With less than two weeks until the Nov. 6 election, the Placer Herald is taking a closer look at the campaign financial disclosures of all eight candidates for three open seats on the Rocklin City Council.
All of the candidates are required to file, with the city of Rocklin, periodic disclosures of campaign contributors and cash coming in and out of their respective campaigns.
The three candidates with the most cash contributions, as of Sept. 30, are Dave Butler’s campaign with $20,106, Greg Janda with $13,271 and Ken Broadway at $12,883.
Janda’s and Broadway’s largest campaign contributor was $1,000 from California Real Estate Political Action Committee. Both candidates indicated they did not discuss the donor’s agenda and do not see themselves as beholden to campaign donors.
“The Real Estate PAC made no requests and I made no promises,” Broadway said. “I will treat them like any other business, individual or group. They will receive no special treatment.”
Janda downplayed the significance of the one donor.
“I am honored to have significant support from throughout Rocklin, including more than 160 contributors coming from all aspects of our community – teachers, business owners, retirees and organizations like the Placer County Association of Realtors,” Janda said. “Whether my contributors are individuals or businesses, all have invested in homes and business operations in Rocklin and are looking for leadership at our City Council that preserves our quality of life and improves our city whenever possible.”
Broadway and Butler both took $250 from Recology, which takes out Rocklin’s trash. After the March public hearing that raised Rocklin garbage fees, Recology General Manager John Rowe told the Herald the company intends to ask the next council for another increase.
Both candidates indicated they will not be beholden to the company for its donation.
“If elected and they do ask for a rate increase, I will look at the facts and make my decision based on what is best for the city and its residents,” Broadway said.
Butler said his principles are not set by contributions.
“If elected, I would come to the council with my own set of principles and priorities, all of which I have shared during the campaign – manage our resources, grow our economic base, prioritize city services and promote responsive, transparent government,” he said.
Contributing $500 to Butler was Brewer Lofgren LLP, a law firm that according to its website provides “counseling on large, complex and controversial” developer projects. Butler got $200 from Rick Larkey, the project manager from the North State Builders Industry Association, a construction industry trade lobbying group. Developer Mark Friedman of Fulcrum Property, Sacramento Real Estate Developer SKK Development and John Hodgson of the Hodgson Company, a Sacramento-based real estate, land use and government lobbying firm, all contributed $100 to Butler’s campaign.
Butler had the most contributions from developers, trade groups and lobbyists from Sacramento, but indicated that was a strength, not a weakness, in this campaign.
“To me, the level of support I have received – in endorsements, volunteers and contributions – is a direct correlation to the track record of success I have accomplished during my professional career and as a volunteer leader with the Rocklin Chamber,” Butler said.
Both Butler and Janda received $500 from the United Auburn Indian Community, which operates Thunder Valley Casino, recently acquired Rocklin’s Whitney Oaks Golf Club and has a stake in the development of Clover Valley.
Rocklin-based Auburn Manor Holdings, a finance, insurance and real estate developer, gave $500 to Butler’s campaign as well as Janda’s. According to the National Institute of Money in State Politics, the Rocklin holding company has contributed a quarter of a million dollars to local races since 2003, including the recall effort for Gov. Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bid for governor.
Butler received $500 from Sacramento Builders Exchange Political Action Committee. Builders Ex-change is made up of 60 businesses and eight building trade groups to campaign for candidates at Sacramento’s City Hall. Reportedly, their goal is to streamline the permitting process for construction projects. Butler has been very vocal at various election forums about streamlining Rocklin’s permit process.
Butler said his strategies for attracting and retaining businesses to Rocklin have more to do with what he’s learned from Rocklinites on the campaign trail than any perceived influence from donors.
“My greatest experience during the campaign has been walking neighborhoods, visiting with individual residents, listening to their concerns and ideas,” he said. “What’s especially exciting for me is that much of what I have heard is consistent with what I hope to accomplish as a member of the council.”
Butler vows to be accessible to every citizen, if elected.
“As a member of the council, I’ll be open, responsive and accessible to everyone, whether or not they contributed to my campaign and whether or not they voted for me.”
Dan DeFoe reported $1,686 in campaign contributions, nearly 84 percent from individuals associated with Rocklin’s historical community. The individual who gave the largest donation, $490, was Gene Johnson, a member of the Rocklin Heritage Committee that threatened legal action against the city over its handling of the Big Gun Quarry.
DeFoe is a former member of the committee, which hosted a forum for the candidates at St. Mary’s Chapel in Rocklin Oct 2. DeFoe has made no secret about his commitment to the historical community.
"The donations received came without expectations, only the hope that the status quo be ended,” DeFoe said. “I do support the preservation of the Big Gun site and would fight hard for that. We have to build upon what we have, not destroy any more of the past. I do not think that means buying any more properties, but dividing the current parcel between public (the sheds and quarry) and private.”
Candidates Jack Lento-Edrich, Wijaya “VJ” Perera and Julie Millard-Stadel did not file a campaign finance disclosure with the city and may not be required to if they did not raise or spend $1,000.
Incumbent George Magnuson’s campaign disclosure indicated $849 in cash contributions, including $250 from outgoing council member Peter Hill.
Candidates use their campaign contributions to buy yard signs, fliers and mailings, and to pay ballot and election fees as well as any other expenses need for community exposure.
“It would be nice to think we could have candidates run without seeking contributions, but that is not realistic in today’s world,” Broadway said.