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Media Coverage
Top Spenders Do The Best In Richmond Race
February 9, 1996


Friday, February 9, 1996
Section: news
Page: A04
Caption: Breakout Box. Total spent for City Council campaign.

RICHMOND Money buys votes. Most of the time.

That's the lesson of November's Richmond City Council race.

Four of the five top spenders won seats on the council. However, the candidate who placed sixth in spending attorney Lesa McIntosh placed first in votes.

Councilwoman Donna Powers tops the list of spenders and fund-raisers in the campaign. She came in second in the race for five seats.

Powers spent $55,062 for her successful campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed with the City Clerk's office last week. She took in $57,836, including $13,000 in loans from her own and her husband's personal funds. Late contributions came to Powers from a group called Citizens for Sensible Government in San Francisco, $1,245; Peace Officers Research Association of California political action committee, $500; California Apartment Association PAC, $500; Bay Cablevision, $500; and Building Industry Association of Northern California PAC, $2,000.

Powers also received $750 from the Martinez branch of the United Professional Fire Fighters of Contra Costa County Local 1230.

Pharmacist Dale Paulson lost the election even though he spent the second-highest amount of money and got strong support from the firefighters union and the Black Men and Women political group. Paulson spent $43,172 and raised $36,018. Of that amount, nearly $19,000 came in the form of loans from personal funds. He still has $8,590 in unpaid bills.

Councilman Alex Evans, who waged a determined and successful fight to hang onto the seat he was appointed to last February, pulled in $41,844. He spent $37,503.

Evans reported late contributions of $2,500 from R&M Hernandez Truck company in Fontana; $150 from the law firm of Norris and Norris; $500 from the Peace Officers Research Association of California political action group; $250 from the Bechtel Group, and $200 from PG&E political action committee.

Councilman Tom Butt's campaign was bolstered by $7,100 in loans from himself and his wife. Those brought his total contributions to $36,316. Late contributions came in from developer Martin McNair, $400; the law office of West County school board member Charles Ramsey, $357; employees of Veriflo, $1,000; and labor groups. He spent $31,912.

Councilman Nat Bates raised $26,018. Bates won the fifth open seat on the council, edging out his friend George Livingston by just 28 votes. He spent $29,524.

He listed late contributions of $1,000 from Bauman Landscape, $150 from Norris and Norris law firm, $500 from the Peace Officers Research Association of California, $200 from the PG&E political action committee and $250 from Bill Nelson Chevrolet.

Councilwoman Lesa McIntosh, the top vote-getter in the November race, brought in $29,897. She received late contributions of $500 from Steamfitters Local 342 union and $250 each from Dame Construction, Bechtel Group, PG&E political action committee, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 302. She also accepted a $1,000 loan from former Councilman Lonnie Washington. McIntosh spent $28,715.

Candidate Evelyn Ramsey raised $27,292, including $13,400 in loans from personal funds and family members. Ramsey spent $27,093.

Former Mayor George Livingston, who lost a seat by 28 votes, raised $24,385, including a $400 loan from himself. He spent $23,763. His late contributions list is nearly a mirror image of that of Nat Bates.

Auto shop owner Corky Booz raised $10,825 $3,500 of which consisted of loans from his personal funds and those of his companion. He spent $10,511.

Small business owner Bob Sutcliffe brought in $10,657, including loans of $4,500 from personal funds. He spent $9,606. Sutcliffe described himself as one of the "unbought" candidates in the race. He came in ninth out of 16 candidates.

The biggest spender of all was not even a candidate.

The political action committee of the firefighters union, Local 188, spent $83,463 to promote its favorite candidates and defeat others.

It printed brochures and funded telephone banks supporting candidates Nat Bates, Lesa McIntosh, George Livingston, Alex Evans and Dale Paulson, as well as West County school board candidates Karen Ortega and Diana Easton. It also tried unsuccessfully to defeat council candidates Donna Powers and Tom Butt.