In the computer lab the other night, someone tried to goad me the other night in the presence of Aly Stark saying, in effect, that they hoped "her" ballot initiative passes. Here's a fair article from Wes Woods about how the big money is all on the side of increasing taxes on home owners who can't afford it after another bond initiative it passed and hasn't paid off. It's home owners versus out of town (and sometimes even out of state) money. Of course you'd expect liberals to line up on the side of the little guy, but then you'd be totally wrong to think that liberals care about the little guy anymore.
Out-of-district firms big donors to Claremont school district's Measure CL bond measure
Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
Created: 10/28/2010 09:12:24 PM PDT
CLAREMONT - Firms outside of the Claremont Unified School District's boundaries have contributed the bulk of the monetary support to get a school bond measure passed on Election Day.
Voters on Tuesday will decide whether the district can issue $95 million in facilities improvement bonds under Measure CL.
The Support Claremont Schools Yes on CL campaign committee has received more than $109,800 in contributions, while Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense has raised less than $4,000, according to financial disclosure forms.
Construction or architectural companies, banks or planners are among the largest financial supporters of the measure.
"This is some serious David and Goliath," said Betty Crocker, member of Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense and a No on Measure CL rally organizer.
"Cupcakes vs. special interest money of CUSD vendors. Here we are making cupcakes (to raise funds). It's why these (No on Measure CL) rallies are so important. It begins to show Claremont there are a lot of people who are 'no' on Measure CL."
The bonds, if approved, will complete significant repairs and upgrades to buildings and equipment in the district's schools.
The measure would cost property owners in the district about $45 per $100,000 of assessed value for 30 years.
The financial filings by supporters of Measure CL are not that unusual, said Doug Johnson, a research fellow with Claremont McKenna College's Rose Institute.
"I think this reflects what, for better or worse, is standard practice these days," Johnson said.
"Just from my quick look, all the non-Claremont firms writing big checks are service providers to the school district. That is more and more common. You see that is more and more common in local campaigns."
But, for a city like Claremont, $100,000 is still a lot of money, Johnson said.
"This election cycle is hard to get your word out because so much is being spent at the top of the ticket," he said.
Johnson pointed to gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown as well as U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina as overwhelming everyone with their campaign spending. The three candidates have combined to spend tens of millions of dollars on their campaigns.
"It makes it more difficult and more expensive for lower ticket items to get the word out," Johnson said.
"That reflects the expense of running campaigns these days and the trends across the state jurisdiction now turn to vendors to fund campaigns that fund the projects."
Yes on Measure CL treasurer J. Michael Fay said most of businesses that have contributed money to the campaign received work contracts following the passage of the Measure Y school improvement bond in 2000.
"These campaigns are terribly expensive and Measure Y cost $85,000. It's a similar kind of campaign except we have inflation," Fay said.
There are only about three companies nationwide that can implement these bonds once they are authorized by voters, he said.
Opponents of Measure CL said they're still paying taxes on Measure Y, which was passed in 2000, at $76 per $100,000 assessed value.
There are only three companies nationwide who can bid for the work if the bonds are approved, he said.
"All of them in the business will get 1 percent of implementing the bond at the lowest possible rate," Fay said. "Whether we went with one or we went with the other two the district did its due diligence on price. I think it's fair to contribute back to the district since they're making what they are making."
Fay said a similar process occurred with Measure Y.
"Most of the $85,000 did come from companies that had previous contracts with the district," Fay said. "Any contract is done by bidding only. Just because you're donating money doesn't mean you end up with a contract. I know the opposition seems to want to say that there's a quid pro quo but there is none."
The Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense, as of Wednesday, had not raised the minimum $1,000 required to fill out a 460 form. The form requires candidates to provide the amount of campaign contributions received, a Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder spokeswoman said
However, Opanyi K. Nasiali, member of the anti-Measure CL organization, said a more recent filing will show his group has raised close to $3,000.
"Our side we have raised more money from the community and local people in the community than they have," Nasiali said. "We have not received any big contributions from anybody outside the community like they have."
The pro-Measure CL group has spent about $48,000. The largest payments went to campaign consultants TBWB Strategies in San Francisco for $15,000, printing and mailings for $19,722, materials and expenses for $5,268 and travel campaign literature for $1,868.
Top 5 Donors to Support Claremont Schools Yes on CL
1. WLC Architects in Rancho Cucamonga: $25,000
2. Piper Jaffray (an international investment bank) in Minneapolis: $25,000
3. TELACU Construction Management Inc. in Los Angeles: $20,000
4. Vanir Construction Management. Inc. in Sacramento: $10,000
5. Adolph Ziemba, AIA and Associates Inc. in Burbank (project management): $10,000.
Top 5 Donors to Claremont Taxpayers for Common Sense
1. John Joseph McDermott, retired: $200
2. Donna S. Lowe, sales: $100
3. Lisa Doose, retired: $100
4. Conrad C. Casler, retired: $100
5. Joe A. Aguirre, business owner: $100