Politics & Government

Money flows into races countywide as election nears

With less than a month left before the Nov. 4 election, the latest round of campaign finance reports shows that hundreds of thousands of dollars are filling the campaign coffers of candidates in local races throughout San Luis Obispo County.

The latest round of campaign finance statements, which were due Oct. 5, shows how much money was raised from July 1 through Sept. 30. The statements also show how much each candidate has raised in 2014.

Another set of financial statements from candidates is due Oct. 23.

The Tribune has compiled financial information for candidates in six of the seven cities with a November election (Morro Bay’s council race was decided in June) as well as the San Luis Obispo County clerk-recorder race.

State Assembly

In the race for the 35th District Assembly seat, Republican incumbent Katcho Achadjian far eclipses Democratic challenger Heidi Harmon in money raised and spent.

In the last filing period, Achadjian raised $89,200 for a total of $181,750 since Jan. 1. He spent $59,356 since July 1, for a total of $163,534 in expenditures. He now has $260,280 remaining in cash.

Notable contributors to Achadjian’s campaign since July include PG&E, General Motors, McDonalds, Koch Industries Inc., Pepsi Co. and several oil and law enforcement associations.

Despite raising only a fraction of her opponent’s stockpile, disclosure statements reveal that Harmon’s campaign raised more since July than any previous period.

She entered July with $2,687 on hand and has since raised $26,182, including a $10,000 loan from Arroyo Grande green building contractor Tom Murray. All told, since Jan. 1, Harmon has raised $30,248 and spent $13,151, with $11,918 spent since July 1. As of Sept. 30, Harmon had $16,951 remaining in cash.

Harmon’s contributors include San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Atascadero Democratic Club.

Clerk-recorder

Assistant Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong has raised seven times more money than his challenger, Deputy Clerk-Recorder Amanda King, in their bids to replace retiring Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald.

Gong has raised $63,887 this year, including $21,695 from July 1 through Sept. 30. That compares with the $9,081 King has raised this year.

Gong has received campaign contributions from about 70 donors. His largest contributor is Ruby Young of Bakersfield, who has donated $6,000 this year.

King’s campaign is mostly self-financed. She has given her campaign $7,256.

Arroyo Grande

Arroyo Grande City Council candidate Barbara Harmon has far outraised her two opponents — incumbents Tim Brown and Joe Costello — in the race for two council seats.

In the latest three-month time period, Harmon raised $7,917 in cash contributions, her filing statement shows. She has raised $10,365 in 2014, including a $1,000 loan.

Her larger contributions include $1,000 from the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County, which supports and recruits Republican candidates; $500 from 4th District supervisory candidate Lynn Compton; $500 from the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast; and $250 from the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County.

Brown has raised $5,760 in the last filing period and $5,910 overall. His larger contributors include $500 each from Beatrice Spencer of Spencer’s Fresh Markets; Jason Blankenship of Innovative Housing Solutions; and from attorneys John Spatafore of San Luis Obispo and James Harvey of Arroyo Grande.

Brown also received $100 from fellow Councilman Jim Guthrie. Brown donated $350 toward his own campaign this year.

Costello has a total of $700, including a $200 loan, all within the most recent filing period. His contributors include $200 from Arroyo Fresh Inc. and $300 from farmer Adam Saruwatari of Arroyo Fresh Inc.

Supporters of mayoral candidate Jim Hill, who is mounting a write-in challenge against Mayor Tony Ferrara, formed a committee and have raised $1,800. Hill and Ferrara both filed forms stating they do not expect to raise or spend more than $1,000.

Atascadero

In the Atascadero mayoral race, Mayor Tom O’Malley outraised challenger Charles Scovell approximately 3-to-1.

In the latest filing period, O’Malley raised $8,545, including a $1,500 loan to himself, for a total of $9,545 since Jan. 1. He spent $9,203 since July 1 for a total of $9,523 in the calendar year.

O’Malley’s largest contributors include residents, PG&E, and the Republican Central Committee and the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County.

Scovell has received a total of $3,800 and spent $3,766. He did not receive or spend any money before July 1. Scovell had $33 on hand as of Sept. 30.  Donors include residents and small businesses, as well as former Councilman Jerry Clay.

In the City Council race, incumbent Heather Moreno leads challengers by a wide margin. Since July 1, Moreno raised $5,943 — including $804 in non-monetary contributions — for a total of $9,093 since Jan. 1. She spent $9,256 in the latest filing period for a total of $10,864 in expenditures and had $6,496 on hand as of Sept. 30. Her major contributors include the San Luis Obispo County Republican Central Committee, the Lincoln Club, PG&E and the Home Builders Association.

Incumbent Brian Sturtevant raised $4,202 since July 1, including $307 in non-cash contributions, for a total of $6,949 in the year. He also spent a total of $6,880. As of Sept. 30, Sturtevant had $241 on hand. Major donors included the Lincoln Club, the Republican Committee of San Luis Obispo County, PG&E and Sempra Energy.

Since July 1, attorney Len Colamarino raised $3,950, including $591 in non-cash contributions, spent $1,612 and has $1,736 remaining. Donors include residents and the Atascadero Democratic Club.

Retired chemical trading company managing director Chuck Ward raised a total of $2,946 and spent $1,377. He had $1,569 remaining as of Sept. 30. Major donors include former San Luis Obispo Mayor Dave Romero and Clay.

Grover Beach

Grover Beach mayoral candidates Debbie Peterson, the incumbent, and challenger John Shoals are fairly evenly matched financially.

Peterson raised $6,215 in the latest reporting period, including $418 in non-monetary contributions. In 2014, she’s brought in $11,516 overall.

Her contributions include $2,000 total from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, $300 from former Grover Beach Mayor David Ekbom, $250 from Allan Real Estate Investments and $300 from Straight Up Sports Inc.

Shoals has raised a total of $10,364, all of it within the three-month reporting period, including a $1,000 personal loan and $1,227 in non-cash contributions. 

He received $1,000 from Grover Beach-based Pace Homes LLC, and $500 each from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 639 Political Action Committee (PAC), Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 403 PAC, and the Southern California Pipe Trades.

In addition, Shoals received $250 from 3rd District county Supervisor Adam Hill, $250 from Grover Beach Councilman Jeff Lee and $100 from former Councilman Steve Lieberman.

Barbara Nicolls and Mariam Shah are running unopposed for two council seats. Both filed forms stating they do not intend to raise or spend more than $1,000.

Paso Robles

Councilman Steve Martin, who is running unopposed for mayor, raised $3,000, including $300 in non-cash contributions, from July 1 through Sept. 30. In 2014, he’s brought in $8,266 overall.

His contributions include $500 from Dale Gomer, president/CEO of Paso Robles Waste & Recycle; $300 from Noreen Martin of Martin Resorts; and $150 from Casey Biggs, executive director of the Paso Robles Performing Arts Center.

Five candidates are running for two council seats.

Mayor Duane Picanco, incumbent John Hamon and newcomer Steve Gregory have raised about the same amount.

Hamon has brought in $12,496 in 2014 — all raised from July through September — including a $1,000 personal loan and $1,222 in non-cash contributions. 

Hamon received $1,000 each from Mike Harrod of La Mirada Holdings of Salinas and Tom Schultz of Templeton; $500 each from Nathan Ross of Aviation Consultants Inc. and Dale Gomer of Paso Robles Waste & Recycle; and $300 from Paso Robles Chevrolet. 

Gregory has raised $11,676 this year, including a $1,100 personal loan. His contributions include $1,000 each from the Erskine Property Trust and La Mirada Holding; $250 each from the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast Political Action Committee and Douglas Beckett of Peachy Canyon Winery.

Picanco has raised $11,888, including $3,040 in non-cash contributions. His contributions included $2,500 each from Greengate Ranch and Vineyard LLC and David Crabtree, owner of Home and Ranch Realtors in Templeton; and $1,000 from La Mirada Holding.

Jim Reed received $4,838 in the three-month reporting period and has raised $5,761 to date. Contributions include $1,800 from his wife, Karen, who has given $2,106 total to his campaign in 2014.

Reed also received $500 from Eras Construction Inc. and $250 from the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County.

The city clerk had not yet received campaign statements from candidate Pam Avila.

Pismo Beach

In the mayoral race, incumbent Shelly Higginbotham has raised $3,817, including two personal loans totaling $700; while challenger Kevin Kreowski has raised $1,948.

Higginbotham’s contributions include $1,000 each from the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County and the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast; $300 from Gary Grossman of Coastal Community Builders; $250 from the Republicans Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County; and $250 from Sempra Energy.

Kreowski’s contributions include $500 from Noreen Martin of Martin Resorts and $550 from Friends of Adam Hill (the county supervisor).

Four council candidates are running for two seats.

Candidate Sheila Blake has brought in the most in contributions this year, raising nearly $10,003, including a $3,000 personal loan and about $117 in non-cash contributions. 

Blake’s largest contribution was $1,500 from Karl Stahl, a former city councilman ousted along with the mayor in a recall election in 1996 (Mary Ann Reiss was one of the council members elected to replace them).

Marcia Guthrie raised $9,925, including a $3,000 personal loan and $63 in non-monetary contributions. She also received $1,500 from Stahl, and smaller contributions from 18 other residents in Pismo and Arroyo Grande.

Incumbent Mary Ann Reiss has raised $8,536, including two personal loans totaling $3,800 and $290 in non-monetary contributions. She has received $1,000 from the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County, $300 from Gary Grossman of Coastal Community Builders, $250 from the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County, and $100 from Councilman Erik Howell, as well as several Pismo Beach residents.

Councilman Kris Vardas has raised $4,193, including a $1,596 personal loan.

His contributions include $500 each from Mark Burnes of Burnes Commercial Group, the CDF Firefighters PAC and the Home Builders Association PAC; and $300 from Gary Grossman of Coastal Community Builders.

San Luis Obispo

Incumbent Jan Marx is the only one of three mayoral candidates for the San Luis Obispo City Council to report sizable campaign contributions. She has raised $13,613, which includes a $1,000 loan she made to her own campaign. 

Challenger Donald Hedrick filed a form declaring he would not collect nor spend more than $1,000. Challenger Jeffrey Specht reported one donor: the Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County, for $200. 

The Friends of Adam Hill, the supervisor’s campaign committee, gave $300 to Marx’s campaign, and Supervisor Bruce Gibson gave $100. 

Marx also received donations from several key developers, including Andrew Mangano of Mangano Homes and Gary Grossman Coastal Community Builders, who both gave her $300.

Other contributors include a $250 donation from the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Party and $150 donations each from the Southern California Pipe Trades and Plumbers and Steamfitters No. 403.

Five candidates are seeking two council seats: Daniel Cano, incumbent Carlyn Christianson, Mike Clark, Gordon Mullin and Dan Rivoire. 

Christianson has garnered the most donations to date, raising $11,235. Like Marx, she collected $300 from Hill, as well as $100 from Gibson. She also has the same developers supporting her campaign. Grossman, who plans to develop San Luis Ranch, donated $300, and Mangano gave $300. Mangano’s wife, Laurie Mangano, also donated $300. 

Other donors include $300 from the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast PAC and $200 from the San Luis Obispo Democratic Party. 

Rivoire raised $9,800 and had the most donors listed in the latest three-month reporting period. Developer Grossman donated $300, and Mangano and his wife donated a combined $600. The Friends of Adam Hill gave $200 and the Democratic Party contributed $200. 

Clark followed close behind Rivoire, raising $8,983, which includes a $2,000 loan to himself. 

Both Barasch Architects and Associates and Leslie Halls, members of the first association, donated $100 to Clark’s campaign. 

Sandra Rowley, an active member of Residents for Quality Neighborhoods and Clark’s wife, donated $300 to Clark. The San Luis Obispo County Builders Exchange PAC gave Clark $300.

Mullin raised the least, with $7,772, including a $3,000 loan to himself. The Republican Central Committee of San Luis Obispo County donated $250, John Madonna of Madonna Construction gave $300 and the Homebuilders Association of the Central Coast gave $100.

Cano did not collect any donations but did loan $563 to his campaign to cover costs.

Marx gave $100 each to Christianson and Rivoire.

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