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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

October 28, 2016 -- Santa Monica City Council campaign fundraising isn’t what it used to be. The latest disclosure reports, covering through October 22, show that just half the candidates have raised any money at all.

Incumbent Ted Winterer leads the pack with $54,485. Fellow incumbent Gleam Davis has collected $42,069, with over $15,514 coming from her own pocket.

Also raising money were incumbent Terry O’Day with $30,220, incumbent Tony Vazquez with $25,067 and challenger Armen Melkonians with $15,695.

The remaining five candidates either claimed they collected no money or did not file an electronic report by the deadline on Thursday. If they filed a paper report, it might not be posted on the City’s website until Monday.

Council candidates are allowed to collect up to $340 from a donor.

There is no limit to how much a candidate can contribute to his or her own campaign. Although self-contributions are listed as a loan in the disclosure statements, these loans are often not recovered.

Davis is the only council candidate who has contributed to her own campaign this year. This is highly unusual for what has been a highly unusual campaign. In 2014, all but two candidates who raised money supplemented their totals with self-contributions.

All four candidates running for three seats on the Santa Monica College board have raised money. Topping the list is the lone challenger Sion Roy, who has taken in $57,285 and contributed $2,900 of his own money.

The fundraising totals for the three incumbents are Rob Rader with $29,165 plus a $4,000 self-contribution, Margaret Quinones-Perez with $28,497 plus a 2,200 self-contribution and Susan Aminoff with $17,500 plus a $15,000 self-contribution.

The incumbents did not have an opponent in 2012.

There could be a rare competitive candidate not endorsed by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR) in the Rent Control Board race.

Realtor Elaine Golden-Gealer has put up more than $16,000 of her own money and raised an additional $830 to run for one of the two seats up for grabs in the election.

She is a fierce opponent of SMRR and often speaks at rent board meetings in opposition to the organization and board policies ("Santa Monica Realtor Compares Rent Board Appointment to 'The Godfather,'" January 19, 2016).

Landlord Robert Kronovet in 2008 became the only person not backed by SMRR to win a seat on the rent board.

This year SMRR backs incumbent Anastasia Foster, who was appointed to the rent board in January, and challenger Caroline Torosis. Foster has raised $5,170 and added $350 of her own money. Torosis has raised $7,358.

Incumbent Chris Walton has not raised any money.

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