Council candidates vary in campaign spending

By: Patty McAlpin, Reporter
-A +A

The top spender thus far in the race for three seats on the Lincoln City Council is incumbent Councilman Paul Joiner. But that could change Oct. 25, the date for candidates to file their next campaign statement.

Candidates filed statement Oct. 5 for the period ending Sept. 30.

Joiner is one of nine candidates running for three seats on the Lincoln City Council. The other candidates are incumbent Mayor Spencer Short, Christine Colvin, Dan Cross, Allen Cuenca, Peter Gilbert, David Kawas, Scott Glaser and Candi Schipper. Voters will decide Nov. 6 who will fill those seats.

Joiner spent $9,723.49 on signs, a candidate statement for the Placer County Clerk in English and Spanish and walking list of voters, campaign literature, website design, and advertisements in the Lincoln News Messenger, Cops and California voter guides and the Budget and the Budget Watchdogs Newsletter.

“Communicating who you are and what you stand for as a candidate is what will increase your chances of winning,” Joiner said. “There are many methods available to a candidate for doing this; some require funding and some do not. The most effective method is simply getting out and talking with people.”

Joiner has taken in $4,799 in monetary contributions and taken out a loan in the amount of $4,940.

The next highest spending candidate so far is Dan Cross, who spent $7,244 on signs, a logo design, literature and print advertisement. He has raised $15,419 in monetary contributions.

Cross said campaign spending “may or may not affect the outcome of the election but more spending should allow a candidate to get more information into the hands of more people.”

Gilbert spent $4,397.45 on the campaign thus far. He has accepted $3,846.49 in contributions and taken out a loan for $2,000. His expenses include campaign and website literature, a booth for a concert, flyers and signs.

“It is important to get your name and your position on pressing issues in front of the voting public,” Gilbert said of campaign spending. “It does take a considerable amount of money. But one should not accept large sums of money, particularly if one takes donations from sources that may influence any decision making while in office.”

Cuenca spent $3,106 on button materials and a button maker, flyers, signs, campaign printing and his website, advertising in Sun City News, and photography. He raised $2,943 and took out a loan for $600.

“My limited resources have gone toward ‘boots on the ground’ campaigning by canvassing neighborhoods in person and handing out flyers,” Cuenca said.

Kawas spent $2,923 on website, campaign literature, signs, fundraising events, and photography and office expenses. He raised $2,260 in contributions and took out a loan for $1,364.

Kawas did not respond to a request for comment e-mailed Monday.

Short has spent $1,500.45 so far on signs, a ballot statement for the Placer County Clerk, photography for literature and advertising in The Lincoln News Messenger. He has raised $11,398 in contributions and taken out a loan for $10,000.

“It takes a significant number of contacts to get the message out to people and that equates to costs for literature, mailings and other methods of contact,” Short said about campaign spending. “Money can help but it is really the message that sways voters. People have thrown huge sums at City Council races in the past only to lose by large margins (2004 and 2008). If there is a lack of message, then no amount of money spent will help.”

The least amount raised or spent as of Sept. 30 is from Candi Schipper, Scott Glaser and Christine Colvin. Schipper and Glaser have not yet qualified because neither has spent nor raised $1,000, the legal threshold. Colvin has thus far opted not to open a campaign committee with the Secretary of State.

“Just like advertising a business, spending money on a campaign helps candidates’ names become familiar to the public,” Colvin said about campaign spending. “I can’t say the person who spends the most is guaranteed to win since there have been others who put in very little who won. But I will say it does increase your chances of winning.”

Schipper said the amount spent on an election on large signs, fliers and mailers gives candidates more exposure.

“It is hard to get your name out there in front of the voter with minimal funds but we do what we can,” Schipper said.

For comparison purposes, Stan Nader was elected to City Council in 2010. Nader spent almost $20,000 on his 2010 campaign, according to previous News Messenger reports, and almost $53,904 on his election bid in 2008, according to Nader’s campaign records. He was the top vote getter in the 2010 election, according to past News Messenger reports.


Contributors to the candidates

Notable contributors to Cross’s campaign include Region Builders, $2,500; Coastline Water Resources, $5,000, Marques Pipeline, Inc., $5,000; John Mourier Construction, Inc, $1,000 and Lewis Investment Company, $250.

Region Builders, Inc. is a 501(c) (6) trade association comprised of companies in the Sacramento building industry as well as 13 local trade and professional associations.

Marques Pipeline is a general engineering contractor from Sacramento. 

Lewis Development is the developer for Village 7 between Lincoln Crossing and the Waste Water Treatment Plant. 

Region Builders PAC contributed $2,500 to Short’s campaign. Other contributors include CRE PAC (California Real Estate Political Action Committee) and Auburn Manor Holding Corp., $2,000.

The state real estate committee contributed $500 to Cuenca’s campaign.

United Auburn Indian Community, the owner of Thunder Valley Casino, donated $500 each to the campaigns of Short and Joiner.

Richland Management donated $3,000 each to the campaigns of Joiner and Short.

Richland is the developer for Villages 4, 5, and 6 located west of old Highway 65 and Lincoln Airport.

Atlas Disposal Industries, a residential, commercial and construction waste hauler, donated $150 each to Short and Joiner’s campaigns.

Gilbert received donations ranging from $100 to $300 from 20 individuals.

Short and Joiner each received a $100 donation from former Mayor Primo Santini.

Councilman Nader contributed $1,000 each to the campaigns of Allen Cuenca and David Kawas.

Nader paid $483.37 to place two ads in the Lincoln News Messenger supporting candidates Cuenca, Kawas and Gilbert.

Nader said he “is spending money” to support Cuenca and Kawas because “they don’t have a lot of money or access to developers and businesses in the region that traditionally support incumbents.”

Nader said he has asked those he is supporting to use the money he gave them to purchase signs.

“The signs will give the candidates the opportunity to be more visible,” Nader said. “I want voters to know they are on the ballot. I had to make a choice and this is the best way to challenge the incumbents.”

Nader said he not supporting the incumbents because he “is frustrated with the response of the incumbents” to his ideas.  

“In the last two years, I have brought forth a variety of solutions to challenges the city faces,” Nader said. “At times, some ideas are accepted and others are rebuffed. The only way I was able to advance some things is citizens volunteered to do the work at no cost.”

Examples of volunteer work include the city website, Spring Brook software and financial reporting.

“I am looking for folks I can work with,” Nader said. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to keep the city solvent.”

Short said the council comes to an agreement on issues most of the time.

“Reasonable people can often disagree,” Short said. “However, one look at the council meeting minutes for the last two years indicates that 95 percent of the time the council agrees on the right course of action. We disagree 5 percent of the time and that’s the part Mr. Nader wants to take control of.”

Short said there are reasons he disagrees with some of Nader’s ideas.

“We have been very fiscally austere because the programs Mr. Nader has advocated would cost the city money the city doesn’t have,” Short said. “Mr. Nader has refused to work with the council by explaining his ideas in detail. Mr. Nader’s view of the world is that it is either his way or no way.”

Short said it’s interesting that Nader would bring up the issue of solvency.

“Mr. Nader advanced the concept of bankruptcy at a council meeting that took place in June 2011. In fact, he advocated the city spending itself into bankruptcy,” Short said.

Joiner said he would not ordinarily speak to the actions of another council member but “unfortunately, Mr. Nader has chosen to actively and overtly inject himself into this election, effectively making himself a 10th candidate. He is the largest single donor to both of the campaigns he mentioned and has personally taken out at least two ads in the Lincoln News Messenger supporting these candidates as the ones he can work with.”

Joiner said a council member has no power or authority as an individual.

“The power is invested in the council as a body,” Joiner said. “Mr. Nader himself said, ‘At times, some ideas are accepted and others are rebuffed.’ That is the nature of being on a governing board. Mr. Nader has a difficult time adjusting to that reality.”

Joiner said Nader has a right to support whomever he wishes.

“I take note of the fact that Councilman Nader did not state that he felt his candidates were the best individuals for the job but instead gave as his reason for supporting them he’s looking for folks he can work with,” Joiner said. “Perhaps it would be more productive for Mr. Nader to become someone others can work with.”