A handful of hefty contributions over the past week have provided a financial boost to Palo Alto City Council candidates Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou, more than doubling their campaign chests and lifting them to the top tier of the 11-person field when it comes to cash raised.
Kou and Keller, who tend to favor slow-growth policies and who have the same campaign manager (former parks commissioner Pat Markevitch), both benefited from contributions from resident Thomas Layton, a self-employed consultant who had also supported “residentialist” candidates Eric Filseth and Tom DuBois in their successful council bids two years ago. Layton contributed $6,000 each to Kou and Keller earlier this month.
The pair had also benefited from contributions from the Coxe family. Simone Coxe, a nonprofit executive, gave $6,000 to each campaign, while her husband Tench Coxe, a venture capitalist with Sutter Hill Ventures, contributed $900 to Kou. Tench Coxe had also supported DuBois and Filseth in the 2014 election (both DuBois and Filseth have endorsed Keller and Kou this time around).
Helyn MacLean, whose husband Asher Waldfogel serves on the city's planning commission (and donated to DuBois and Filseth in 2014), also contributed funds to both Kou and Keller earlier this month, writing a $6,000 check to each of them. And Mary Anne Baker, a retired journalist, contributed $6,500 each to Kou and Keller. Baker, a Crescent Park resident, spoke out in February against the spillover effects of downtown's permit-parking program and requested that the city limit parking in her neighborhood to residents only. The position is well-aligned with that of Kou, who favors resident-only parking programs on neighborhood streets.
Also contributing to both candidates were Michael Rantz and Paul Rantz. Their contributions to Keller and Kou totaled $7,000 each.
The sequence of unusually large checks in early October followed a period in which both Keller and Kou stood near the middle of the candidate pack in cash raised. At the end of September, when the two candidates filed their respective Forms 460, Keller reported a total of $24,075 received while Kou had $16,937 (the reporting period ended on Sept. 24). And while other council candidates have also received contributions since the September period, none except Keller and Kou have received checks greater than $1,000.
The recent infusion of more than $30,000 into Keller's and Kou's respective campaigns means there are five candidates now with more than $40,000 in total contributions received. It also means that Keller is now the leading recipient of campaign cash, having overtaken planning Commissioner Greg Tanaka, who led the field with $47,323 in total contributions at the end of the September reporting period.
Tanaka, for his part, has received another $7,000 since then, according to the campaign finance reports. This includes $1,000 donations from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and Google executive Matt Rogers. With the latest contributions taken into account, Keller has received $55,574 while Tanaka has received $54,323.
Councilwoman Liz Kniss, who finished September with $46,259 (which trailed only Tanaka), also received $1,000 since then, with her sole check coming from Stoppelman.
Adrian Fine, current chair of the planning commission, has also received more than $40,000 in campaign cash, some of it from himself. After finishing September with $35,707 in total contributions, Fine reported another $13,000 since then. This includes $10,000 that he gave to his own campaign, along with checks from Google's Rogers ($1,000) and economist Stephen Levy, co-founder of the citizens group Palo Alto Forward ($1,000). Sam Hawkes, an executive in the downtown firm King Asset Management, gave $1,000 to both Tanaka and to Fine.
Other candidates in the race -- Stewart Carl, Leonard Ely, John Fredrich, Danielle Martell, Don McDougall and Greer Stone -- have not filed any late-contribution statements.
Read more about the 11 council candidates in this week's cover story, Deciding Palo Alto's future
The Weekly has created a Storify page for its coverage on the Palo Alto City Council election.
• Videos of the candidates' endorsement interviews with the Palo Alto Weekly editorial board have been posted on YouTube.com