With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, Palo Alto City Council member Greg Tanaka continues to enjoy a commanding lead in cash raised over his nine opponents in the council race, even as five other candidates saw a significant uptick of contributions over the past month.
The latest campaign finance statements, which were due Thursday, showed that Tanaka raised $88,139 for his reelection campaign, more than any other candidate, with much of that money coming in the form of large contributions from developers and realtors. Tanaka also received smaller donations from local residents, business professionals and people in the tech industry, the documents show, including $2,500 from Urs Hoelzle, an engineer at Google.
Most of Tanaka's contributions came in earlier in the election season, with developers such as Chop Keenan, John McNellis and Brad Ehikian each giving him $5,000, while Roxy Rapp contributed another $10,000. His fundraising has slowed down in the past month, with Tanaka raising $4,878 between Sept. 20 and Oct. 17.
City Council member Lydia Kou, who is also seeking reelection, raised $16,744 during the same period, raising her total campaign contributions to $67,272.95. Her largest contributions came from G. Leonard Baker, a partner at Sutter Hill Ventures, who donated $5,000.
Kou, the council's staunchest proponent of slow-growth policies, also received $1,500 from resident Jeanne Fleming, an outspoken opponent of recent wireless facility applications; $700 from Suzanne Keehn, a resident affiliated with the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning; and $900 from investor Paula Rantz.
The campaign documents also show a very tight race between five other candidates — former Mayor Pat Burt, Planning and Transportation Commissioner Ed Lauing, Planning and Transportation Chair Carolyn "Cari" Templeton, attorney Steven Lee and engineer Raven Malone. All of them have raised more than $40,000 for their campaigns by late October, documents show.
Lauing, an executive recruiter and former CEO, reported $49,730 in contributions, which includes $15,959 in contributions in the latest reporting period and $3,000 after the period concluded on Oct. 17.
Lauing's largest contributors include Baker, who gave $5,000 and Mary Anne Baker, who gave $5,900 (including $3,000 on Oct. 22, after the last reporting period ended). Residents Gabrielle Layton and Thomas Layton contributed $2,500 each.
Burt reported contributions totaling $48,076, including $15,501 in the most recent reporting period. His latest contributions include $5,000 from Baker; $1,250 from downtown resident Neilson Buchanan; $900 from Rantz; $500 from Roger Smith, a retired bank CEO and community activist; and $500 from Franklin Johnson, an asset manager. Burt also received $100 from the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley.
Templeton, a retired Google employee, reported $47,525 in contributions, which includes a loan of $10,000 that she made to her campaign. Her list of contributors includes numerous elected officials, including Council member Liz Kniss, who gave $1,000, and school board members Melissa Baten Caswell and Shounak Dharap, who gave $150 and $100, respectively.
She also received $500 from Benjamin Cintz, an attorney, and another $500 from his brother, Simon Cintz, a property manager. Hoelzle gave $1,000 to Templeton, as did Colin Hwang, a medical informaticist at Blue Shield of California.
Templeton did not receive any contributions greater than $1,000.
Lee, a former Human Relations Commission member, also relied entirely on smaller contributions. Donors to Lee's campaign, which did not accept donations greater than $1,000, include former Mayor Sid Espinosa, who gave $200; Kathleen Hughes, founder of Ada's Café, who gave $350; Olenka Villarreal, co-founder of Magical Bridge, who gave $250; and Josh Becker, candidate for state Senate whose campaign gave Lee $300.
Lee stopped stopped raising money in late September after hitting his self-imposed limit of $45,000. His finance documents show $44,994 in contributions, with $1,394 raised in the latest period.
Malone also showed a strong surge of fundraising, raising $16,849 in the last reporting period, taking her total contributions to $43,380. Her contributors include Russell Webb, a Google engineer who gave $2,000; Hoelzle, who gave $1,000; and personal trainer Eva Scott, who also gave $1,000. Laura Bajuk, executive director of the Palo Alto History Museum, contributed $650 to Malone, who also received $500 from Democratic Activists for Women Now.
Gunn High teacher Greer Stone reported $34,786 in contributions, including $8,922 that his campaign raised in the latest period. His major contributors include residents Gab Layton, who gave $2,550; Thomas Layton, who gave $2,500; and Fleming, who gave $1,000.
Stone, a former Human Relations Commission member, also received $400 from teacher Terry Holzemer, $900 from Rantz and $900 from Michael Rantz.
Attorney Rebecca Eisenberg reported $17,567 in total contributions, including $2,085 in the last reporting period. Her supporters include residents Mudita Jain, who gave $500; Mark Weiss, who contributed $510 and Meredith Marton, who gave $300.
Ajit Varma, director of product management at Whatsapp, is not seeking contributions for his campaign and did not file a disclosure form.