Wong takes big lead in Foothill-De Anza fundraising

Cupertino councilman raised over $54,000 through Sept. 24 in bid for board seat

Cupertino City Councilman Gilbert Wong has raised the most cash out of the six candidates vying for a seat on Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees, according to recent campaign finance reports.

Three seats are up for election this year, and only one of the current board members, Laura Casas Frier, is running for the school board this November. The other candidates are Wong, former Cupertino councilman Orrin Mahoney, Cupertino resident Patrick Ahrens, Los Altos resident Peter Landsberger and former Foothill College employee Eric Rosenthal.

Wong raised a total of $54,000 from the beginning of the year through Sept. 24, much of which accrued in a fundraising blitz prior to July 1. His top contributions include $6,000 from Cupertino resident Myong-shin Woo, who is listed as self-employed in the real estate industry; $6,000 from Richard Hartman, a San Jose property services manager; $6,000 from the company Thinktank Learning Inc.; and $5,000 from Cupertino resident Shobana Nandakumar, a consultant.

Large contributions also include $3,000 from Dipesh Gupta, CEO of Shashi Corp., and $3,000 from Shashi Group LLC. The campaign committee Evan Low for Assembly 2016 also gave Wong's campaign $2,500.

Other notable donations include $200 from Fiona Ma, chairwoman of the state Board of Equalization; $100 from Rich Gordon for State Assembly; and $100 from Patrick Kwok, a former Cupertino mayor and councilman now serving on the Cupertino Sanitary District Board of Directors.

Wong's top expenditure so far is to a San Jose printing company ($17,985), followed by the county registrar's for his candidate statement ($4,540). He also spent just over $1,000 on a campaign technology provider and $1,500 to the Santa Clara County United Democratic Campaign.

Just behind Wong is Landsberger, who raised just shy of $40,000 in campaign funds from the beginning of the year through Sept. 24. Landsberger contributed $10,500 to his campaign, and has received some big donations, including $5,000 from Palo Alto venture capitalist Franklin Johnson Jr. and $3,000 from the Foothill-De Anza Faculty Association.

Other donors include $2,000 from Berkeley resident Margaret Goodman, $1,000 from Los Altos Hills resident Rebecca Morgan and $1,000 from Robert Rutner, a dentist at Grant Road Dental.

Landsberger spent $14,000 of his war chest over the same period, leaving him with plenty left for campaigning through October. Landsberger spent just over $4,000 to be included in slate mailers from the Latino Family Voter Guide and California Vote Green, $1,750 on political consulting fees and $1,130 for website design.

Ahrens, who was the first to announce his bid for the school board in April this year, pulled in $9,500 from July 1 through Sept. 24, adding up to a total of just under $23,000 so far this year. Of those funds, $10,000 came from retired Lutheran clergyman Robert Richards of Santa Monica. Ahrens also received $3,000 from the Foothill-De Anza Faculty Association, as well as $1,000 donations from Santa Monica residents Barbara Browning and Brian Olson.

Ahrens spent $6,700 during the filing period, most of it on candidate statement fees. About $1,200 went toward paying for fundraising event costs, including hundreds of dollars for catering services, as well as $430 on printing services.

Casas pulled together a total of $16,335 -- much of it her own money -- in campaign funds as of Sept. 24, bringing her to a total of $20,754 when combined with $4,400 left over from her 2012 bid for the school board.

Casas contributed $15,000 to her campaign at the start of August, but she has received a handful of donations from others as well. Fellow Foothill-De Anza trustee Joan Barram, who is not running for re-election this year, donated $500 to Casas' campaign, and board member Bruce Swenson donated $250. Casas also received $485 from a woman named Linda Waits, a farmer from Clarksburg, California.

As of Sept. 24, Casas had not reported spending any of her campaign funds, according to the campaign filing.

Mahoney has raised about $5,600 so far, the majority of it his own money. He has made two loans to his campaign totaling $5,025. His campaign finance statement shows only two contributions: $250 from Cupertino resident Tom Anderson and $100 from Cupertino financial advisor Bob Adams.

With less than a month left until Election Day, Mahoney has also spent most of his money. His statement shows an ending cash balance of $578. His largest expenditure during the reporting period was $4,540 for his candidate statement.

Rosenthal did not file a campaign finance statement, which candidates are not required to do if they have not received more than $2,000. Rosenthal wrote in an email that he "expect(s) very little donations."


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3 people like this
Posted by YO SOY (I AM)
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2016 at 11:53 am

So, whoever raises the most money wins? I still don't understand what people's finances have to do in an election...

7 people like this
Posted by Pigs Fly
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2016 at 11:59 am

Pigs Fly is a registered user.

It's just sickening how our election system works these days.

This country is becoming a plutocracy. Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have the chance of ice in hell if he were running for office today!

8 people like this
Posted by Ken Horowitz
a resident of University South
on Oct 11, 2016 at 12:18 pm

The election of three new faces to the Foothill-DeAnza Colleges Board of Trustees is too important to take for granted and be influenced by who can raise the most money. The Trustees have the financial responsibilities for an annual budget of $200M and in recent years,there has been a substantial deficit which can not be continued by using reserves. In addition, next month they will be accepting a bid of $22M for a new District Office Building and Board Room using Measure C funds which I believe the voters did not approve when it was passed in 2006.
Please vote for Patrick Ahrens, Peter Landsberger, and Eric Rosenthal because they have the right qualities to best serve the needs of all students and to understand their fiscal responsibilities to balance the budget.

Like this comment
Posted by SC resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

Beware of Mahoney - he's been actively promoting developer Sand Hill Properties in Cupertino, in videos and mailers. There's little doubt he does not have the community's wishes in mind.

Wong raising that much money - who is he going to be thinking of first when it comes time to make important decisions?

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

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