, or its owner, gave $1,000 each to Bates and Ziesenhenne and $1,500 to Rogers. Booze received $2,500 from 7 Stars in the Pacific East Mall.