Scharff beefs up campaign chest for final stretch

Incumbent leads crowded field in Palo Alto council race

Heading into the final stretch before Election Day, incumbent City Councilman Greg Schaff has nearly doubled his campaign chest, thanks in part to a few large checks and a $25,000 loan to his own campaign.

Scharff's most recent campaign filing shows that he has received $41,551 in contributions in October alone, a figure that is higher than the total campaign chest of almost every other candidate in the crowded field for Palo Alto City Council. The strong fundraising in October has given him a total of $84,121 in contributions received this year, far more than the other 11 candidates.

Though many of his contributions come from local residents, professionals and city officials, Scharff has also received four-figure checks from Florida residents Eric Schifferli ($3,000) and Jill Schifferli ($2,500), as well as a $5,000 contribution from Cassandra Hallberg, who lives in New Jersey. Councilman Marc Berman has also contributed $200 to Scharff's campaign.

Other candidates have also been busily accumulating funds for the final stretch. A.C. Johnston, an attorney who is making his first run for council, has received $19,500 in contributions in October for a total of $47,760 this year. Technologist Josh Becker and Palo Alto Historic Resources Board member David Bower have each given him $250, as has developer William Reller. Local environmentalist Walt Hays and Realtor Michael Dreyfus contributed $100 each to Johnston's campaign.

Meanwhile, Lydia Kou, one of four candidates endorsed by the grassroots group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, reported $3,965 in contributions this month, bringing her year's total to $41,477. The biggest contributor to her campaign in October has been Cupertino City Councilman Barry Chang ($500).

Most of the other candidates who had formed committees (Mark Weiss, Wayne Douglass, John Fredrich and Seelam Reddy are all running low-budget and self-funded campaigns) reported campaign chests in the $20,000 to $25,000 range.

Tom DuBois reported $5,544 in October contributions, bringing his total to $22,830. Eric Filseth, who like DuBois and Kou is affiliated with Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, received $5,300 this month and $25,568 so far this year.

Both DuBois and Filseth had received $750 contributions this month from Thomas Layton and Tench Coxe, partner at Sutter Hill Ventures. Each has also received $500 from Utilities Advisory Commission member Asher Waldfogel and $100 from former Councilwoman Enid Pearson.

Incumbent Councilwoman Karen Holman, who has also been endorsed by the slow-growth group, had a stronger month, reporting $8,043 in October contributions, or $24,075 overall.

Mayor Nancy Shepherd, meanwhile, has raised $21,958 so far this year, including $4,255 in October. Her contributors this month included Vice Mayor Liz Kniss ($250), former Mayor Peter Drekmeier ($100), Lisa Van Dusen ($250) and the head of the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, Candice Gonzalez ($100).

Legislative aide Cory Wolbach reported comparable numbers, having raised $21,383 this year and $3,219 in October. This includes $200 from Assemblyman Rich Gordon's campaign and $100 from Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who had also made equal contributions to Johnston and Holman.

• See the candidates' financial statements here

• Read about the candidates' early fundraising efforts

• Read up on the candidates at 2014 Election Central

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1 person likes this
Posted by Tom DuBois
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2014 at 10:24 am

Tom DuBois is a registered user.

To be fair to Joe Simitian, he also contributed $100 to my campaign - I received it after the reporting period. Thanks Joe!

1 person likes this
Posted by mj
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

With a free publicity headline like that we know who Gennady Sheyner is backing!

2 people like this
Posted by Mrak Weiss
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I asked three candidates early on, allies more or less, to join me in pushing for a voluntary $10,000 spending cap and struck out. (To my nine hundred or $1,000 out of pocket, compared to ZERO but 5,700 votes in 2012).

What could we as a community do with the $200,000 or more wasted on vainglorious idiocy here?

Good on Palo Alto Weekly for making bank on all this! Sarcasm set to stunned.

2 people like this
Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm

[Post removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

For the total campaign, Scharf loaned himself $50,000 out of the $84,000. Eric Schifferli, according to LinkedIn is the owner of Mauka Development Corp. involved with commerical development.

I must say, with the amount of money that Scharf loaned his campaign, he really wants the job. My question is how does he repay himself the money that he loaned his campaign?

By the way, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, there were 27,470 mail ballots issued, and only 2,340 return as of Oct 26, 2014.

Like this comment
Posted by True
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm

True is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Sea REDDY
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 28, 2014 at 6:27 am

Sea REDDY is a registered user.

Hello friends and citizens of Palo Alto

Are we not over spending for this modest public office?

This is not for President of Palo Alto right?

Watch out citizens; who is donating to who?

I have low budget around $1000 (my own retirement/pension) and have spent about $500. I have no special interest groups; nor some one telling me what I should do.

Demand Integrity, innovation and transparency, no backroom deals, no tall buildings from your council members now and members that you are electing.

You can tell who is what and who has the biggest number of 'Lawn Signs'

[Portion removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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