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Candidate Campaign Finance Disclosures

Original post made by Rae, Mohr Park, on Oct 9, 2010

Last week candidates for Mayor and City Council seats filed their first Cal Form 460 Campaign Finance Disclosure Reports for the upcoming election with the city. Those reports are on file on the City of Pleasanton website for the reporting period 7/1/2010 through 9/30/2010. Web Link

While there were no big surprises for most of the candidates, there was one candidate who had very little to report. Mr. Watson, a candidate for a council seat, reported only $200 in monetary campaign contributions and $1801.72 in campaign loans to himself. That’s it. Mr. Watson, evidently, had absolutely no expenses or non-monetary contributions.


All the other candidates reported the $1142 candidate/ballot filing fee that is paid to the city in order to run for office in Pleasanton and get your name on the ballot. Mr. Watson’s name is on the ballot, so where is his disclosure for the fee paid?

A photo accompanying an article on the Pleasanton Patch shows Mr. Watson at the Farmer’s Market standing by a table covered with campaign literature, and propping up campaign signs. Another photo with a different article on the same site shows a planted Watson yard sign. Mr. Watson reported no expenses spent towards campaign literature or signs, yet we see them displayed. Why is this expense not disclosed? Web Link Web Link

Mr. Watson notes on his campaign website that he is endorsed by the Pleasanton Tea Party, the Tri-Valley Patriots and the Alameda County Republican Party organizations. PTP “founder” Dr. Bridgit Melson is advertising Mr. Watson as the PTP’s “very own” candidate on the home page of her website. And yet, Mr. Watson is reporting neither monetary nor non-monetary contributions from any of these organizations. Why are there no campaign contributions disclosed from these organizations?

Mr. Watson, who admitted in the Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum that he is “not familiar with some of the issues facing Pleasanton”, has decided to run his campaign instead on a platform of “accountability” “responsibility” and “transparency”, the “three principles of integrity that describe my approach to government and public service.” Web Link

It seems that campaign financial disclosure is just another one of those things that aren’t covered under Mr. Watson’s “principles of integrity”!

Comments (5)

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Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Well,"m", when I exercise my right to vote I like to know exactly who I'm voting for and where they stand on the issues they will be involved in resolving -- both before they declare their candidacy as well as after.

With the exception of Mr. Watson, all of the other candidates running for office in Pleasanton have held elected office and/or been involved in City issues for several years; their positions on the issues facing Pleasanton are well known. I'm sure that just about everyone planning to exercise their right to vote in November has made up their mind about which one of those candidates they will vote for.

Mr. Watson, however, is an unknown. As noted above, Mr. Watson, a ten year resident of Pleasanton, says that he is “not familiar with some of the issues facing Pleasanton.” Given that Mr. Watson is not "familiar" with Pleasanton issues and has chosen not to research the issues and declare his positions, I can only base my opinion of his candidacy on three things: 1)his candid commentary about where he lives, Muslims and a certain class of voters on various websites, 2) his bio on the Pleasanton Tea Party website where he is promoted as their “very own” candidate for City Council, and 3) his stated platform on his "fred4pleasanton" candidate website.

I guess it shouldn't be surprising that someone who considers Pleasanton "a moral filth pit", a “Sin city biblically referred to as Sodom and Ghomora [sic]” would also not be "familiar" with our issues.

What did kind of surprise me was the fact that while Mr. Watson chose "accountability, responsibility and transparency" as his “three principles of integrity that describe my approach to government and public service”, in his very first act as a possible Council member, he chose to exhibit *none* of those touted "principles of integrity" when given the opportunity to disclose his campaign finances.

So, "m', assuming you really are from Pleasanton, if Mr. Watson is the kind of politician whose values you identify with, and is someone who you believe represents you, you too have the opportunity to exercise your right to vote in November.

Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 11, 2010 at 9:40 am

It is obvious to most of us that you are disgruntled and have had a personal vendetta against Mr. Watson, even before he ran for Council. The proof of the matter is in your untruths. As a matter of fact, Mr. Watson has run a very low profile campaign, due to the fact he has hardly any funds. He has loaned himself the funds to file and print literature. He has supporters, who walked precincts with the one-sided, 1/2 page flyer he printed up on a copy machine. If you have noticed, his signs are also small due to limited funds. The Tea Party has only endorsed him. You need to go back into the hole you came out of. You need to stop insuating and making statements you have no proof of. Maybe you need to wait for the next filing period to see where the money comes from, because that's when much disclosure shows for all candidates. Also, in many campaigns, candidates sometimes have to file ammended statements, because they and their treasurers have made honest mistakes. It can happen to the best of them; especially because they are only human!

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Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm

"Patriot" said: "1/2 page flyer he printed up on a copy machine" and "his signs are also small due to limited funds" and "they and their treasurers have made honest mistakes"

Mr. Watson’s flyers and signs, as well as his candidate filing fee and the contributions of all of the giveaways pictured, yes, that's right, *pictured* in the Pleasanton Patch photo should have been disclosed. The 33-page Fair Political Practices Commission Form 460 with instructions seems pretty clear to me. Web Link

It's really very simple. *All* expenses are to be disclosed during the filing period in which they are spent.
“Patriot” said: "The proof of the matter is in your untruths." and "You need to stop insuating [sic] and making statements you have no proof of.”

Every one of my statements regarding Mr. Watson and his campaign have been documented with the candidate’s own words, his filed documents, and pictures taken by Pleasanton Patch.
"Patriot" said: “Maybe you need to wait for the next filing period to see where the money comes from, because that's when much disclosure shows for all candidates." and “Also, in many campaigns, candidates sometimes have to file amended [sic] statements, because they and their treasurers have made honest mistakes.”

The next filing date is Oct 21, 2010, well after when many "vote-by-mail" voters will have mailed their ballots. If you looked at the other candidates disclosure form, "Patriot", you will have noticed that they have reported their expenses for campaign fees, litter and giveaways. Perhaps his expenses not being disclosed was a mistake, perhaps it wasn’t. Only Mr. Watson and his treasurer know for sure.
“Patriot”, Mr. Watson states on his campaign website that his entire campaign is based not on issues, but on his “three principles of integrity”. Mr. Watson defines those principles as “accountability", "responsibility" and "transparency”.

Under “accountability” the very first statement Mr. Watson makes is: “All our elected officials are accountable to the citizens of their community.” As a candidate running for an office that will have influence over the town in which I live, Mr. Watson, by his own words, is accountable to me. Web Link

"Patriot", as an obvious supporter of Mr. Watson, perhaps you should help him file his amended Form 460 ASAP. It would certainly be a good faith effort towards Mr. Watson actually standing behind his "principles of integrity".

Like this comment
Posted by Rae
a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Pleasanton Council candidates were required to file their second Campaign Finance Disclosure Report today, October 21, 2010, for their campaign finances from October 1 through October 16.

As noted in the PW article on candidate finances, Mr. Watson was also asked by the City Clerk to file an amended initial report since he failed to disclose any expenditures for the reporting period 7/1/2010 through 9/30/2010. Web Link

Well, the reports are in, and Mr. Watson did file an amended report for the first period, as well as his Disclosure report for the second period. Web Link

It seems that while Mr. Watson found $395 worth of expenditures to report in his amended disclosure, he's now lost the $1433 he noted in his initial report as a loan to himself. In addition, Mr. Watson has still failed to include either his $1142 candidate filing fee or disclose the expenses related to his campaign signs and giveaways -- in any of his disclosure reports.

More "honest mistakes"? Or Mr. Watson's version of how he will bring "accountability", "responsibility" and "transparency" to Pleasanton's Council?

If Mr. Watson is struggling this much over his Campaign Finance Disclosures Report (which comes with a 32-page how-to manual and a help line), it's a little hard to see how he'd be able to manage the large projects that will be coming before the Council in the next few years. Projects that may involve hundreds of pages of documentation requiring Council members to read and understand the project in a way that enables them to understand the fiscal and physical impacts of the project, ask questions for clarification, make appropriate changes, articulate project details to the public, and come to a decision.

Frankly, at this point with three reports having been filed, it doesn't really matter whether the gaps in Mr. Watson's campaign finance reporting are due to continued "honest mistakes" or he has knowingly and willfully decided to not disclose his actual finances. Pleasanton cannot afford Mr. Watson's "approach to government and public service."

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Posted by Sounds Okay to me
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I live across the street from Cheryl Cook and I welcome a low budget candidate that does not money from everyone in town and out of town, including Wendy's restaurant. Maybe it was a rebate for frequent shoppers. Anyway, she takes money from every Union and Political Action group that will give her a dime. AND why - now she is going to owe them all favors. I say vote for the low budget guy! At least he has not sold out.

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