Campaign contributions provide window on candidates’ supporters


The last campaign finance disclosures before the Nov. 4 election were recently filed, offering a more complete picture of Encinitas candidates’ notable supporters and how much local backing they have.

Five residents are vying for mayor, with four competing for the one open council seat.

Catherine Blakespear led the pack in fundraising among council candidates, reporting $36,659 in contributions and $24,402 in expenditures.

Of her 142 contributors this year, about 70 percent listed Encinitas addresses. Familiar names on her paperwork include former Planning Commissioner Tom McCabe as well as Encinitas councilmembers Teresa Barth and Lisa Shaffer. They each contributed $250 to her campaign.

Also, Blakespear Law Offices gave $5,253 to her campaign last June, her largest contribution.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar took in the most funds among the mayoral candidates. She has raised $27,291 this year, a total that includes a $5,000 loan from Gaspar to her own campaign. Meanwhile, she has spent $25,293.

In 2013, she brought in $8,528 for her campaign. All told, about half of her 140 contributors were from Encinitas.

Some of her notable contributors: San Diego resident Marty Beard, the chief financial officer of Blackberry Corporation ($200); former Mayor Jerome Stocks ($250); and Union Kitchen & Tap was one of three local restaurants/bars that each gave her $250.

A political action committee called Public Safety Advocates, which has been active in elections across San Diego County, has expended $6,697 on mailings to support Gaspar.

Despite the committee’s name, it’s largely funded by development interests. Of the $10,000 in contributions the committee received for the Encinitas election, $2,500 came from the construction management firm Seville Group, $5,000 from building company Cornerstone Companies and $2,500 from San Diego-based diamond dealer CK Diamonds.

Encinitas has a $250 cap on individual campaign contributions. Labor unions, political action committees and corporations aren’t allowed to give directly to candidates, though they can contribute to independent committees like Public Safety Advocates.

Nancy Haley, the committee’s treasurer, did not return a request to comment on why the organization has taken an interest in the Encinitas election.

The committee also paid $3,298 for mailers backing council candidate Alan Lerchbacker.

Lerchbacker loaned himself $25,119, accounting for most of his $29,932 contribution total. He has spent $30,429.

Seven of his 22 contributors have Encinitas addresses. Steven Baldwin, the president and chief executive officer of Heritage Building & Development, put up $250 for his campaign.

Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz, who kicked off his campaign for mayor in August, reported $14,738 in contributions, with $8,963 in expenditures. Sixty-three of his 75 contributions, or 84 percent, were from Encinitas.

Notable contributors who each gave Kranz $250: the Democratic Club of Carlsbad-Oceanside; Encinitas councilmembers Teresa Barth and Lisa Shaffer; and resident Dave Peiser, who’s running against Darrell Issa in the 49th District congressional race.

Mayoral candidate Sheila Cameron, who also announced in August, raised $13,740. That figure includes two loans totaling $8,104 from Cameron to her own campaign. She has spent $12,235.

Encinitas residents accounted for all but three of her 28 contributors.

Familiar names among Cameron’s contributors include former county Supervisor Pam Slater-Price; Bruce Ehlers, the spokesperson for the land-use initiative Proposition A; and former Councilman Dennis Holz. They each gave her $250.

Holz also gave Kranz $250, but he clarified in an email that he switched his support to Cameron once she entered the race.

Mayoral candidates Munawer “Mike” Bawany and Alex Fidel haven’t raised more than $1,000, and thus weren’t required to list contributors.

Julie Graboi, running for council, took in $11,818, with $4,100 in loans to herself. Her expenditures totaled $10,527.

Forty of her 44 contributors live in Encinitas, and she shared the same notable contributors as Cameron.

Bryan Ziegler, another council candidate, reported $2,990 in contributions and $2,891 in expenditures as of Sept. 30. His latest contribution paperwork wasn’t filed by the Oct. 23 deadline, according to Claudia Bingham, the city’s deputy clerk.

Bingham said in an email that she sent him a letter asking for the campaign disclosures. If not turned in, he faces a fine of $10 per day and the case would be handed over to the Fair Political Practices Commission.

His September paperwork shows most of his contributions flowed from outside the area.