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Santa Monica Council Candidates Drumming Up Money in the Home Stretch

Frank Gruber for City Council





Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pico Business Improvement District
7th Annual Pico Festival
Sunday, October 28th

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

October 29, 2012 -- With the election around the corner, candidates running for office in Santa Monica keeping pounding the pavement and raising money to give them the edge come November 6.

In the race for City Council, former Planning Commissioner Ted Winterer has raised the most amount of money, excluding loans to himself, coming in just shy of $50,000, of which $500 was a loan.

“Running a campaign gets more expensive each year, especially with mailers, which is the primary way to reach voters,” Winterer said, adding that 70 percent of Santa Monicans are renters who live in secure buildings that aren't accessible by people walking door-to-door.

Most of Winterer's money comes from local residents and businesses, including Chez Jay. He also received a donation from the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters.

Of his $50,000, Winterer has spent $35,154.56, but, he said, “I certainly expect to be spending just about every dollar I raised.”

Winterer is also one of four candidates who has been endorsed by Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights, which has raised over $100,000 to spend on candidates

He also has the endorsement, albeit one that he'd rather not have, of the developer-backed Santa Monicans United for a Responsible Future, which has raised nearly $400,000 to date. (“Developer PAC Drops Money Bomb on Santa Monica Council Race,” October 26, 2012)

Of that amount, the group has spent about $30,000 on mailers for Winterer.

Former Lookout columnist Frank Gruber agreed with Winterer about the cost of running an campaign.

“City-wide mailing costs between $15,000 to $17,000 each time,” he said, adding that candidates spend “a tremendous amount of money” on printing and postage.

Gruber has raised $68,707 since the start of the year, $21,000 of which was a loan.

“The thing is, if you're relying on the police union to do door hangers for you, or CEPS sending out a mailing, or SMRR, that's not your voice,” he said. “You may agree with these organizations, but on the other hand, the voter is trying to hear from the candidate and not other people who have interests in the system.”

Gruber has received support from City Council member Bobby Shriver and has been endorsed by Mayor Richard Bloom. He was also endorsed by the Santa Monica City Employees Union, which has $20,000 on hand to spend on their candidates.

To date, Gruber has spent $48,863.99.

Education Activist Shari Davis has raised $47,505.56 since the start of the year and she has spent almost $45,000 of it.

“I have worked so hard to put together what I think is a terrific campaign to show voters my record, my involvement in the community,” she said.

Davis was endorsed by the Santa Monica public safety unions and Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), among others.

She's also on the SMURF slate, a fact that troubles her.

“It's not easy to do everything we've done in the past few months. I don't want all of the work that I've done and the volunteers I've worked with be overshadowed by this IEC,” she said, calling SMURF a “gargantuan distraction” and “very disturbing.”

Incumbents Gleam Davis and Terry O'Day, who have raised $46,683 and $49,919 respectively, are both recipients of SMRR's endorsement as well as those of the public safety unions and CEPS. Also, they are featured on the SMURF mailers along with Winterer and Davis.

Planning Commissioner Richard McKinnon, who has received the endorsement of Santa Monica Coalition for a Liveable City and the Los Angeles County Democratic Club, has raised $32,530, about $10,000 was a loan.

So far, he's spent nearly $14,000.

After McKinnon is former City Council member and the fourth SMRR candidate, Tony Vazquez, who has managed to raise about $13,500 while spending nearly $20,000.

John C. Smith raised $11,036.00 -- about $9,000 of which was a loan -- and spent $10,309.

Newcomer Steve Duron has spent $2,175.89 of the $2,840.00 he raised.

Bringing up the rear is Terrence Later who raised nothing but still filed.

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