Logo horizontal ruler


About Us Contact

Follow the Money: Council Candidates Turn to Wide Array of Contributors as Race Nears Finish Line

By Olin Ericksen
Staff Writer

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 Gray Davis.

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 statements.

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 story)

“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 statements.

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 $1,000.





Lookout Logo footer image
Copyright 1999-2008 surfsantamonica.com. All Rights Reserved.
Footer Email icon