Berman, Veenker neck-and-neck in Assembly race contributions

Candidates receive about $300,000 each from donors

With a couple of months left until election day, Palo Alto City Councilman Marc Berman and patent attorney Vicki Veenker have raised close to the same amounts of funding in their race to succeed Rich Gordon in the 24th Assembly District, with about $300,000 each, according to the latest financial filings.

Berman has $97,363 still available out of $284,000 raised between Jan. 1 and June 30, compared to Veenker's $58,462 in ending cash out of $307,000 raised in the same six months.

Berman received a total of $77,448 in contributions during the latest filing period, which covered May 22 through June 30. He also spent close to that amount -- $69,599, according to filing documents.

By comparison, Veenker received $67,003 and spent $98,015 during that same time period.

Both Berman and Veenker have loaned their respective campaigns more than $100,000 so far.

Berman has received significant donations from prominent local community members, including Laurene Powell Jobs ($4,200), founder of the Emerson Collective and widow of Steve Jobs, and Palo Alto developer Roxy Rapp ($4,200), as well as several elected officials. Councilman Greg Scharff has donated $1,250; Cory Wolbach, $150; former mayor Nancy Shepherd, $300; and Liz Kniss, $1,000, according to campaign filings. Current Palo Alto Board of Education President Heidi Emberling gave $200 and former board member Barb Mitchell, $100.

Berman has also received $8,400 so far from the Rich Gordon for State Assembly 2014 campaign. Assemblyman Evan Low, who represents the 28th district and is running for re-election, gave Berman's campaign $8,400. Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, who represents the 22nd district, has donated $4,200.

Mountain View Councilman Mike Kasperzak, who ran against Berman and Veenker in the State Assembly primary, gave Berman $500.

Many political action committees and labor unions have supported Berman's campaign, from the California State Council of Laborers PAC ($4,250) and the San Francisco Laborer's Local 261 PAC ($4,200) to the California Medical Association PAC ($4,200) and California Apartment Association PAC ($4,200).

Berman's largest campaign contribution so far, $8,500, comes from the California Real Estate PAC - California Association of Realtors.

Veenker's top contributions come from the California Teachers Association/Association for Better Citizenship ($8,500); the California Nurses Association Political Action Committee ($8,500); Felice Swapp, chief operating officer of law firm Harney Westwood & Riegels; retired Stanford University professor Vernon Oi ($8,400); and Elizabeth Veenker ($8,400).

Palo Alto City Council members Karen Holman ($100), Tom DuBois ($100), Eric Filseth ($250), Kniss ($500) and Mayor Pat Burt ($250) all donated. Palo Alto school board Vice President Terry Godfrey gave Veenker's campaign $500.

Current Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith also contributed $100 and former Menlo Park councilwoman Kelly Fergusson, $250.

Veenker has also received support from several political action committees, including the Consumer Attorneys of California Political Action Committee ($4,200), the Political Action for Classified Employees of California School Employees ($4,000) and the Foothill-De Anza Faculty Association PAC ($1,000).

Several women-focused political organizations have also made contributions, including the National Women's Political Caucus of California ($500), Democratic Activists for Women Now ($1,500), the Women's Political Committee ($4,200) and EMILY's List ($2,500), a Washington, D.C., group that supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office.

Veenker has spent close to $180,000 on print advertisements, TV or cable production costs and $38,500 on San Francisco campaign-consulting firm SCN Strategies, according to her filing documents. Berman has spent about $30,000 on campaign consulting and has no reported advertisement costs.

However, Berman has spent close to $200,000 on campaign literature and mailings. Veenker's expenditures in that category pale in comparison: only about $16,000.

Berman and Veenker, both Palo Alto residents, were the top vote-getters in the June 7 primary race. The 24th district includes Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Sunnyvale, a part of Cupertino and the San Mateo County coastside -- from El Granada to the Santa Cruz County border.


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30 people like this
Posted by Berman's Major donors
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Some major donors:
Palo Alto developer Roxy Rapp ($4,200),
Councilman Greg Scharff $1,250,
Cory Wolbach, $150,
former mayor Nancy Shepherd, $300, and
Liz Kniss, $1,000
Berman's largest campaign contribution so far, $8,500, comes from the
California Real Estate PAC - California Association of Realtors.

What else do you need to know?

30 people like this
Posted by Don't Forget
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Berman's family has also contributed a few thousand dollars. [Portion removed due to inaccuracy.]

However, doesn't the donation from California Association of Realtors constitute a conflict of interest???

26 people like this
Posted by Adios
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2016 at 4:27 pm

If Berman wins does that mean we get to get rid of him on the City Council!!!! Berman strikes me as ill prepared at city meetings and he panders to developers.

2 people like this
Posted by Vote for Berman
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Berman is the way to go if we want someone who is really looking after the poor and middle class. Go Berman, you have my family's vote.

8 people like this
Posted by Boo
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Aug 3, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Since when do rich people look after the poor and middle class?? Seems to me the reality is that the middle class makes the rich richer with their laboratory, and supports the poor with their taxes!

4 people like this
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 4, 2016 at 5:11 am

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

Congratulations Marc and Vickie.

I support Vickie for assembly. She comes across ready to serve. Well qualified and up with concern for disadvantaged and all.

I do like Marc. Well educated and qualified as well. With his experience I recommend him to run for Congress. He would be a great addition to the DC leaders we have.

By the way, I am planning to run for 18th district congress with 18+ ideas in 2018.


7 people like this
Posted by Recollection
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2016 at 7:43 am

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

I propose our voters seriously think about our two great candidates; Vickie and Marc.

Vickie gets my vote and she understands most of the issues. She is eloquent.

For Marc; I recommend he run for 18th district congressional race in 2018.
I am a candidate too for 18th in 2018 with 18+ ideas.

Look forward to presenting my views.


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