Saturday, August 01, 2009

Mayoral Candidates, Show Us The Money!

Santa Barbara City Council members Iya Falcone and Helene Schneider are in a virtual dead heat when it comes to raising money to finance their campaigns to become the city's next mayor.

Friday was the deadline to file campaign contribution reports for the six-month period that ended on June 30th. During that time Falcone reported raising $51,799.00 to Schneider's $44,920.00. But when you combine that figure with the $6,450.00 in campaign contributions that Schneider received between July 1 and December 31 of last year, that brings Schneider's grand total to $51,370.00, just a few hundred dollars shy of Falcone's total. (Falcone did not report receiving any contributions during 2008.)

Chamber of Commerce President, Steve Cushman, who is also running for mayor, raised $23,575.99, less than half what Falcone and Schneider were able to bring in, and $15,000.00 of that was money that he and his wife contributed to his own campaign.

City Council Member Dale Francisco, who entered the race on Tuesday, presumably did not raise any money for the mayor's race prior to June 30 and therefore did not file a report.

Falcone reported a substantial amount of contributions from labor unions and employee associations. The Santa Barbara Police Officers Association gave her $12,100.00. She received $5,500.00 from the Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association and another $2,500.00 from the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Government Committee.

She also got $500.00 from Plumber's & Fitter's Local NO. 114, and $1,000.00 from the District Council of Iron Workers.

Her father, actor George Gaynes, (you might remember him from the movie "Tootsie") donated $1,000. Retired City Fire Chief Warner McGrew donated $2,000.00 to her cause and developer Jeff Bermant gave her a total of $1,099.00.

News-Press society page writer Lorraine Wilson gave Falcone $200.00. Former county supervisor Naomi Schwartz contributed $450.00 to the campaign.

Schneider's biggest donors include Ronnie and Marvin Blitz who gave her a total of $7,500.00. Publisher Sara Miller-McCune gave Schneider $2,500.00, the Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County kicked in $1,000.00 and former city council member Brian Barnwell gave her $500.00 during the most recent reporting period. (Schneider reported returning the contribution.)

Former Santa Barbara Mayor Sheila Lodge gave Schneider $200.00 as did City Planning Commission member Charmaine Jacobs.

Cushman, at this juncture, appears to have the shortest list of contributors of the three mayoral candidates who filed reports. After himself and his wife, his biggest single contributors are Rob and Judy Egenolf who together gave him $3,000.00 (Cushman co-hosts his weekly radio show with Rob). Also among the notables who gave to his campaign are former city council member Dan Secord who gave $100 as did Jedlikca's Saddlery owner Josiah Jenkins.

The election is in November. You can view the contribution reports for all candidates, both mayor and city council, by going to the City's Campaign Finance Disclosure Portal.

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Among the candidates for city council, John Thyne appears to be leading the pack when it comes to fundraising. I'll have a complete rundown on the council candidates' money raising efforts early next week, but in the meantime, Thyne is making news on the legal front.

He was stopped by police while driving recently and given a blood alcohol test. He admitted having two glasses of wine with dinner and his blood alcohol content did not exceed the legal limit. That's the good news. The bad news is that Thyne is on probation for a DUI conviction in 2007 and one of the terms and conditions of his probation was that he not have any registrable amount of alcohol in his blood while driving.

He's now facing a possible probation violation.

Looking on the bright side, if he gets elected to the council, sounds like there's a good chance he'll be riding a bike to city hall.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and