Friday, October 23, 2009

A Half-Million and Counting

Pass the 10-gallon hat. Preserve Our Santa Barbara, the political action committee, that has been all but single-handedly funded by Texan Randall Van Wolfswinkel, has so far spent an astonishing $518,991.02 to support and oppose candidates and measures in the vote-by-mail election which is currently underway in the city of Santa Barbara.

Van Wolfswinkel, who doesn't live in the city of Santa Barbara (he has a second home in nearby Montecito and is a resident of the Dallas, Texas area) contributed $225,000 in the form of loans to Preserve Our Santa Barbara between September 29 and October 13 of this year. Year-to-date, the Texan's contributions to the political action committee now total $468,697.00.

And you thought Big and Rich was a country western group.

When you spend that kind of money, any talk about being a "grass roots" organization is a lot of honky tonk badonkadonk.

The most recent figures are disclosed in Preserve Our Santa Barbara's latest campaign financing statement which was filed on Thursday. You can view it yourself by going to the City's electronic filing portal and entering "Preserve Our Santa Barbara" in the search box.

Here's a breakdown of how Preserve Our Santa Barbara spent its half-million dollars:

For the office of mayor, POSB spent $47,482.33 to oppose Steve Cushman, 47,482.33 to oppose Helene Schneider and $38,939.07 to support Dale Francisco's bid.

For city council they reported spending $35,930.44 to support Frank Hotchkiss, $30,012.16 to support Cathie McCammon, and $35,930.44 to support Michael Self.

They shelled out $48,465.83 to oppose Grant House, the only incumbent in the race and $25,403.75 to oppose Bendy White.

And they kicked in $49,507.58 to support Measure B.

Most surprising fact that is revealed in this latest campaign disclosure is that Preserve Our Santa Barbara has apparently not spent any money on advertising with the Santa Barbara News-Press.

They've spent nearly $3,000 on print and web ads with the Independent. They've even spent $1,400 in ads on Noozhawk.

But as far as I can tell, absolutely no money at the News-Press.

What gives? Do they think they'd be preaching to the choir? Or they wouldn't get enough bang for their buck?

* * *

I was listening to the Nick and Paul Show on AM1490 on Wednesday when city council candidate Michael Self was being interviewed. Self made the astonishing claim that the Santa Barbara Police Officer's Association, who has endorsed her, does not negotiate wages on behalf of its members with the City.

According to Mayor Marty Blum, "The Police Officer's Association negotiates with the City directly about salaries and benefits."

So does Self really not know that the POA is the bargaining representative for the city's police officers, or is she just pulling our leg?

Sounds like the old Texas two-step to me.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and