Follow the Money

Follow the Money


The second round of pre-election campaign disclosure filings was recently released and it shows several Alameda candidates have obtained significantly more monetary contributions than other candidates during the election cycle. 

The first round of pre-election filings span from July 1 to Sept. 24, while the second round was from Sept. 25 to Oct. 22. The deadline for the second round filings to be turned into the Alameda city clerk’s office was last Thursday, Oct. 27. 

According to the filings, union political action committees contributed $61,485.69 to a total of five candidates. No one benefited more from these outside sources than City Council-hopeful Malia Vella who received $31,985.67 from unions. Those contributions include $1,000 from the Teamsters Local Union Political Action Committee (PAC) on Aug. 29 and $500 from the Unite Here TIP State & Local Fund, which supports low-wage workers in several industries including hotels, airports, food service and more according to its website. She also received 1,000 from the Construction & General Laborers Local Union on July 4 and $500 dollars from the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5 PAC on Sept. 20.  

Vella’s $31,985.67 from union contributions account for more than 66 percent of the total contribution dollars she received at $48,355.67. 

The only other City Council candidate to receive union PAC contributions is incumbent Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft. Ashcraft received a modest, at least compared to Vella, $4,860.02 from unions. She received $1,500 from the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC on Oct. 11, $857 from the Alameda Police Officers Association PAC also on Oct. 11. Ashcraft collected $31,038 in contributions during the two cycles. Her union contributions accounts for more than 15 percent of her total contributions. Ashcraft is bidding to keep her seat on the council away from Lena Tam and Jennifer Roloff, and Vella. Roloff, Tam and Daysog have not taken any contributions from union PACs. 

Unions have also heavily financed candidates running for the school board. Gray Harris is an incumbent who was appoint to the board last year after the death of Niel Tam. Harris has received $14,840 from unions during the two rounds. He received $1,500 from United Firefighters of Los Angeles on Oct. 10, $1,500 from the Operating Engineers Local 3 Pac on Oct. 10 and other sources. Matt Hettich received $7,000 from unions, including 1,000 from the Transport Workers Union Political Contributions Committee on Sept. 21 and $500 from the UFCW also on Sept. 21. Jennifer Williams took $2,000 from unions including $250 from Alameda Labor Council Unity PAC on Sept. 20. School board hopefuls Anne McKereghan, Ardella Dailey and Dennis Popalardo have not received money from unions.

In addition to these monetary contributions, the PACs run by the Alameda firefighters’ union (IAFF Local 689) and UFCW Local 5 have spent $11,639.21 and $3,240.93, respectively, to print and distribute mailers supporting Vella, Ashcraft, Harris, and Mr. Hettich. Those mailers include one sent by Alamedans United, which is an organization that is run by IAFF 689 that disparaged Daysog (“Attack Mailers Target Sitting Council Member,” Oct. 18). 

The IAFF Local 689 PAC also reported a “non-monetary contribution” of $285.67 to Vella that was used to pay for food and drinks at her kickoff fundraiser. Another “non-monetary contribution” of $1,199.11 to Vella was used to cover her share of the cost of printing and distributing the mailer promoting the IAFF Local 689 slate.

To view campaign disclosure filings, visit ttp:// The election is next Tuesday, Nov. 8.