Tim Gray's dark-horse candidacy for the Palo Alto City Council received a major boost from a $30,000 contribution that the financial consultant has injected into his own campaign.
Gray, who has twice run unsuccessfully for a seat on the nine-member council, is hoping that third time will be the charm and he's got the funds to prove it. While he ran his first two campaigns on a shoestring budget, his recent $30,000 contribution has given him the largest campaign chest of the six candidates in the race.
Gray, whose top issue is fiscal responsibility, told the Weekly that he is not accepting contributions for his council campaign. His decision to fund the campaign exclusively with his own money, he said, is intended to reinforce his status as an independent candidate.
According to campaign-finance records filed Friday, Oct. 5, attorney Marc Berman also remains flush with cash. His $23,846 places him second behind Gray, though his funds have come from a diverse network of donors. These include economist Stephen Levy and planning Commissioner Alex Panelli, both of whom served with Berman on the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission, a panel that analyzed the city's infrastructure needs.
Councilman Pat Burt edged former Mayor Liz Kniss for third place in fundraising by the Sept. 30 deadline, with $11,075. Burt's large field of donors includes various neighborhood leaders, including Karen White, Annette Glanckopf and Norm Beamer; established politicians such as Assemblyman Jerry Hill and state Sen. Joe Simitian (each contributed $100); and local developers. Two entities associated with prominent developer Charles "Chop" Keenan had each contributed $500 to Burt's campaign. Mark Gates of the real-estate company Hamilton Management chipped in another $500.
Burt also received $500 from Jim Baer, a prolific consultant who has been involved in most of the city's recent major development applications. These included the recently approved Lytton Gateway development, a four-story structure pegged for Lytton Avenue and Alma Street. Two of the partners involved in the Lytton Gateway project, Lund Smith and Boyd Smith, each gave $500 to Burt's campaign. At the same time, Burt received a $250 contribution from the California League of Conservation voters.
The other incumbent in the race, Greg Schmid, reported $8,059 in contributions as of Sept. 30, though his contributions came from very different sources than Burt's. Some of the city's leading critics of major new developments, including former council members Jack Morton ($150), Emily Renzel ($200) and Enid Pearson ($100) contributed to his campaign. Land-use watchdogs Bob Moss and Fred Balin have also chipped in $100 each. The retired economist also received $100 contributions from former mayors Yoriko Kishimoto and Gary Fazzino and from state politicians Hill and Simitian.
Kniss, meanwhile, ended the reporting period with $10,921 in cash. The termed-out Santa Clara County supervisor has received contributions from numerous local residents and former officials. Kishimoto and Councilwoman Nancy Shepherd each contributed $100. Kniss has also received $500 from the campaign of her fellow Supervisor Ken Yeager.
The sixth candidate in the race, Mark Weiss, isn't raising any funds for his campaign.