Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

$70,000 for a Council Seat?

The News-Oppress -- as mentioned in posts herein -- reported that Council Member Falcone' committee received $10,000 (including $2,000 from developer Bill Levy) in just the last few days, bringing the grand total to $70,000 for a council race. For a council race! I don't remember this happening before -- and what does FactsWrong do? Harp on SEIU contributions to other candidates and fail to mention this insane amount of money for a less than living wage job (if you were to count all of the hours council members put in). There's something wrong about spending twice as much on a campaign for a job that pays so little and isn't even the Mayor's seat...

Meanwhile, Terry Tyler says he paid $18 to Labor Ready for people to hold up signs on street corners -- this is prudent fiscal management? Wow -- I want that job. Good to see he supports a living least he's supporting a few homeless people with his grass roots campaign.


Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

The final outcome will be that Falcone will spend about $8 per vote, just to come in third place.

This is almost the same obscenity as the price per vote for a State Assembly election.


Yes, other candidates also are taking contributions and will have such conflicts of interest, but not at the obscene scale like this money buying Falcone.

As council member Brian Barnwell said last week from the dais:

"The donations this year seem like they're influencing things out of proportion to what they should. And that component of influence-peddling and pandering just seems wrong to me now.

"I also feel like I'm being pushed around, and I don't like being pushed around...

"Something is happening to this council. I don't know what it is, but I want, for me, Brian Barnwell, to stand up and say I want to do the city's business here. I want to do it as straight-forward as I can.

"I don't want this to turn into some kind of pit of snakes -- all of whom are looking for our own whatever it is we want to achieve. I resent that I am now here because someone else has picked the tune and I have to dance to it..."

11/08/2005 11:36 AM  
Blogger Being_in_Santa Barbara said...

I think Das raised close to $70,000 for the last council race, but could very well be wrong. Anyone know?

Is anyone interested in City campaign finance reform? I am thinking about researching the last Council races (I don't know how far back one can find the figures) - and posting it in a blog format, somewhat like the signs blog I started (

And then seeing if there's a problem: If, in fact, it now costs $70K to win a seat, assuming Ms. Falcone wins, I think there is a problem. It will be also important, the months ahead, to track the donations against the votes.

I think this is something that some of the Council members might be interested in - at the last meeting Council member Helene Schneider indicated interest in campaign finance reform.

After all, a main idea behind increasing council members' salaries was to broaden the candidate pool; if it costs so much to run, the pool gets very shallow very rapidly.

There's a lot of questions about campaign finance reform and how to level the playing field, but not run into 1st Amendment problems and not open the Council only to those self-financing with a lot of money.

Anyone interested, contact me at - I'll keep that address for awhile.

11/08/2005 11:52 AM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

I recall that Das raised about $53K for his election two years ago, and everyone was flabergasted then.

A blog about finance reform would be fantastic. Need to track who the donors are, and their various friends and spouses that serve the same intent.

The goal should be that every time an issue comes before city Council, an easy reference needs to exist about who contributed.

The problem now is not that a council member needs a salary, but rather that running a competitive campaign needs so much money without losing credibility as a candidate and eventual elected council member.

11/08/2005 12:01 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

about Labor Ready

This company gets paid by Tyler or anyone $18 per hour per worker, but the actual workers get paid by Labor Ready only about $8 per hour or minimum wage.

Blogabarbara can get some corporate sponsors instead.

Tyler could have picked up some "undocumented workers" from the street and paid them cash at $5 per hour to wave his signs on the street corners. That would be consistent with his labor policies articulated in the public discourse.

11/08/2005 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Das spent just over $70,000 which was a record for a city council race. However he needed to spend that much because he had higher hurdles to scale then most candidates. He was under 30, a living wage activist, had a weird name and next to no support from local elected officials. It takes about $50,000 to win a seat unless you are good at getting media attention or get the help of popular people through mailings, ads in the newspaper, etc.

11/08/2005 2:26 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Not so sure about the Das spending figure, but consider that Iya has raised and will spend more than $70,000 because she had higher hurdles to scale because she is:

over age 50 (as if over 50 versus nearly 30 years in age really matters),
a living wage opponent,
has a weird name,
and has lost huge support from local elected officials who once supported her.

It takes $70,000 to win a seat with such handicaps and loss of popularity without compensating with media attention or help of popular people and Mayor through mailings, ads, etc.

11/08/2005 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was reported by Josh Molina after the election that he spent about $71k

11/08/2005 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After visiting polling places in various mesa, san roque, downtown, eastside and hidden valley precincts I am thinking we are headed for about 52%. As high as 54% or as low as 49%. Some precincts have as much as 25% turnout as of 1pm without factoring absentees that were mailed or walked in. And these are larger precincts in the mesa and san roque areas.

11/08/2005 3:22 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

Looks like from these postings that both ends of the sociopolitical spectrum (Das vs. Iya) have raised too much money for a simple City council campaign at more than $70 thousand.

Some kind of finance reform, even if just a voluntary effort with enormous pressure to comply to a spending limit, should become a big issue before the next election.

Am curious about how the prior Anonymous posting can estimate what the voter turnout will be... apparently by interviewing the workers in the polling precincts to speculate from their estimate of early afternoon turnout to be further extrapolated to the final turnout rate. Anyway, nice to see this prediction in mid afternoon, to compare with the final turnout number known in a few days.

11/08/2005 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on radio newspress they keep repeating the story in the paper about the campaign contributions...

11/08/2005 6:12 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks Valerio for the info -- your right, a trip to the wall would have been more appropriate.

11/08/2005 7:00 PM  
Anonymous das said...

Two years ago, I showed about $52-$54 at about this time of the race. Therefore if Iya is showing $70, she will outpace my previous fundraising record ($71) by a substantial margin.

In the next elections, I'd much rather have less money if everyone had less money. Problem is that most efforts to reform campaign finance tend to not do what they are supposed to do (reduce special interest power). Independent expenditures usually mean the "special interests" end up even more vital to electing people, and therefore have even more influence over them.

11/08/2005 10:56 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Das -- thanks for standing up and contributing a post as yourself. I think you will find that you have some votes with Marty and Helene to work on campaign finance reform if you wish. We'll support you here at Blogabarbara.

11/08/2005 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Das. What was your total not at this time as you carefully stated in your post, but on the January 31, 2004 report?

Hey Das II. How much did Padro raise verses how much he spent?

How much has Lois Capps raised compared to her salary?

11/09/2005 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Davies? Is that you??? How much did you spend on phone calls and mailings calling John Buttny a convicted felon, draft dodger?

11/09/2005 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of you arguing about money should look at recent and historic statewide races and see that it is not the most money but the best candidate with the best campaign that wins. Ask Huffington how easy it is to buy a US Senate seat. Or ask Forrester in NJ how money can buy the governors office.

11/09/2005 10:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home