By Olin Ericksen
November 2 -- Backers of candidates vying for three
City Council seats are showing them the money in the final weeks
before next Tuesday’s elections.
Leading all fundraising efforts in the second reporting period
-- from October 1 to October 21 -- Planning Commissioner Terry
O’Day racked up $21,793 with many contributing $250, the
maximum allowable under local campaign finance laws.
From hotels to environmentalists, to Los Angeles City Council
members and the president of the controversial Playa Vista project,
O’Day registered a broad base of support.
LA City Council member Eric Garcetti, representing the area close
to Downtown Los Angeles, gave the rookie politician $250. So did
Steve Soboroff, President of Playa Vista, the controversial housing
project still under construction south of Santa Monica.
O’Day – who heads the local environmental trust,
Environment Now, who owned an alternative vehicle leasing company
– also picked up $250 donations from the Los Angeles League
of Conservation Voters, environmental consultants and Mary Nichols.
The director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment, Nichols
was a major figure in the Environmental Protection Agency under
former President Bill Clinton and served under former Governor
O’Day also received support from local civic leaders. Bob
Gabriel of Bob Gabriel Insurance supported O’Day, as did
Mateo Dinolfo, a local physician who ran for City Council in 2004.
Former City Council member Michael Feinstein also pitched in
$200 for O’Day.
Running a close second in fundraising during the second reporting
period was Mayor Bob Holbrook, who received the backing of several
professionals and small and large businesses.
Attorneys, bankers, physicians, stockbrokers and real estate
professionals all helped the mayor rack up $21,679 in his bid
for a fifth council term.
Several companies also got behind Holbrook. Media giant Clear
Channel and area taxi cab companies contributed the $250 maximum.
Seth Jacobson, the spokesperson for Santa Monicans for Sensible
Priorities (SMSP), which is backing both O’Day and Holbrook,
gave the mayor’s campaign $250.
A local teacher, an attorney and a medical sales person were
also among Holbrook’s contributors, according to the finance
While raising nearly $90,000 this election, Holbrook must return
nearly $4,000 of it under a campaign law approved by local voters
in 2000. The law -- known as the Oaks Initiative -- bars a candidate
from taking money from individuals or groups that benefited from
their vote, the mayor said. (see
“This is a municipal campaign where we plan things three
weeks ahead,” Holbrook said. “The money is already
spent, all but one check that I’ve returned.”
The anti-corruption measure has affected the other two incumbents,
Pam O’Connor and Kevin McKeown, but does not cover challengers
who have not served on the council in the past six years.
The Bayside Hotel, for instance, gave money to both Holbrook
and O’Day, yet only Holbrook had to return the money because
he approved a variance allowing the hotel to expand.
McKeown raised $19,534 during the first three weeks of October
thanks to contributions from the entertainment industry, local
unions, an environmental group and political insiders.
Actors and writers were among the contributors to McKeown, who
works as a computer consultant with the local school district.
Todd Flora, a writer for NBC studios gave $250, according to finance
Local firefighters and city employee unions also gave the maximum.
As did Peter Mezza, the City’s Housing Manager
Along with O’Day, McKeown picked up the endorsment and
a $250 check from the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters.
He also secured several hundred dollars from the Kardashian family,
which owns and operates Southern California Disposal and contributes
generously to candidates from both sides of the political spectrum.
McKeown also had to return two checks so far – totaling
$500 – under the Oaks Initiative, which covers the board
members of non-profit groups that receive money from the City.
One of three Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR) candidates,
McKeown is the only one fending off serious attacks by SMSP heading
into the November 7 election.
O’Connor, who is also on the SMRR slate, jumpstarted her
fundraising campaign last month in her bid for a fourth council
term. After raising only $1,819 through September 30, the former
mayor brought in nearly $17,554 in the first three weeks of October.
O’Connor’s contributors included fellow council member
and SMRR supporter, Richard Bloom, as well as homemakers, retirees,
and an acupressure and acupuncturist.
The other SMRR candidate, Gleam Davis, raised $18,272 during
the latest filing period, thanks to a wide array of local backers.
An attorney and local education activist making her first council
bid, received a $100 contribution from 41st Assembly Candidate
and former school board president Julia Brownley.
Land-use attorney Chris Harding, who often opposes SMRR candidates
and their planning policies, contributed to Davis’ campaign,
as did Council member Ken Genser.
Davis also received four $250 contributions from members of the
Kardashian family, who also gave O’Connor contributions totaling