February 22, 2007

Local money and politics - the Political Action Committee for Excellence (PACE)

Money fuels politics at the local level as much or more as it does at the state and national level. A City Council race can cost next to nothing for those who run unopposed (as Bill Stephens did in the most recent election) or almost $80,000 (the amount spent by Joyce Starosciak to win her seat on the City Council in 2004). The most recent mayoral campaign between Tony Santos and OB Badger saw Badger spend nearly $100,000 while Santos, who won the election, spent nearly $60,000.

In San Leandro, there are no limits on how much a person or organization can contribute to a campaign. In the 2006 mayoral election, OB Badger received two contributions of $5,000 from two individuals. Santos received $6,500 from one contributor. This is one of a series of articles about groups that fund campaigns in San Leandro.

While there are numerous political action committees at the state and national level, there are just a few similar groups at the local level.

One of these groups is the Political Action Committee for Excellence (P.A.C.E.). PACE's first incarnation officially ended in December 1990 (ID #841585). It is known as a recipient committee, which means that it makes financial contributions to political candidates (and their recipient committees) and is regulated by the California Fair Practices Political Commission.

PACE (ID #982793) was restarted in 1998 or 1999 by Faith Frazier, who served on the San Leandro City Council from 1974 to 1982. PACE is unique in that its bylaws mandate that only females may be members and it only contributes to females candidates for local office. The bylaws, however, do permit the group to endorse male candidates. The purpose of the group is to get more women elected and involved in civic activities.

Members of PACE pay dues of $15 per month ($180 per year), which is used for contributions to political candidates.

Recent contributions by PACE include $500 to Joyce Starosciak for her City Council Runoff in January 2005, $1,000 to Esther Holcomb for County Board of Education in May 2006, $750 to Ellen Corbett for State Senate in May 2006, $1,000 to Shelia Young for County Supervisor in May 2006, $750 to Mary Hayashi for State Assembly in May 2006, and $750 to Sandra K. Bean for Superior Court Judge in May 2006. Later contributions of $500 to Isabel Polvorosa for San Lorenzo School Board, $200 to Alexandra Matteuci for Eden Township Healthcare District Director, and another $1,000 to Sandra K. Bean were made in September 2006.

Members of PACE include many local politicians, officials, and well-known local residents:

  • Shelia Young, former San Leandro Mayor
  • Surlene Grant, San Leandro City Councilmember
  • Joyce Starosciak, San Leandro City Councilmember
  • Glenda Nardine, former San Leandro City Councilmember
  • Isobel Dvorsky, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Trustee
  • Virginia Boepple, former and future member of San Leandro Human Services Commission and President of Bonaire Civic League
  • Denise Bownds Kaplan, San Leandro Library Historical Commissioner
  • Faith Frazier, Former City Councilmember
  • Janet Plankenhorn, Former School Board Trustee
  • Esther Collier, San Leandro Planning Commissioner and former San Leandro School Board Trustee
  • Susan Kleebauer, San Leandro Planning Commissioner
  • Pat Raposo, owner of Broadmoor Electric
  • Rose Johnson, Executive Director of the Davis Street Family Resource Center
  • Sheryl Algee, a Division Chief at the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Catharine Ralph, a field work consultant and lecturer at UC Berkeley
  • Jacquelyn Diaz, Asst. to City Manager, City of Pleasanton
  • Katherine Frates, Director of Clinical Services at San Leandro Surgery Center
  • Harriet Engberg, retired
  • Heidi Finberg, former CEO of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce and Recreation and Parks Commissioner
  • Deborah Cox, President of Estudillo Estates Homeowner Assocation, future Human Services Commissioner, and Co-Chair of Citizens for San Leandro Schools

Heidi Finberg and Pat Raposo are also members of The Sentinels, another local group that gives money to local candidates.

As of December 31, 2006, PACE had more than $3,000 on hand after spending $6,610 in 2006.

PACE Financial Disclosure Statement for January 1 to June 30, 2006
PACE Financial Disclosure Statement for July 1 to December 31, 2006

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at February 22, 2007 10:07 PM | TrackBack
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