Palo Alto's firefighters union has loaned $35,000 to its campaign in support of Measure R, a ballot measure that would freeze staffing levels in the Fire Department and require the city to hold an election before it could reduce staffing or close a fire station.
The union, which received enough signatures to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot, has spent $31,323 so far to support the measure, new campaign finance records show. This includes more than $8,000 for campaign literature and more than $5,400 for campaign signs.
While the firefighters' campaign is being run entirely with union funds, opponents of Measure R are continuing to solicit funds from local elected officials and community activists. The campaign "Safe Palo Alto," which is fighting Measure R, received $3,216 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 16, most of it in donations ranging from $50 to $200. Donors include Councilwoman Karen Holman, school board member Dana Tom and Human Relations Commissioner Ray Bacchetti.
Leaders of "Safe Palo Alto," including former Palo Alto mayors Dena Mossar and Bern Beecham, have argued throughout the campaign that Measure R would make the city less safe because it would protect firefighters at the expense of other public-safety employees, including police officers. At least one Palo Alto police officer appears to agree. Police Lt. Scott Wong contributed $50 to the campaign against Measure R.
Opponents of Measure R have received $61,609 in contributions to date, the new campaign documents show. The campaign has spent $43,476 to date, including $13,883 on a political consultant, the San Francisco-based firm Terris, Barnes and Walters.