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School Board Challenger Leads Fundraising Race

By Jorge Casuso

October 17 – Challenger Chris Bley has raised more than the three other School Board candidates combined, but his opponents can count on the backing of Santa Monican’s powerful tenants group, according to an analysis of the latest campaign finance disclosure statements.

Bley had raised $19,591 by October 1, far more than the combined $12,771 raised by incumbents Jose Escarce and Maria Leon Vazquez and challenger Ben Allen, according to the statements filed with the City Clerk last week.

But Bley’s three opponents can count on some of the $90,592 raised by Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights (SMRR), as well as the support of the three College Board incumbents, who face little competition in the race for three College Board seats.

Bley, who raised $15,891 between July 1 and September 30, had spent $13,205 by October 1; of that $5,338 was used to hire a political strategist. The challenger, who is targeting Malibu voters, had $9,464 left in his coffers, including $3,078 in unpaid bills.

Nine contributors, including family members, accounted for more than half of the money Bley had raised, including two contributions of $2,750 each.

Unlike the $250 limit imposed on individuals who contribute to City Council candidates, there are no limits to how much an individual can contribute to a candidate for School Board.

According to the latest filings, Vazquez followed Bley, having raised $5,016 by October 1, including an $898 loan. She had spent $1,675, leaving $3,341 in her campaign warchest.

Allen had raised $4,700, including a $700 loan, and had spent $1,893, leaving his campaign with $2,807 in hand.

Escarce had raised $3,055, including a $700 loan. He had spent $1,618, leaving him with $1,437.

In the race for College Board, the three incumbents -- who are all backed by SMRR -- had raised a combined total of nearly $20,000, most of it in the form of loans. The only challenger, Heidi Hoeck, has not reported any contributions and failed to show up for the CityTV debate.

Of the incumbents, Margaret Quiñones-Perez had raised $13,475 by October 1, including an $11,050 loan. She had spent $3,960, leaving her with $9,614.

Rob Rader, the board’s chair, had raised $3,743 and had $3,613 left in his coffers.While Susan Aminoff had raised $2,500, all of it in the form of a loan. She had spent $1,175, leaving her campaign with $1,325.

While the three incumbents can count on SMRR’s support, the amount raised by the 30-year-old tenants group has been dwindling over that past four years – from $113,000 for the same period in 2004, to $103,107 in 2006, to $90,592 this year.

SMRR had spent $70,671 by October 1, leaving the group with $73,008, thanks to fundraising efforts dating back to last year, according campaign statements.

SMRR organizer Michael Tarbet has been paid $7,350, while $3,678 was paid for canvassers who went door to door between July 1 and September 30.

Ted Winterer for Santa Monica City Council

Dr. Margaret


Vote # 158


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