Each year the costs keep mounting for those seeking election to the mayor's post and the Pleasanton City Council.
Campaign signs, alone, can cost upwards of $5,000, depending on the number of colors.
Those who are seeking re-election have cut that expense by making their signs somewhat timeless from the start so they can be recycled for a second time around. But that means storing them, another expense unless someone has a garage they can make available for the thousands of yard signs with their sprawling metal posts.
Initially, the $25 filing fee charged by City Clerk Karen Diaz seems reasonable. She also collects a $600 deposit toward the cost of a candidate's statement on the sample ballot sent to constituents. Eventually, that cost rises to $1,200, a fee the county registrar of voters charges for printing the statement.
Campaign launches are another expense, and candidates usually like to have some flourish in making their first public bid. Several rented the Alameda County Fairgrounds pavilion this year for early-morning breakfasts, which were their first official fundraisers. Hopefully, enough donations were received to cover those costs, with many more fundraisers to be held during the course of the campaign. The pavilion charges $1,845 and additional per-person costs for the buffet breakfast.
Advertising costs the most, ranging from full newspaper ads and inserts to balloons (at $1.50 each), door hangers and sponsored promotions on Facebook, which can cost $1,000. Other costs might include obtaining a voter registration list for $211 to use in making house calls and another $1,000 or so for miscellaneous expenditures, including event attendance, PayPal, URL and special checking account fees.
Some candidates also mail campaign promotions to constituents, a cost that can range up to $5,000 to reach 13,000 addresses. A traditional expense for Pleasanton City Council candidates, several have pulled back because of the already-heavy deluge of mailers, including those from Costco, school bond supporters and for state candidates and issues.
One candidate for City Council tells me its costs about $1.20 per vote to win. He figures he needs 20,000 votes to win so is spending over $24,000 in this election campaign.
Forms 460, which each candidate must file during the course of an election, can be found on the city's website. They show all of a candidate's donations of $25 or more and campaign expenses.
As of Sept. 24, City Council candidate Herb Ritter has received the most in contributions, totaling $32,651, including $24,375 in cash and $8,276 in non-monetary contributions. His expenses at that date totaled $24,802.
Mayor Jerry Thorne follows with $21,357 in cash and non-monetary contributions for the year up to Sept. 24, and total expenditures of $6,561. Councilwoman Karla Brown has received contributions of $15,292, all but $212 in cash. Her expenditures in that same year-to-date period total $12,021.
Councilman Jerry Pentin is virtually tied with Brown in contributions -- $15,045 and all cash. His expenses as of Sept. 24 were $11,091.
Trailing is mayoral candidate Julie Testa, who had received just $2,425 by the end of the Sept. 24 reporting period, spending $1,619 of that on her campaign.