ELECTION 2014: Off-Island committee makes Chen contributions king

ELECTION 2014: Off-Island committee makes Chen contributions king

Michele Ellson

Updated at 2:15 p.m. Monday, October 27

City Councilman Stewart Chen has taken the lead in Alameda’s campaign money race, newly released donor disclosure documents show.

As of October 18, Chen had pulled in $46,280.70, donor disclosure forms filed Thursday show, while a Los Angeles-based political action committee that’s received contributions from several labor unions, Pacific Gas & Electric and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty’s top aide independently spent $21,611.82 backing his re-election bid.

Council candidate Jim Oddie had pulled in $44,227.27 as of October 18, the filings show, plus another $8,872.64 from the Alameda Firefighters Association after that date. Close to half of the contributions to Oddie’s campaign come from labor unions, filings show. The numbers for all of the candidates include cash contributions and spending on mailers, fundraisers and other support.

Former councilman Frank Matarrese, who is running to return to the dais after a four-year absence, has raised $12,239.68, all of from individuals living in Alameda.

Meanwhile, Mayor Marie Gilmore boosted her fundraising total to $46,127.11, while her challenger, Trish Spencer, has raised $9,477. Gilmore’s most recent contributions include a $5,000 check from Perforce founder Christopher Seiwald, while Spencer took in more than a dozen $100 and $200 checks from locals.

Oddie, Gilmore and Spencer all had fundraisers scheduled after the last formal filing date for the November 4 election. The latest filing period included contributions and expenditures made between October 1 and October 18; some candidates have also filed forms detailing contributions of $1,000 or more made after that date.

The Alameda Firefighters Association has so far spent nearly $52,000 on local and regional races, disclosure filings show, including close to $11,000 to support Oddie and money to back Assembly candidates Rob Bonta and Tim Sbranti and termed-out Councilwoman Lena Tam, who’s making a bid for a BART board seat. All told, labor unions have so far spent more than $46,000 to support Oddie, Chen, Gilmore and school board trustee Solana Henneberry, filings show.

The firefighters and other city workers will be negotiating for new contracts for 2017. The trade unions, meanwhile, have had some success in pushing for rules requiring union labor on some Alameda Point development and could stand to benefit from additional union-friendly rules as development projects are approved there and elsewhere on the Island.

The Los Angeles-based Golden State Leadership Fund political action committee paid for a mailer supporting Chen’s campaign. The mailer lists the Alameda Firefighters Association and Alameda Police Officers Association as Chen backers.

Chen was convicted of insurance fraud two decades ago, a conviction made public by two reporters earlier this year. He has since said he didn’t commit the crimes he pleaded guilty to and that he was pushed into accepting a plea deal.

The group has so far this year received $231,000 in contributions from donors including labor unions; Pacific Gas & Electric; Oakland-based construction consultancy Kal Krishnan Consulting Services; San Francisco-based Shorenstein Realty Services; and Shawn Wilson, Haggerty’s chief of staff, records in the secretary of state’s Cal-Access campaign finance database show. Contributors include a pair of Oakland-based donors, ARDA LLC and U.S. Freight Systems, Inc., who have individually contributed to Oddie’s and Chen’s campaigns, respectively.

The committee is also backing San Francisco Assembly candidate David Chiu and Sacramento Assembly candidate Darrell Fong, Sacramento City Council candidate Julius Cherry, state controller candidate Betty Yee and John Chiang, who’s running for state treasurer, records in the database show.

The group spent $14,000 to oppose Matarrese's council candidacy, state filings made over the weekend show, though what the money was spent on isn't yet clear.

New filings from Henneberry show she has received $12,965.74 in contributions so far, including $4,877.74 in support from the Alameda Education Association, which has endorsed Henneberry and candidate Gary Lym for school board. She has also received $3,868.47 in support from the Alameda Firefighters Association, filings show.

Lym has raised $2,050 so far, almost all of it a loan to his campaign, filings show. An earlier filing from the teachers’ union shows it spent $862.02 to support his candidacy, support that isn’t listed on Lym’s disclosures (Lym said the union didn't communicate the support to him). A more recent filing from the teachers’ union was not available Friday.

Both the teachers and the police officers’ union contributed $2,500 to the firefighters union, disclosure records show. A mailer from the police and firefighter unions expressed support for Gilmore, Chen, Oddie, Henneberry, BART Board candidate Lena Tam, state Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the Measure I school bond and Measure BB county transportation tax.

School board incumbent Mike McMahon didn’t appear to have filed a disclosure form as of Thursday night; none of the candidates for the Alameda Health Care District board of directors has filed. Candidates who raise and spend less than $1,000 are not required to file.

The campaign for the Measure I school bond has raised more than $31,000 to date; opponents of the measure had not filed a disclosure form as of Thursday night.

One big winner in the filings: The Sacramento political consultancy of Duffy & Capitolo, which earned $44,000 in consulting fees during the latest round and more than $54,000 for mailings, postage and other services. The firm's clients include Gilmore, Chen, Oddie, the firefighters' union and the Yes on I campaign, the disclosure forms show.

Between now and Election Day, disclosures must be filed on contributions or expenditures of $1,000 or more within 24 hours. A full accounting of what was contributed and spent won’t be available until after the election.

Related: Oddie, Gilmore appear to lead fundraising race


Submitted by Mike McMahon on Mon, Oct 27, 2014

At the start of the campaign indicating I would not raise/spend over $1000 and I am not required to file any additional disclosure forms. To date, I bought 2000 door hangers. I have no lawn signs, no candidate mailers or any other campaign expenses.

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Mon, Oct 27, 2014

Thanks for the additional information, Mike.

Submitted by luczai (not verified) on Mon, Nov 3, 2014

I would like to thank Mr. McMahon for his restraint. I wish more candidates cared enough about the environment to spare us the litter problem attendant to these elections. It also shows that he's not one to blow money needlessly. Something the big fundraisers might want to consider. If they have to try so hard, going to the lengths of publishing postcards to trash their opponents, maybe you don't have much of a record to stand on themselves. They've also indicated that they don't manage money too well.

Submitted by joel (not verified) on Wed, Nov 5, 2014

Sound like the French have taken over Alameda politic and pulled out their guillotines
Lesson learned Money does not buy everything
Alamedan voter got turned away by the nastiness from these CPA firm the Levy group , in Oakland ,the one source la in los angeles , the continuing the republican revolution , the Ross G Bates in seattle .
Every nasty mailer helped him and sank the Democratic Party to an all time low across the Country .

Submitted by Narbona (not verified) on Wed, Nov 5, 2014

I knew Alameda's Firefighter Union supported Gilmore, Chen, and Oddie, but I didn't know Alameda's Police Union threw in with these three, too. As far as I can read in this article, the Police Union contributed to the Firefighter's Union and the Firefighter's Union fronted the Police Union's money. Nothing wrong here. Unions exist to support their member's interests (remember the BART strike), but the public good will unions forfeit (remember the BART strike), tarnishes the image of the very fine men and women on the front lines they represent.

Submitted by Love Alameda! (not verified) on Wed, Nov 5, 2014

I agree with Joel! $$$$$$$
Hope it's not too late! It's sad people need corporate and union money and are allowed to do criminal things and still run for office. It's awesome Trish won!!!