Where's the money?
PUSD board candidates get by with a little help from themselves
By Jake Armstrong 02/24/2011
Candidates raising campaign cash for the March 8 Pasadena school board election must be pondering the same question facing the deficit-wracked panel they’re trying to join: Where’d all the money go?
As of Jan. 22, the campaigns of six candidates vying for three board seats reported a combined total of $20,000 cash on hand — nearly all of it from loans to themselves — and had raised just $2,754 in cash contributions.
That’s a far cry from four years ago, when the same seats were up for election and some of the same faces were in the running prior to the recession and the $23 million budget shortfall facing the school district. In 2007, five candidates reported a total of $29,232 in their campaign coffers while taking in more than $21,000 in contributions — nearly eight times what the current candidates reported raising between Jan. 1 and Jan. 22, the most recent filing period.
Moreover, the contributions in 2007 came from more than two dozen donors, a marked turnaround from the current campaigns that have seen 85 percent of the money come from the candidates themselves and only a handful of donations from supporters.
About half the money in play so far has come from one source: Seat 4 candidate Kimberly Kenne, who put $12,000 of her own money toward her campaign and reported one donation of just $99. She had $11,375 left as of Jan. 22, overshadowing the fundraising of her opponent, Gene Stevenson, who reported just $150 in donations and nearly $5,000 from a loan and non-monetary contribution from himself.
The race for Seat 6, pitting Board member Tom Selinske against challengers Gaylaird Christopher and Sean Baggett, is the only contest buoyed by outside money. Ernest Khiralla, president of Altadena-based consultants Marketing Plus, gave Selinske’s campaign $2,500, and Baggett reported a $2,225 contribution from the Los Angeles-based Quevado Group LLC. Both of those donations are enough to cover the city of Pasadena’s $2,200 candidate filing fee. Christopher’s campaign is running on a $1,000 self loan, of which $983 remained.