Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Campaign Cash Totals for the 2012 Sierra Madre City Council Election

A new cash record was set, let there be no doubt. And the specter of money taking precedence over substance on the issues in future Sierra Madre City Council elections looms here over our little town, just as it does everywhere else. Another little bit of the uniqueness to our storied foothill village is now apparently threatened by the kinds of cash politics that plays so important a role everywhere else. Yet one more instance where we are becoming less ourselves and more like Los Angeles County with each passing election.

But the good news is money still doesn't necessarily guarantee political victory here, and in two out of the three races it was the candidate with the better ideas that triumphed over serial mailings of glossy oversized postcards and full color personality ads in the Looney Views News. Which, when you toss in the overwhelming defeat of the two UUT measures, is a publication whose support in our city's political process no longer seems to matter very much. You almost have to wonder if our adjudicated weekly paper's favor has now become more of a detriment than a plus.

So what we are going to do today is rank the campaign cash reports sent to the City Clerk by the amount of money raised. Add in a few pertinent (or impertinent) observations, reflect upon the importance of it all, rue and stew a bit, and then leave it up to you, the Tattler reader, to add your observations. Or not, if you should choose to let this all go by.

And the campaign cash winner is:

John Harabedian - $20,347.99. This record setting amount, as large as it is, was not actually all that much larger than the number then candidate Harabedian had turned in at mid-election. With the additional cash raised in the second reporting period coming to a comparatively petite $875. Perhaps the loud criticism over the amount and sources of all that cash he'd already received had hit home with the candidate and he stopped the madness. Or maybe he just figured he had enough and didn't need to raise any more money.

Again, those donating money to the Golden Child were mostly from out of town individuals with distinguished employment pedigrees. An investor from Tennenbaum Capital Partners is listed, as is an account manager from Pardot (a "business to business cloud-based marketing software provider" out of Atlanta, in case you needed to know). Also a Sacramento-based spokesman for the State of California kicked in for a bit of dough. Sacramento-based spokesmen being a leading source of global warming.

$1,381.12 was spent by the Harabedian campaign on door hangers, $500 for an ad in the Looney Views News, and $200 to occupy a Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce campaign booth. Which would be quite different from any other booth.

Money apparently was no problem for the Harabedian campaign. $500 was laid out on Target gift cards for five individuals who apparently worked tirelessly for the cause, a list that includes the wife of the then sitting Mayor. $892 was spent on the accountant who put together his campaign cash report (or California Form 460 if you are wonk correct), and $407 for a victory dinner at downtown's Corfu Restaurant. Which comes to just about $1,800 for what other campaigns would likely have considered to be luxuries.

John Harabedian's total spend per vote came to approximately $15 a pop. Which is another category where he also put up the big number. With 1,327 votes received, he was the #2 vote getter.

The rest of the pack

Colin Braudrick - $12,630. The total cash raised came to a very modest $5,597, or only $75 more than the amount reported mid-election by the Braudrick campaign. Yet the total overall spend came to that $12,630 figure I'm quoting here. Which means that the candidate must have gotten tired of asking people for money and just hit up his personal bank account. Something that makes for very sparse California Form 460 reading.

One additional point of interest is contained here, however. In the "Schedule E Payments Made" section of the report, $250 is shown to have been sent to the Harabedian campaign for splitting the cost of "pre-election household delivery of election material." I am not certain that this is entirely kosher. Seems very slate-like, but without having gone to the legal bother of being a part of a slate.

Colin Braudrick's vote per campaign dollars spent was approximately $10.50 per ballot cast for this candidate. He received 1,199 votes.

Gene Goss - $11,111.73. As the lowest vote-getter in the election outside of Bill Tice, Gene would probably want to reconsider how he ran his campaign should he ever decide to run again. Out of the $11,111.73 spent in the effort to win a seat on the Sierra Madre City Council, $8,450 came out of his own pocket. Which means just $2,662 was sent his way by individuals supporting his campaign. And only $1,000 of that was raised in the second half of the campaign.

One notable contributor to the Goss for City Council campaign effort was resigned City Councilmember Joe Mosca, who kicked in $150. The expatriate Mr. Mosca is rumored to be among those who talked Mr. Goss into making his ill-starred run. Joe's address is listed as his old Key Vista Drive address, a place he wasn't actually living in at the time.

Gene Goss spent $300 for an advertisement in the Looney Views News, something that didn't quite work out for him, either.

Gene spent $10.10 per vote. Out of the six candidates that actually raised money and went to the debates, he came in dead last.

Chris Koerber - $6,960.76. Chris received the most votes of any candidate who ran, yet laid out only a bit more than a third of the cash that second place finisher John Harabedian spent. Proof that sweat equity can still carry more weight in Sierra Madre than door hangers and Target gift cards.

All but one of those donating money to the Koerber campaign in this reporting period are from Sierra Madre. None of those donations were over $100.

Chris spent $4.77 for every vote he received.

MaryAnn MacGillivray - $6,896. MaryAnn, an individual who has worked tirelessly for this community over the years, was the target of one of the most vicious whispering campaigns ever seen here. Something that was apparently done in service to the campaigns that spent the most money. I cannot recall seeing these in-kind "creep factor" donations listed on the 460 Forms of Mr. Braudrick, Goss or Harabedian, however. Though maybe some of it was mixed in there with the Target gift cards.

All of those donating to MaryAnn's campaign during this reporting period were Sierra Madre residents.

MaryAnn's spend per vote number was an even $6 per. She received 1,148 votes.

John Capoccia - $6,602.29. John ran as a candidate who would watch every dime of the taxpayer's money as if it was his own, and when it came to running his campaign, he walked that walk. John spent less money than any of the other candidates excepting Bill Tice, and he won a seat on the Sierra Madre City Council. His principled opposition to the UUT Measures apparently won him a lot of votes. That he knocked on almost every door in Sierra Madre to explain why that was so didn't hurt.

John Capoccia did spend $100 on a Looney Views News ad, yet somehow his rate was considerably less than that paid by the other candidates who advertised there. Once again he showed considerable prowess in getting the most for the least amount of money.

John spent $4.97 for each vote he received.

Bill Tice - $0. He didn't campaign, he didn't attend the debates, and as a result of all this non-activity he got a mere 48 votes. However, in the all important category of votes received per dollar spent, Bill Tice is the clear victor here.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

52 comments:

  1. We can blame Sierra Madre voters for electing Harabedian.
    This Harabedian/Braudrick/Goss slate got an obsene amount of money from outside interests.
    This is what the dirts did during Measure V.

    Why in the hell do the ignorant voters in this town fall for this, election after election?

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  2. I think Harabedian is in a class by himself. He's obviously headed for bigger ponds, and being groomed. A California state official contributed to his campaign in little old Sierra Madre? He's realizing what everyone knows Mosca wanted to do, but didn't have the right equipment to do.

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    1. Mosca's biggest failing is that he is obviously only in it for himself. Politics is a two way street. If you are to be successful in a political organization you need to give as much as you get. Joe Mosca is only a taker. The Dems figured out that if they packaged Joe and got him elected to the Assembly in Sacramento, he'd take all the credit for himself and never give them a moments notice once he didn't need them anymore. They shut Joe out, and once even he figured out there was nothing left for him, he took his little ball and left the country. Hopefully he will never come back.

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  3. Wow. If you volunteer for Harabedian's campaign, you get paid. Even Teri Buchanan. Of course, if you get paid, that's not really volunteering, is it?

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    1. Hell no! What is that? A reverse bribe? I've never heard of such a thing in this town.

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    2. $500 was the greatest amount he could give and not have to get into 1099 tax forms. Harabedian obviously needed to move some cash.

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  4. Ironic that Harabedian, Braudrick & Goss spent the most $$ and also wanted to tax us more through the UUT increase.

    Shows their level of financial expertise?

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    Replies
    1. They just did what they were told. They thought Buchanan knew what he was talking about. Of course, both of them tried to run from the UUT hike once they figured out it was as popular as cancer. But it was too late.

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    2. Shows their willingness to spend money frivolously.

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    3. Even their own money.

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  5. "the good news is money still doesn't necessarily guarantee political victory here"
    That is great news.

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  6. I realize that the relationship between politics and money is irredeemably broken on the national level, and it's turned into a game of chess for billionaires, but still I have hope on the local level. We need some rules here - no more than $1,000 per candidate per election. One mailer each if they must but no more of that embarrassing and irritating excess. None of those ridiculous yard signs. Show up at gatherings for election news, talk to neighbors. And no robo calls, surveys, or focus groups.

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    1. John and I have been volunteers and have made contributions to candidates since 2006.
      I love your idea 8:18!
      This needs to be done now!
      All of the above things you mention we should outlaw are ruining this town! This doesn't just invite corruption, it guarantees it.
      Please support this idea, Tattler readers!
      Chris Koerber and John Capoccia? Please try to get this idea going?

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  7. No yard signs? Do you plan to repeal the First Amendment, too?

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    Replies
    1. Yard signs are holy! How dare you suggest we do not use our yards for advertising.

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    2. How about do it yourself handmade yard signs? Save your candidate some cash and let the world know how you feel.

      I like 8:18's post. Makes a lot sense to me.

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  8. Not being a big fan of tilting at windmills, and that's what limiting First Amendment Free Speech amounts to, how about a voluntary pledge by Sierra Madre politicians to limit campaigns to: "no more than $1,000 per candidate per election. One mailer each if they must but no more of that embarrassing and irritating excess. None of those ridiculous yard signs. Show up at gatherings for election news, talk to neighbors. And no robo calls, surveys, or focus groups." All things being equal I'll vote for the candidate that shows restraint.

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    Replies
    1. Restraint seemed to work last April. With one exception.

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  9. Sorry, 8:18. That would never work. Campaigns don't run on good will from the devoted handful of people in town. In fact, this plan would almost guarantee a loss for good candidates. That "one mailer" costs well over $1,000 to send out.

    9:33 - There were three candidates in the last election who did "show restraint" in their spending and two of them won, but it wasn't with only $1,000.

    When the citizens of Sierra Madre show up en masse to get out the vote for good candidates - I'm talking 100+ volunteers who are willing to actually knock on doors and talk to their neighbors a couple of times in one election, then we might be able to think about less campaign cash. Until then, this is just simply a bad and unrealistic idea.

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  10. Hopefully the taint of big outside money will offend people enough in this town to make voluntary compliance to 8:18's excellent suggestion wise politics as well as being the right thing to do.

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  11. Voluntary spending restraints, such as $1,000, would only allow Harabedian-like campaigns to pick off all the Council seats.

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  12. Do you really think that Colin spent $7,000 of his own money? Maybe that's why he so abruptly left Sierra Madre for parts unknown.

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    Replies
    1. Of course Colin didn't spend $7,000 of his own money.
      He was a plant, a fake from the get go.
      Like Mosca, we should be very happy he has left. Hopefully, to never return.

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  13. The taint of $500 from the Teachers Union didn't hurt Harabedian.

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  14. Hello...10:13 - Again, one campaign mailer costs well over $1000. As we saw in the Koerber and Cappocia campaigns, $6000 is bare bones for a city council race here in Sierra Madre.

    To all of those folks who think 8:18 has a good idea, I would like to offer an alternative - volunteer to walk precincts every weekend, and save some of your money over the next year in order to make a donation to the candidates instead of suggesting that they should give up the election to well funded candidates who don't care about fiscal restraint, and want to push through ill advised development projects.

    We aren't living in Utopia here.

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    1. Are you sure, 11;52 that we're not living in Utopia? After reading the Tattler all these years and wading through hundreds of posts extolling the virtues of a village atmosphere peopled by near saintly senior citizens who work tirelessly for the greater good I could have sworn we're in the zip code for Utopia...

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    2. I thought the ladies with the glitter and the unicorns were the utopians.

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  15. Here's a thought: no mailers.
    What?
    Yes, no mailers.

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    1. I agree. Candidates should have at least 3 forums and they can pass out their campaign literature at these events.
      No mailers and no phone calls.

      Candidates can go door to door and leave a brochure, but no mailers.
      No campaign signs, unless residents make them homemade.

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  16. NO ONE SEEMS TO GET IT!

    ALL OF THESE IDIOTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL!

    1. Brack Obama & Congress CONTINUES TO SPEND MORE MONEY EVER YEAR THAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TAKES IN!

    2. WHY ARE THE RESIDENTS OF SIERRA MADRE ALLOWING OUR CITY COUNCIL TO FOLLOW IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS FOOT STEPS?

    3. CONGRESS & our SIERRA MADRE GOVERNMENT IS BROKEN!

    WHAT ARE THE RESIDENTS GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

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    1. Hey! Mr. All-Caps is back! Been awhile, dude.

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    2. Welcome back, ALL CAPS, post often! Most of us like your message!

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    3. All Caps: What are you going to do?

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    4. in his honor, i will type all in lower case.

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  17. No one would have believed in the early years of the twenty first century that this village was being watched keenly and closely by intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic. The DIC regarded Sierra Madre with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. Apologies to H. G. Wells!

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    1. Not sure about the "intellects vast" part. If that was the case they would have built something by now. I personally think they're bumblers and fools.

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    2. Right! They could read H.G.Wells but they couldn't comprehend or understand the ideas contained therein. But they knew about glitter and unicorns and get rich quick schemes.

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    3. I saw a pedicab being pulled by a unicorn this morning. Is it an invasion?

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  18. The martians were done in by earths bacteria, the dirts were done in by underestimating the villagers. The economy taking a dump didn't hurt either.

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    1. Too bad they couldn't have shown up with plans for building something people actually want to buy. Lemming housing tanked everywhere.

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  19. The comment of the lady at 9:16 is amazingly ignorant.

    We already have a law called Freedom of Speech.

    Let people act they way they do and they make astronomical statements about who they are, with their rhetoric.

    Perfect freak show during the elections.

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  20. GOSS, A SCAPE GOSS OR GOAT.
    BRAUDRICK, GOT SUCKER PUNCHED.
    HARABEDIAN, GOOD FOUR SYLLABLE NAME FOR FUTURE POLITICS.

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    1. If you plan on running for CC on a dirt slate you need to first supply them with a bank statement.

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    2. A home equity statement might help as well.

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  21. The facts are that the candidates and their supporters, especially out of town special interest supporters are spending way too much money for a small town city council election.
    This really stinks. There needs to be reform.

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  22. Thank goodness for Measure V, or else the dirts would have a bunch of condos on the Blvd.

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    Replies
    1. That's the truth.
      Wish we could have a Measure V for the whole town.

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  23. The first sentence in the first post just about sums up the intellect of the average tattler poster....WOW!!!!

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    1. You neglected to capitalize the "M" in Mensa.

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