Sunday, October 26, 2008

Money, And Lots Of It...

CAMPAIGN FINANCES TO CONSIDER
Within the past few days the Daily Pilot has provided us with some very interesting issues to consider as we head for the home stretch in this years municipal elections.

THE TROIKA DOMINATES FUND RAISING
HERE, they provided us with the most recent campaign contribution information on the Costa Mesa candidates. The "CM Press Troika" - Jim Righeimer, Gary Monahan and Eric Bever - have collected more than $140,000 between them - more than $100,000 g
reater than the next candidate, Katrina Foley, who has raised just over $30,000. Riggy is the BIG DOG on this list, with just under $60,000 raised so far.

DOLLARS VISIBLE ALL OVER TOWN
I'm not surprised at these numbers. Bever spent $50,000 in his campaign four years ago. Campaign signs, many of which violate our municipal ordinances on the placement of such signs and their size, for the "Troika", are plastered all over town and our mailboxes are filled with slate mailers for those three.

MONAHAN'S DILEMMA
Even more interesting is the article, HERE, that presents
an interesting dilemma for Gary Monahan. This one tells us that local businessman, Surat Singh, has provided a $7,000 contribution to Monahan's campaign according to sworn statements on Monahan's Form 460 - the campaign finance disclosure forms. Opponent Bill Sneen thought that contribution was curious - it was apparently from an entity identified as the Chino Hills Country Club, which showed a Newport Blvd. address. So, he nosed around a little and spoke with Singh, who told him that he had paid Monahan $7,000 for consulting that he and fellow-former mayor Peter Buffa did to help him acquire land in Chino Hills where he plans to build a country club. He told Sneen the money was not a campaign contribution because he couldn't deduct it as a business expense as such.

DAILY PILOT CONFIRMS STORY
The Daily Pilot got wind of this issue and reporter Alan Blank interviewed Singh, who confirmed the facts as presented above. However, Monahan says that money was, indeed, a campaign contribution on which he is not obligated to pay income tax.

WHO'S LYING?

Somebody's not telling the truth here. I cannot think of a single reason Surat Singh would lie about this issue. He is a highly respected member of the Costa
Mesa business community who Monahan recognized with the "Mayor's Award" in 2004 for his philanthropy. That leaves Monahan, who has filled out these forms many, many times over his previous 12 year tenure on the City Council. It's unlikely that the inclusion on the Form 460 was a simple mistake - which Monahan is not claiming, by the way.

TRUST IS IMPORTANT
I mention this because trust is very important when considering the votes you will make on November 4th. I've already said I'm not voting for Monahan, and listed the many reasons for that decision. This new information only affirms my decision... trust is important.

***

FINAL FORUM ON TUESDAY

A reminder, Tuesday, October 28th, is the date of the final Costa Mesa City Council Candidate Forum. This event will be held at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 2850 Fairview. It begins promptly at 6:30 pm and is scheduled to conclude at 8:00 pm. The candidates have been provided the questions in advance, so one can hope for a polished performance by each of them.

WHO WILL SHOW UP?
I find myself wondering if they all will show up. Eric Bever, for example, stiffed the good folks at Halecrest and Mesa Del Mar last week when he failed to show up for their forum. I wonder if he will take a pass on this one, too. I also wonder if Monahan will duck this event to avoid questions on his financial situation?

See you there...

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6 Comments:

Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

It is obvious to me what the issue with the $7,000.00 is! Gary doesn't want to report it as income and pay taxes on it so he dumped it in his campaign account and called it a contribution.

Guess what? That is tax fraud!
Anyone interested in the IRS tip line?

The Department of Justice encourages anyone who has information about suspected tax fraud to report it to the IRS tip line at 1-800-829-0433.

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=122541,00.html

You know, a restaurant and bar probably does a pretty decent cash business. Is this just how Gary reports income? Or not report it as the case may be?

10/26/2008 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous rob dickson said...

What happens when you factor in the cost of the pro-Foley mailers sent by "Costa Mesa" police and fire unions based in Huntigton Beach? How does the tally add up then? When Foley's fundraising was ahead of Bever's, where was the indignation and scrutiny?

I'm all for supporting your candidate - and this is your blog, but this would all be playing out differently if Foley's fundraising had outstripped the "Troika's."

Its frustrating as heck to see blog comments alluding to a "bought" election or undue influence when EVERYONE takes campaign donations. In fact, the most offensive mailer I have seen to date is the misleading fire/police PAC mailer for Foley. It shows "firefighters" loading someone into an ambulance, and "police" in uniform, etc. and states that Foley is the ONLY one endorsed by police and fire, when in fact she was the only one who sought that endorsement! Everyone loves cops and firefighters, and I'm sure it is an effective mailer. Pretty savvy campaigning and a pretty heavy financial boon to Foley from an outside source.

So, if the "Troika" donors have nefarious motives, what are the union motives? Developers want fair treatment and consideration from the Council, and municipal employee unions can only be seeking better pay and benefits. Sorry, but I don't see any problem with either - and neither should you. After all, that is what lobbying is all about.

10/27/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob, actually, the numbers for the Troika do not account for the slate mailers produced by the OC GOP and others... To speculate how things would be "playing out" if the fund raising was different is futile - what is, is.

Your last paragraph implies that in order for developers to receive "fair treatment and consideration" they have to buy it via campaign contribution. That's OK with you, huh? Well, it's not with me. The endorsement of Katrina Foley by the public safety organizations tells me, as a voter, that those groups feel she understands their jobs better than other candidates. It would be stupid to assume they think they are "buying influence" when Foley will almost certainly be in the minority on the council again this time if she's re-elected. Both groups make those being considered for their endorsement jump through hoops with their questionnaires - tough, based on every input I've received from those who filled them out, including some who have run previously.

I assume from your comments here that you're OK with the fiasco with Monahan's "contribution/consulting fee" with Surat Singh. That would be a shame, but it's your choice. It comes down to trust....

I'm always glad to have you participate here, as you well know, and give you plenty of latitude to express your opinion - even when you disagree with me. What I don't intend to do is let YOU decide what I feel is a problem and therefore worthy of comment and criticism.

10/27/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Rob,

As someone who has spent a lot of time on both sides of this issue, I can tell you with more confidence than you can imagine that the reason people give LARGE donations to campaigns if for one of two reasons. 1) Access, 2) a Thank You.

That is it.

Ideology, and altruistic motives biol down to bumpkis when a ten thousand dollar check is being written.

Even candidates I do and have support(ed) have the same problem.

BTW, Your post admonishing me in the pilot for not including Foley was inaccurate, go back and look. I said Big Bucks Politicians. I never mentioned Bever et al anywhere in my post.

I know you can read between the lines and that is fine, but my post stands. Big money in a little town is caustic.

That being said, there is no solution. the Supreme Court has ruled that independent committee expenditures are a first amendment issue and they will not suppress that kind of behaviour.

That being the case, we all have to live with it.

I hate it, but nothing I can do other than hope to open the eyes of the voters as to why.

I am starting today; look at www.civilthinking.com

10/27/2008 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

BTW The $7K issue Gary has is a REALLY big problem. I don't understand why the community has been silent on this.

If it stands, it is blatant tax fraud. Talk about frustrating!

How is a Law and Order, ICE in the jails, kind of guy getting a pass on this?

10/27/2008 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger CMTRUTH said...

ALL candidates involved in CITY elections should only be allowed to accept donations from city residents and city business owners. After all why should some guy in say riverside care who is on the CM city council or any city council they do not reside in for that matter.
[To clarify: (ALL) that means every single candidate]

10/27/2008 09:47:00 PM  

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