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Petaluma council candidates draw varied donors

By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

First-time Petaluma City Council candidate Alicia Kae Herries raised the most in campaign contributions through Sept. 30 and reported the most cash on hand heading into the final weeks before Election Day.

Campaign finance reports released Tuesday show Herries and another first-timer, Kathy Miller, are attracting election contributions equal to or greater than seasoned candidates.

Alicia Kae Herries.

Six candidates are running for three Petaluma City Council seats on the Nov. 6 ballot. Miller, Herries and Jason Davies, who ran in 2010, are challenging incumbents Mike Healy, Tiffany Renee and Gabe Kearney.

Herries, an executive assistant and appointed planning commissioner, was first to announce her candidacy and began fundraising earlier. She has taken in $13,500 total, including $9,700 from July 1 through Sept. 30.

Miller, an attorney and former planning commissioner, reported raising $8,700 since July.

Healy, who is seeking a fourth term on the council, reported spending the most, $12,800, compared with Kearney’s $3,250, the thriftiest of all so far.

Healy reported the least left in the tank, $320, compared with Herries’ $5,600, the most of any candidate as of Oct. 1.

Running as a team, Miller and Healy share the same Santa Rosa political consultant, Herb Williams, and have several contributors in common, including the maximum $200 from several Petaluma business owners and building interests.

Davies and Herries, while not running together, also have received contributions from several of the same groups and individuals, including the Progressive Democrats of Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee.

Davies, Herries and Renee received the central committee’s endorsement, while its chair, Stephen Gale, contributed to Kearney’s campaign.

In her total of $7,550, Renee reported $200 contributions from the Democratic Committee along with the maximum from the Amalgamated Transit Union of San Rafael and the Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.

Kearney received contributions from Bill Friedman of Friedman’s Home Improvement, which is returning to Petaluma after approval from the current council. Other notable contributors include principals in Petaluma development company Basin Street Properties, the Ghilotti construction family and Merlone Geier, which developed the Friedman’s-based shopping center.

Kearney also received $200 from Councilman Mike Harris, who also endorsed Healy and Miller.

Mayor David Glass contributed an equal amount to Davies’ campaign. He has also endorsed Herries.

Notable Renee contributors include Santa Rosa Councilwoman Susan Gorin, and Healdsburg activist Warren Watkins, both of whom also gave to Herries and Davies.

Davies received the maximum contributions from Pam Torliatt and the company she works for, Councilwoman Teresa Barrett and her husband, John Cota, progressive Democrats Bill Phillips, Stan Gold and Norman Solomon, and from Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma.

Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, contributed to Renee and Davies’ campaigns.

Herries received support from 10 of her coworkers at BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, including five who gave the maximum, and former Rohnert Park Councilman Tim Smith.

Top contributors to both Miller and Healy include: Matt, Patricia and Bill White of Basin Street Properties; its attorney Paul Andronico; Tom Birdsall of Basin Street and the Petaluma Sheraton and his wife, Rebecca; her parents, philanthropists Don and Maureen Green; Richard and Nancy Ghilotti; and Merlone Geier and its public relations firm, River City Communications.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com.





4 Responses to “Petaluma council candidates draw varied donors”

  1. David Keller says:

    Where are the Petaluma council candidates’ Form 460? They are located on the City Clerk’s webpage:
    http://cityofpetaluma.net/cclerk/materials.html

    I posted this earlier, but apparently the PD failed to let it go through.

    You can see for yourself just where the huge amounts of coordinated development money is going, and where it’s coming from. The wealthy, who have yet more development proposals coming soon, are trying to make sure they maintain control of the Council, through Healy and Miller.

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  2. Snarky says:

    Matt L.

    Care to provide some examples of those 460 “forms.” ?

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  3. Matt L. says:

    Business as usual for the local press, leaving out the details. Anyone can check the FPPC site and take look at the 460 forms.
    It’s really shocking to see the influence the development industry has on local elections and hence local policy making. These special interests bring their candidates along and the result is hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure costs and city services left in the wake of their big projects. Basin streets is a good example; the owner bought a villa in France a few years back and left his son in charge to extort more money out of the city.

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  4. Wilson says:

    I much prefer the teaser of “First-time Petaluma council candidates tops in fundraising”. Congratulations Ms. Herries.

    The overall picture of campaign donors for candidates for Petaluma city council is NOT varied on bit. On one side you have Healy, Miller, and Kearney with donations from out of town developers, building interests and construction companies.
    And then there’s Basin Street. Their singular influence in the city council over the years has cost the City of Petaluma over $10 million in the past decade. Of course they’re going to want to preserve their status quo and they’ll do that with supporting healy, miller and kearney.

    On the other side of campaign donations, you have Davies, Herries and Renee with donations from local groups and their friends along with the incredible Lagunitas Brewing Company. Now what would indicate more votes for a candidate – one $200 donation from an out of town developer or ten $20 donations from local residents?

    The data that I want to see is how many individual donations from Petaluma residents did each candidate receive. Regardless of the amount, EACH one of those donations represents at least one vote come Election Day and is probably more. The reason that you would never see that information in the PD is that Alicia Kae Herries and Jason Davies would probably top that list.

    Still this article has a lot of excellent candidate information for those who pay attention.

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