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Klausner remains top board-race fundraiser

Original post made on Oct 29, 2007

Barbara Klausner continues to outpace the field of Palo Alto school board candidates in fundraising, with a total of $28,971 in contributions, according to finance statements filed on Thursday. But the last month saw major gains in fundraising for other candidates as well.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 29, 2007, 6:26 PM

Comments (31)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Had it with Townsend
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 29, 2007 at 9:50 pm

"Despite earlier avowals to lead a campaign of fiscal modesty, incumbent Camille Townsend came in a close second with $12,775 in the last month, bringing her campaign total up to $20,404."

**Another** reversal, Camille?

Well folks, what's new? THIS is why people on so many other threads want Townsend gone. She simply cannot be trusted to do what she says she's going to do at election time.


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Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of Nixon School
on Oct 29, 2007 at 9:58 pm

If you check your first filings, the Townsend campaign came in at under $8K while the Klausner campaign had over $20K. One can encourage low campaign spending by others, but if they don't follow, it becomes necessary to respond. Hardly a reversal, although it is unfortunate that a School Board race should have a cumulative spending of $150K among the candidates.


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Posted by RWE
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2007 at 11:43 pm

"One can encourage low campaign spending by others, but if they don't follow, it becomes necessary to respond. Hardly a reversal"

What!? Pure spin! Is Townsend principled in her statements, or not? She can't say that she's going to keep spending low, and then say " the other people made me do it (i.e. "spend more". Please!

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I say that's pragmatic politics, btw - but let's not let Camille and her supporters keep claiming that her inconsistant statements and reversals are anything but conscious decisions, coming from a candidate that has shown what I consider to be a degree of cynicism toward her constituents that many are not happy about, especially those who have been at the receiving end of those decisions.


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Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of Nixon School
on Oct 30, 2007 at 7:59 am

RWE and "Had it..."

Come on folks - your pure bias (if not your real name) is showing clearly here. NO criticism for anyone else but one candidate, one that intentionally did not use early fund raising to amass a "war chest." Reasonable criticism is one thing - projecting negative aspects to all actions is simply propaganda.

The first filing is critical. When a challenger comes in at more than twice the next candidate, and 3X times the incumbent, all candidates respond. The only real use of this money is mass mailings (most campaigns has done multiple), mass literature drops, local newspaper advertising. This is all perfectly legal and fine, but unfortunately works against candidates unable to afford this.

Some context for the discussion. Each mass mailing costs something like $5,000, mostly in postage, in a district this size. Sizable ads in local papers costly about that much to run per week. That is where the money goes. The ads running on the front page of the PA Daily are $1500 per day. A candidate whose first filing is $23K is saying to the world there will be at least 3 mass mailings, multiple ads, lots of advertising.


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Posted by what did the poll say?
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2007 at 8:04 am

Interesting that Melissa paid for polling services.

Any opportunity to share the results of that polling, Melissa or someone on Melissa's campaign?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2007 at 8:19 am

Just think how $150k could have been spent helping our schools and students.

What a waste of money.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2007 at 8:21 am

I also meant to say.

I think that rather than a competition for who can raise most money and who spends most money, there should be a cap of say $10,000 per candidate spent in total.

That way, the one with the most money available does not get the most coverage.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Be Serious
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 30, 2007 at 8:38 am

Pure bias is right. Townsend was outspent by all candidates except Hausser and Liu.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PA Dad
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2007 at 8:56 am

Parent -- I think $150K is a small price to pay to get the right candidates. The wrong board will cost the district much more in terms of time wasted, opportunities missed and contributions forgone from the public than would a truly competent and, dare I say, inspiring BOE, firing on all cylinders. A BOE that shows leadership and inspires us to rally behind its decisions? Coupled with a new sup with good ideas, who cares about broadening our idea of what it means to achieve, who talks about fostering excellence in its many forms beyond high SAT scores and brand-name colleges -- that could really take us somewhere, don't you think?

That 150K is also a measure of how much people care about education in this town. I say let people care and passionately side with whomever they think will do the best for the district. I don't see any one individual or group 'buying' this election. Indeed, you could say that the money being put out here is a counter-blast at groups who, prior to this election, seemed to think that you *can* buy your way up the district's priority list.


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Posted by yeah, be serious
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2007 at 9:07 am

"Pure bias is right. Townsend was outspent by all candidates except Hausser and Liu."

Except that none of the other candidates ran on a platform of "vowals to lead a campaign of fiscal modesty". Only one candidate has egg on her face from this article (again).


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Posted by Indeed, be serious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2007 at 9:22 am

$20,404 is the new fiscal modesty. So what's your beef?


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Posted by yeah, be serious
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2007 at 9:24 am

"$20,404 is the new fiscal modesty. So what's your beef?"

Ahh, that's where I went wrong! Silly me.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Arden Pennell
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Oct 30, 2007 at 9:28 am

Arden Pennell is a registered user.

Hi,

For reference, here is the first article we published about initial campaign spending reports, filed in September:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2007 at 11:21 am

Although the cumulative amount is still too much money to spend on a local race, the money would indeed be better given to the schools, and this level of spending does raise a barrier to many otherwise good candidates running, when the incumbent is still fourth on the list of total funds that IS showing restraint.

Perhaps spending caps would be a good idea, and is a worthwhile discussion for the community to have on both City Council and School Board races. Implementation would presumably have to be voluntary given recent Court decisions. Also note that the School District voting population is substantially larger (+Stanford, some Los Altos Hills, some Portola Valley) than the City Council voting population.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by the palo alto premium
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 30, 2007 at 1:09 pm

"I grew up in the state of Wisconsin, and Senator Bill Proxmire was really our model of political restraint and fiscal restraint. And he won re-election spending less than $500," Townsend said.

I guess you have to factor in inflation.


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Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2007 at 7:17 pm

A little catty on the comment there, "palo alto premium."

This comment was made at the time of the discussion of the first filing, when the Townsend campaign had raised about $8000. Clearly no promise was made to stay less than $500, as that was already far exceeded. The point seems to be whether the incumbent is trying to hold down campaign expenses or drive them up.

That first filing had a total less than all but one candidate (most around $12K, the Klausner campaign greater than $23K). With this filing, the Townsend campaign total is still below all but two candidates (i.e. fourth out of six).

So, what is the complaint? And who is leading the upward spiral in campaign costs anyway?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparky
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2007 at 7:25 pm

Wow, the inside baseball here is fascinating. They can raise and spend what they want, lead or follow as they like. For the most part, they will all do whatever they can (within reason) to win; that's the nature of politics.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by the palo alto premium
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 31, 2007 at 9:43 am

Interested Observer says:

"When the incumbent is still fourth on the list of total funds that IS showing restraint."

Camille Townsend says:

"I grew up in the state of Wisconsin, where [the incumbent] won re-election spending less than $500"


Need I say more?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 31, 2007 at 10:39 am

Yes, you're not being clear. Do you see a contradiction?



 +   Like this comment
Posted by the palo alto premium
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 31, 2007 at 11:49 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2007 at 12:32 pm

The really crux of the issue here is not how much she spent, or how much she claimed she would spend. To me the KEY point is Townsends propensity to SPIN (even beyond the point of common sense, and logic).

When she was shown to be lagging in campaign funding, she put forth a not very logical, not very applicable comparison to some person in some midwest town, at some time in the past, who ran on $500. She attempted to cover her poor performance with a non-comparable, implying that she was taking a moral stand on campaign financing, when she in fact was not. Not a well though out statement if she wasn't intending to run a lean campaign.

Then she got her butt out there, did the politically expedient thing, and raised the heck out of funds. Now her supporters backtrack to 'of COURSE she raised equivalent funds to her competitors, what did you expect her to do' and semantically speaking, she NEVER claimed she would do otherwise.

The problem remains (and this is a perfect example of what we've seen throughout her tenure on the board) a slippery thought process, and her own brand of random association that really doesn't address the core issues. She doesn't make sense!

She ~could~ have just as easily said, my campaign funding process is in the early stage. I expect to be at a comparable funding level through the course of the campaign. My experience says that funding is more needed, more critical, toward the end of the campaign, so I feel the campaign is on track for this stage.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Her loyal MI core follower support her even at her lowest points but I caution that they next may be at her mercy. Even they would be much better off with a board that operates on a platform of transparency, open communication, critical thinking, understandable well communicated priorities. Its the 'random' thinker you can't pin down to ~anything~ that should concern everyone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RWE
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 31, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Parent, you've nailed it - i.e. Townsend's ability to spin away from promises.

The problem in municipal races is that most residents just don't pay attention. So we have lawn signs, and smily-faced ads online and in the paper, for name recognition.

I'm voting for Hausser, Klausner, and Baten-Powell, but Ezran is still a wild card. He has inserted himself all over the place, in the media - in a way that's similar to what Townsend is doing. We could see a split on the Ezran/Townsend vote, and get our three members.

btw, I just talked with someone whose neighborhood had signs torn up. Two from Ezran and one from Townsend (there may have been others).

No matter who we're voting for, that tactic is beneath this community.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2007 at 1:36 pm

RWE,

I am going to put away my signs (Hausser/Klausner, and Baten Caswell)this evening so the trick or treaters will not destroy them.

Actually, all political signs should be taken down this evening in fairness to all the candidates.

Thanks RWE :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2007 at 2:05 pm

Parent & RWE;

"Spin away from promises." Another comment thrown out there without any substantiation. What promise is being spun away from? Camille has been completely consistent in your commitment to high quality education standards, support of teachers, work on behalf of the community and the school district.

She is still fourth out of sixth of the cumulative funds spent in the campaign - despite being the incumbent. Beat up on the top spenders why don't you?? Read the article again - even assuming the quote is full and complete - and tell me what promise hasn't been followed.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2007 at 2:27 pm

I'm wondering what US Senator William Proxmire has to do with Camille Townsend.

The SPIN is:

Campaign trail part one - She doesn't need to raise much money because a great campaign can be run without much money.. (reference irrelevent compare)
Campaign trail part two - Raise money to the level comparable to the competition - of course she would, why wouldn't she?

Just like poo-pooing community input on strategic priorities, surveys, cards and letters, petitions, administrators letters to the board, etc - but when the campaign trail comes - claim that 'building barns' is what we need to be doing (I guess that means working together, cooperating as a community? She's not modeling these behaviors in actual reality - why would she claim them on her campaign trail? Because they sound good? Thats called spin.)

By the way, RWE said spin 'away from promises'. I just said Spin. (Yes there is more than one person opposed to Townsend.) As I said in the beginning of the post, the issue is not how much she spent or how much she said she would spend. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Another Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Parent,

You're just making up two positions--neither of which Townsend espoused--and then comparing them.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Several issues confront voters in this election, and it would be refreshing if you addressed some of these [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Try it! Come up with some actual issues that matter to you and discuss the candidates in those terms.






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Posted by Interested Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Parent;

I think the right interpretation is:

Campaign trail one: Don't escalate costs of campaign (be fifth of six in spending).

Campaign trail two: Don't escalate costs of campaign. (be fourth of six in spending).

Perhaps you are "rurally challenged" - you seem to have a thing against barn building metaphors....




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Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 1, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Melissa Baten Caswell did not pay for polling services. The costs referred to in a previous post were associated with purchasing voter lists. Candidates will buy lists of who the registered voters are in town so when we do literature drops by precinct, we are only delivering pamphlets at the homes of registered voters.

Pat Markevitch
Co-Chair, Committee to Elect Melissa Baten Caswell for School Board


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2007 at 9:21 am

I'm not making up positions - I'm looking at the voting record. Sorry if her actual history of support for choice schools over neighborhood sc schools is hard to defend.

In fact capacity, site facilitiy usage, overcrowding, and strategic planning are key issues. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2007 at 10:00 am

Luckily we don't have to rely on what she's 'espousing' we can see her actions and votes over the past year and judge for ourselves what she supports. In fact I hope everyone will take a good look at her history of actions, comments, projects, and results on the board, to judge for themselves.

The building barn metaphor would be more valuable if she had actually modeled behaviors of coming together with the community in cooperation, when she had a chance. She was dismissive and anything but cooperative with the vast majority of voters on the MI issue, similarly with the Callan issue (two of the dominating issues over the past year and half). She clung to her special interest group point of view, and shunned the rest. How was that a model of "building barns"? Well it wasn't, and her use of coloquial metaphors boils down to empty spin.

I urge everyone to take a look at her record to see if they approve of what she's done to support the neighborhood school concept.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 3, 2007 at 2:43 pm

I have to say I find Townsend's latest flip-flop kind of amusing.

She was all for limiting the size of her campaign--until it became clear that she didn't have the usual incumbent advantage. Real believers in controlled campaign spending stick to their guns even when facing competition--i.e. Russ Feingold.

That her campaign spending is relatively low says less to me about her principles and more about her lack of success in raising big bucks. Interested Observer is trying to make a virtue out of a necessity.

At this point, I'd say the surest bet is Klausner--she has support on both sides; she has money; she has all the endorsements. Baten Caswell seems from my casual perch to have the edge over Ezran, Townsend and Hauuser, who will duke it out for the third spot. Pingyu Liu is out.

Baten Caswell seems to have the vote of north PA--and that crew votes.

Townsend has the incumbent thing going--she's basically counting on the vote of the pro-MI crowd and the no-kids-in-school unaware crowd.

Ezran has name recognition from having run before--plus, he's spending a lot of his own money, so I see his name a lot. He's got the MI vote and some cross-over.

Hausser has some strong support in south PA and midtown. He seems to have less money than some, but a lot of people willing to walk the walk for him. I run into active Hausser volunteers whereas I don't for the other candidates.


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