Weekly Column by Loretta Redd
Leave it to LA to try and outdo everyone in California. This time, it’s not Rodeo Drive’s couturier and jewels, nor Hollywood’s glam and paparazzi taking the headlines. It’s election spending.
By last Saturday, our neighbors to the south had set a less than enviable record of over $33 million on their race for a mayor. We’re not talking the whole council…just the mayor. Probably would have been cheaper to simply bride every registered voter with a check; especially since neither candidate seems to be very adept at garnering a lead in the polls.
Is Santa Barbara’s City Council so far behind? Using rounded numbers of cash raised and expended in the last campaign for our tiny, tawny town, we have:
Randy Rowse $83,000
Deborah Schwartz $79,000 ($105,000 including in-kind)
Dale Francisco $79,000
Cathy Murillo $72,000 ($88,000 including in-kind)
Grant House (2009) $74,000
Bendy White (2009) $65,000 ($91,000 including in-kind)
“In-kind” expenditures include outside monies by groups whose gifts are known to the candidates. Some of the auxiliary groups offer “independent expenditures.” They may not have been in direct contact with the candidate or campaign director, but they still have to list the value of the gift and who receives them.
For example, if the Democratic Party produce a $3,000 mailer for three endorsed candidates, and informs them that they are doing so, the ‘gift’ is pro-rated, and both the candidate and campaign committee report a $1,000 contribution. If the Democratic Party does not inform the candidate, but simply sends money or includes them on a slate mailer, it is considered an “independent expenditure” which the campaign committee must list, but the candidate isn’t required to do so.
The City of Santa Barbara has on-line campaign filing showing campaign expenditure and monies raised. It isn’t easy to find the numbers; the City of Goleta actually does a better job, but with a little tenacity, the information is there.
Here’s a link to a filing from the Democratic Central Committee (see Schedule D) :
This year, our local City council election is projected to cost between $70-75,000 per candidate. I think that is an absurd amount of money for a council seat where the City Administrator, Attorney and Chief of Police pretty much run the place. Especially since Santa Barbara is a Charter City where members have limited terms, non-district elections and thankfully, limited compensation. Continue Reading →