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FOLLOW THE MONEY

WHERE DO CANDIDATES GET THEIR MONEY?

It can be very expensive to fund a campaign for Mayor or City Council.  It is important to know who is donating to those campaigns and what sort of influence they may yield over candidates.

Most candidates receive funds from friends, neighbors, and business associates. Some candidates have received donations from political action committees (“PACs”) and union or employee association PACs.  There are also independent expenditures (“IE”) made by PACs, union and employee association PACs.  Last election year a Super PAC made an IE on behalf of a candidate, a first for Costa Mesa elections to our knowledge.

Technically, a Super PAC is called an independent expenditure-only committee.  Super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates.


IEs are expressions of the support or opposition of candidates. IEs are not to be coordinated with a candidate’s committee or their agents.  IEs are separate contributions and are not subject to contribution limits.

 

It seems like each election we see mailers sent to voters on behalf of candidates (but in opposition to their opponents) by Super PACs.  This type of mailer is what many call a “hit piece,” or a very negative opposition mailer.  While this is legal, it often doesn't change the mind of an informed voter because the claims are usually vague and not true.  That is why we urge you to be an informed voter!

Since the candidates are required to file forms with the City disclosing donations over $2,000, we can gather information from those forms to shed some sunlight on the campaigns.  All forms can be found on the City's website. The following is a comparison of candidate donations:

 

MEASURE K
While Measure K was put on the ballot by the City, a political action committee was formed to support it.  The disclosures filed with the City by "Costa Mesa for Everyone, Yes on Measure K" show that it is primarily funded by two developers:  Legacy/Collier Holdings, LLC, located in Fremont, California, and Rose Equities, the Beverly Hills developer who is the proponent of the One Metro West project located North of the 405 freeway.  These two developers gave the PAC nearly $75,000.00, which shows us their desire to take away the citizens' right to vote under Measure Y. 

In addition, Business Buyer's Inc., a company currently located in Irvine, but it moving its offices to the old Trinity Broadcasting Site on Bear Street and the 405 freeway. The owner, Man
nuchehr Khoshbin has several YouTube videos of himself driving very expensive sports cars to the new office site. You may have seen him roaring around town. Mr. Khoshbin requested that the City Council place the TBS property on the map for Measure K, and Councilmember Loren Gameros made certain that happened.  Mr. Khoshbin gave the PAC $5,000.  The remaining donations are from the PACs founders.

The total collected by "Costa Mesa for Everyone, Yes on Measure K" exceeds $102,000.00, which is much more collected by its grassroots opposition. 

While the PAC files reports, they aren't always timely in doing so.  For this reason, we question the PAC's transparency.

 
Measure K pie chart.jpg
MAYOR
John Stephens
As of June 30, 2022, Mr. Stephens had $100,534.41 in his coffers and has collected more donations since that time.  Most of his donations come from lawyer friends, but close behind are unions, followed by people who live outside of Costa Mesa, andd those who work in real estate, construction and developers, including the California Apartment Association PAC.  He has the lowest percentage of residents as donors.  John Stephens files disclosure statements at a regular frequency and is transparent. 
Stephens pie chart.jpg
John M. W. Moorlach
Mr. Moorlach is largely supported by developers and those in the real estate industry, including Steve Mensinger and John Saunders.  Following that are people who have businesses in other areas and nonresidents.  He files disclosure statements at a regular frequency and is transparent.
Moorlach pie chart.jpg
CITY COUNCIL
District 3
Andrea Marr
As of June 30, 2022, Ms. Marr had $13,831.43 in her account and has collected more donations since that time.  Most of her donations come from unions, associations and political action committees.  That is followed by residents, other businesses and friends who live outside Costa Mesa.  However, we see that people in the real estate business are donating to her.  Andrea Marr files disclosure statements at a regular frequency and is transparent.  
Marr pie chart.jpg
John Thomas Patton
Mr. Patton is supported by independent expenditures by two PACs, followed by the president of a real estate company and about five residents. He files disclosure statements regularly and is transparent.  
Patton pie chart.jpg
Jorge Miron
Mr. Miron has only filed one disclosure statement.  It shows us that he is self-funding his campaign so far.
District 4
Manuel Chavez
Mr. Chavez is running upopposed, but as of June 30, 2022 he had $18,631.12 in his account and has collected more donations since that time.  He has been filing disclosure statements regularly and is transparent.  Nearly half of his donors are unions and political action committees, followed by out-of-area people and local businesses.  Less than one-quarter of his donations come from local residents.
Chavez pie chart.jpg
District 5
Arlis Reynolds
As of June 30, 2022, Ms. Reynolds had $10,232.97 in her coffers and has collected more donations since that time.  Arlis Reynold's donors are mostly from unions and PACs, followed by Costa Mesa residents.  She files disclosure statements regularly and is transparent. 
Reynolds pie chart.jpg
Robert Dickson
Mr. Dickson's statements disclose that Costa Mesa residents and real estate developers, including Jim Righeimer, contributed money to his campaign.  He was also the recipient of an independent expenditure by the Lincoln Club PAC.  
Dickson pie chart.jpg
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