Friday, February 14, 2014

A very interesting Matthew in the Middle regarding campaign finance

To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and anonymous blog comments. - Matthew Owen/Lost Coast Outpost

A couple of local urban blog legends are “developer controlled money buys our local elections” and “whoever spends the most wins elections.” Neither could be further from the truth.

Here’s a partial list of the $10,000+ aggregate donors from 2004-2013:

Paul Gallegos
Joan Gallegos, attorney (and his wife) – Eureka, CA: $43,700 (campaign loan)
Ester Saunoras & Richard Cogswell, Lost Coast Winery – Petrolia, CA: $32,620
Blue Lake Casino: $30,000
David Gallegos: $25,000
Jennifer Keller, attorney – Irvine, CA: $18,500
Rob and Cherie Arkley, Security National – Eureka, CA: $17,000
Jaime O’Donnell – developer, Trinidad, CA: $14,228
Bear River Casino: $10,000
Orlando Gallegos – New Mexico: $10,000
Bonnie Neely is a close second with:
Blue Lake Casino: $61,000
Bill Pierson, Pierson Building Center & Sedgefield (Bill’s middle name) Properties: $52,590
Master Plan Development, Inc. of Dana Point, CA: $10,000
And in third place is Patrick Cleary with:
Blue Lake Casino: $25,000
Bill Pierson: $15,000
Considering that Blue Lake Casino spent $94,475 in the 2010 elections alone, where was our local mainstream media writing about the “influence of money” in our local elections? If you think the Times-Standard and the North Coast Journal are in the news business, you’re wrong. From their perspective, which do they think is more important: in-depth investigative journalism or selling advertising? That’s an easy answer.

He mentions the cost of the DA's races. It's worth noting. With Gallegos out of the race, does a prospective DA candidate have to raise $300,00 just to compete?

No, this will be a less expensive race (except for the fact that the price of everything the candidates have to buy has gone up).

Or - it should be. Won't be if Salzman and Co. are involved. Something for all who are running to keep in mind.


  1. Did you see that Virginia Bass already brought in 40k into her war chest this past reporting period? I guess this is going to be another expensive race where candidates spend around $40 per vote.


    Sandra, you might want to check your numbers.

    I do agree with you that elections in general, local or national have become too expensive.

    1. Thanks John. I did recheck my numbers, which appear to be correct. Virginia raised just over $39,000 from July 1st through the end of the year according to the documents I read. Maybe I was reading the wrong paperwork? If so, could you please post a link?

  3. The thing is, candidates have to raise money to pay for signs, buttons, ads, events where they are able to talk to you, etc.

    WITHOUT these things, Sandra, they limit their ability to COMMUNICATE with you. Because the TV stations and radio stations aren't going to give you in depth information, and the papers aren't going to print very much in the way of candidate's information. At best they're going to give you soundbites.

    So, yes, they build their war chest. It's not really about per vote, it's about being able to communicate with you.

    And you want that, don't you? I do.

  4. Rose, would you agree then that it is OK to conflate money with free speech. This means that more wealth means more ability to communicate. That's as it should be, right, because those with more wealth have been more successful or come from parents who have been more successful.

    Where I'm going with this is doesn't this threaten the notion of our Democracy?

    I wonder, maybe it's not as threatening to a Republic though is it?

    These may sound snarky, especially the last, but I was trying to write our notion of "democratic Republic" but then I thought it might be useful to separate the two for discussion.

  5. John, also, just for the record, why does Sandra need to check her numbers? She was more accurate than you actually (if not as precise but that wasn't her point). She rounded up to $40K from $39,076 for this year, is that what you are talking about? Would you have preferred $39K? btw, not to be snarky, again, but your added a 1 to Virginia's number.

    The $40/vote is a guestimate which are historically in the ballpark for the expensive HumCo races. I guess I'm really just curious what you think she has to correct.

    Is this being snarky? I don't think so, I'm just really curious, because again, on your post you say the $39,176 (inaccurate - should be $39,076) was collected for 2013 (inaccurate - should be latter half of 2013).

    According to the 460 which is available online, the filing period is for the second half only of 2013. That 40K number does not include any contributions from before that. Which, again, is exactly what Sandra said.

    Here is your quote. "Per the 460s, Virginia raised $39,176 in 2013."

    So it seems what we are left with is all three of us agree that elections in general have become more expensive and no other disagreement! Hooray! It's nice to agree on something once in a while.

    1. Oops, should have read this before posting above. Was my error simply rounding off 39k to 40k? I'm confused.

  6. Sandra, I did not say you were incorrect. I just posted some facts and that she has been fundraising for a while. Others who dont comment read blogs.

    Virginia isnt the only candidaye who has raised money. Rose made good points.

    Liberal Jon when you can put aside your extreme personal partisan bias and be open to listening, I will have a civil conversation with you.

    You are actively recruiting someone to run against Virginia because she doesnt fit your idea of what a Democrat is or what issues are of importance to all people.

    One response for you is never enough. And you have made up your mind about me. So no point in having a discussion.

  7. John, it's not about you, you are a nice guy I like to discuss politics with. I find your politics problematic. Please help me to distinguish the two. They are different. I like you, we share a bunch in common from the little I know of you including enjoying Eureka's downtown, blogging, and politics, I just disagree with much of your politics - not all, much.

    I'm always open to discussion.

    Also, I'd hope all of us would hope for elections each time one comes up. None of us want to be ruled, we want our leaders to govern and our leaders need to be accountable to the voters each time their term is up. Let's say Supervisor Bass is as liberal as a Democrat as you like, then we should be hoping that someone more conservative or libertarian or whatever says she should not vote as ____ as she is on _____. Elections are not about partisan bickering, they are about helping to define a vision for our future.

    And if I'm actively recruiting, I'm failing badly, just for the record.

    Extremely, Liberal Jon


    Sandra, I'm still confused too. But here is a link

    1. Jon, I too think you are a nice guy. We have different opinions on some issues, we agree on a rare few :) and all this is good for a democracy.

      I hope we will find more time to find common ground and issues. As I have told you I admire your passion for your party. In a recent post I wrote about decent voices in general rising above those who stir polarization.

      And as I wrote regardless of party affiliation. You attend meetings which is a good thing. I wish more people would do that more often and make time.

      Getting information firsthand is a good thing.

  8. Funny how people who profess to care about 'money in politics' had nothing to say when Gallegos raised a shitload of money and changed the landscape for all races.

    Mention it and watch people shrug and turn their head, "Oh, well,"

    See, it's OK when it's YOUR guy. And then you get mad when the 'OTHER GUY' fights back.

    And no matter which side you're on - running a campaign costs money. Running ads costs money. TV. Radio. Print. Brochures. Mailers are bloody expensive, and even more so this year... especially for campaigns like the DA's race which are county-wide.

    It costs money to put on events like fundraisers, and meet-and-greets. Signs cost money. Buttons cost money, Bumper stickers cost money.

    Add it up. And notice the ones who go for moral purity and say they won't take contributions over $100 have absolutely NO CHANCE of getting their message out.

    As for the arguments about whether or not that is 'conflating' money with free speech, Jon, that is just so much basement dwelling esoteric bullshit. The next phase is saying the public should fund campaigns. Uh - that's what donations are for. Voluntary. Not forced and not dictated by government.


    Are the Supremes working out of their basement now? That's news to me. I Do learn things about the legal profession in the US on this blog! Thanks Rose!

    No candidate is immune from money. 460 and the description of where money comes from does open up both sides to scrutiny. I'd like to investigate invested and vested interests for all candidates.

  10. Exactly, Jon. Transparency and disclosure. Where did the money come from, and let people decide if that matters to them or not.

    All these efforts to hogtie the other side will only bite you in the ass later. And limiting them will only result in people who can afford to pay their own way being the only ones who can run for office.

    And if you think having the govt. take it over, you need only look at the weaponizing of the IRS to see why that is a terrible idea.

  11. "Exactly, Jon. Transparency and disclosure. Where did the money come from, and let people decide if that matters to them or not."

    On this we agree wholeheartedly.

  12. "Getting information firsthand is a good thing. " Yes

    re: attending meetings "I wish more people would do that more often and make time." Yes!

    Unfortunately not everyone has time for this. This is why a public interest media is so important. This is near-to impossible given the broken business model print media is under.

    Our next line of defence for real information on what is and isn't happening - ie the story behind the spin is politics. I don't know if you noticed that we have only one party that people clamor to to get their endorsement. That represents a huge problem. No public interest media, a broken political system spells corruption. And that's what we are getting as we address the concerns of the few instead of the concerns of the entire community.

  13. Where does the HCDCC get all that money. Jon, and where does it go and why? I couldn't believe the numbers I stumbled on when I was researching something else.

  14. We have a group of wonderful, concerned, contributors and an award winning fundraiser. Also had a large contribution - it's all in the 460s.

  15. liberaljon, since you seem to know, can you list for me and the general Humboldt County public HCDCC's top 20 contributors and the amounts they gave? I'd be curious to know how much money is being spent by Humboldt Greens posing as Dems to keep the Green Party agenda in political power in Humboldt County's Democratic Party.

  16. From: "Redwood Progressive"
    Date: February 18, 2014 6:41:55 PM PST
    Subject: DA's race - TOWN HALLS -- Trinidad 3/9 - Arcata 3/16 - Garberville 4/4 -

    As most of you know by now, Paul Gallegos is not running for a fourth term as our District Attorney. You are likely well aware that prior to Paul's tenure it was "business as usual" when it came to the M.O. of the Old Guard that controlled that office. Gallegos stopped the demonization of marijuana, instituting an orderly process for discerning Mom and Pop growers from industrial grows. Gallegos was also firm that he "worked with law enforcement, not for law enforcement" and he stopped the vendetta against activists. In this year's election, the choice may come down to taking the county backwards by re-installing the Old Guard versus honoring the progress of the last twelve years and taking us forward.

    Current Deputy District Attorney Élan Firpo is the candidate who will best honor the reforms the office has made under Gallegos, pursuing Justice, not Vengeance, and tackle the problems we face with justice and fairness as the goal. She is the only working prosecutor in the race and the only truly Independent candidate. Firpo is also the only candidate with a background in management. In her former career in the private sector Élan Firpo managed teams of engineers designing computer components and production facilities with over 2000 employees. Not content with working simply for monetary gain, she earned a law degree with the specific intent of becoming a prosecutor and giving back to the community.

    These are the first in a series of Town Hall meetings where you can hear the candidate's vision for the future of the District Attorney's office and for her to hear your questions and concerns. Each Town Hall is scheduled to run from one to two hours and they are open to the public and the media.

    If you can not make any of these public events listed below, reply to this email as there may be open seats at one of the numerous private house parties being held continually through out the county until election day, including the ones currently on the calendar being hosted by: Julie Fulkerson, Chuck Powell, Paul & Joani Gallegos or Jim Lamport. There will also be additional Town Halls scheduled shorty.

    For more information, to volunteer, or to host a house party of your own, please contact Elan's campaign manager: Jaison Chand 707.496-5368 Donations may be made online (she's going to need your financial support as her primary opponent is backed by The Deputy Sheriff's Organization, The EPD Association, as well as Rex Bohn and his well-heeled backers!).

    Thank you,

  17. Paul did nothing to protect seniors and disabled in Humboldt County 215 medical marijuana patients rights being attacked in all HUD subsidized senior and disabled low-income housing complexes. Paul took Bear River campaign money contribution in exchange for tossing out 29 felony charges against Bear River's former tribal chairperson's son.

    But the worst thing Paul did was let Richard Salzman handle his campaign and now Elan Firpo has made the same mistake which will cost her the election.

  18. Thanks, Anonymous 4:19. Salzman has been sorta half hiding it.

    Why anyone would listen to him, when you can make the case that he is responsible for the piss poor condition of the office, is beyond me.

    Yeah, let's keep the momentum going - maybe he can get down to 3 or 4 prosecutors doing the job of 20. Wouldn't that be an accomplishment?

    But, you know. Pot.




    A lot of high minded language to disguise his real intent.

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