Election Day is just around the corner and soon Pleasanton will have at least one new council member on the City Council, maybe even two if the lone eligible incumbent is voted out.
But running for these elected positions takes more than just putting your name down and showing up to a few candidate forums. Candidates require money to buy signs, pay for applications and fund advertising, among other reasons.
Knowing who contributed campaigns can give voters insight on candidates' priorities and where they stand on issues. While no council candidate has accepted any big donations from anyone noteworthy yet reported in this election cycle, it can still be valuable to point out that a few political committees have been involved in contributing to certain candidates.
Fair Political Practices Commission 460 filings show that the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, which represents the California Association of Realtors, contributed $1,000 each to Dean Wallace, a newcomer running in Pleasanton City Council District 1, and Joel Liu, a challenger in District 3.
"The (California Association of Realtors) administers several political action committees to support candidates who agree with association goals or to engage ballot initiatives," according to Ballotpedia. "CREPAC (California Real Estate Political Action Committee) is a bipartisan PAC that supports state candidates who support association policies."
Wallace, who has raked in a total of $11,087 in contributions as of the most recent public data, also received a $1,000 donation from the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 104 Political Committee, Livermore; $1,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595 PAC, Sacramento; and another $1,000 from the Buffy Wicks for Assembly 2022 campaign (Wallace currently works for Wicks' office as a district director).
Liu, who has raised $15,244.99 in total this year, mainly got his money from individual donations apart from the $1,000 he received from the real estate PAC.
The largest donation from an individual Liu received, which was $999, was from Ta-lin Hsu, founder and chairman of H&Q Asia Pacific, an Asian private equity firm which was a branch of the investment bank Hambrecht & Quist.
District 3 challenger Jamie Yee, who is running against Liu and incumbent Councilmember Julie Testa, had brought in $9,296.
The two union PACs -- Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 104 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595 -- that contributed to Wallace also contributed $1,000 each to Yee.
Yee also received a $2,500 contribution from Raindrop Investments LLC in Livermore.
Yee's and Liu's competition, Testa, only received $1,350, according to her 460 filing on Sept 29, and four of the five contributions did not exceed $500.
Another person in a similar situation is District 1 candidate and Wallace's opponent, Jeff Nibert. He received $1,840 in donations from individuals and mainly showed in his filings that more than anything, he borrowed money from himself to pay for marketing and advertising tools.
Mayor Karla Brown, who is running unopposed, also received separate $1,000 donations from organizations like the Livermore-Pleasanton Firefighters, Pleasanton Physical Therapy Services and Diagnostic Biosystems to add to her total of $15,196.84.
However, a little over $13,000 of those donations were transferred to this year's filings from Brown's last election campaign in 2020.
PUSD candidates and Measure I
Two of three candidates for the Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees have also been spending the later half of this year, campaigning for two open spots on the board. However, Area 2 candidate Urvi Shah had not filed any campaign finance forms.
Shah's opponent for Area 2, Laurie Walker, has received $5,301 in contributions as of Sept. 30 but her 460 filing showed no expenditures made.
While most of her smaller contributors range from $100 to $500, Walker's the biggest contribution of $1,000 comes from Carina Cortez, a resident of Pleasanton and the Chief People Officer at Glassdoor, an American website where current and former employees anonymously review companies.
Justin Brown, the only candidate for the Area 5 seat, didn't have much campaigning to do given the fact that he ran unopposed and is already set to be appointed. Nevertheless, he did receive $3,950 in contributions and had few expenditures, similar to Walker.
Apart from the school board candidates, residents will also be voting on a $395 million school bond, Measure I, which will help fund ongoing school infrastructure construction and rebuilds of facilities that are in need of repair.
While the bond measure has been somewhat contentious in garnering support on both the for and against arguments, the only campaign listed in the FPPC website was the Yes on I committee.
There are several names on the committee's FPPC 460 filing and 497 contribution reports that were expected, such as multiple parent-teacher associations from various schools; those contributions don't exceed $2,000.
Instead, several architect and construction firms are listed as the top contributors for the controversial school bond, which added up to $85,154 in contributions.
The highest contribution came from Van Pelt Construction Services, a business management consultant in Fairfield, which donated $15,000 to the campaign.
The other four top contributors that contributed $10,000 each were: Sugimura Finney Architects, a general architect firm in Campbell; Arntz Builders, a general contractor firm in Petaluma; LPA Design Studios, a design firm based in Irvine; and Robert A. Bothman Construction, a Concrete contractor in Santa Clara.