Fergusson laps Ciardella in spending


Kelly Fergusson and Rick Ciardella both ended their campaigns for Menlo Park City Council in the red, while Andy Cohen, the third candidate in the November race for two council seats, failed to turn in his final campaign finance statement on time.

Ms. Fergusson finished the campaign season $6,648 in the hole, while Mr. Ciardella paid $591 out of his own pocket to offset expenses incurred during the campaign, according to their campaign statements. Ms. Fergusson raised $27,618 in her successful re-election bid and spent $34,193, more than double Mr. Ciardella's $14,740.85.

Mr. Cohen said that he simply forgot about the Feb. 2 reporting deadline, adding that he hopes to get his statement to the City Clerk by the end of the day Tuesday, Feb. 3. Mr. Cohen and Ms. Fergusson retained their seats on the council in the Nov. 4 election.

Mr. Ciardella failed to fill out a report detailing his expenses from Oct. 19 to Dec. 31, recording $12,119 in payments to his campaign manager without specifying the final recipient of those payments. Menlo Park City Clerk Margaret Roberts said she would send him a letter, notifying him of the error and asking him to provide an amended statement.

There is no penalty for making reporting errors or failing to meet the deadline, according to Ms. Roberts. If a candidate refuses to submit or revise a statement, the city can refer the case to the California Fair Political Practices Commission, she said. Ms. Roberts noted that cities can adopt ordinances to fine delinquent candidates, but that Menlo Park does not have such an ordinance.

Kelly Fergusson

During the reporting period from Oct. 19 to Dec. 31, Ms. Fergusson received donations from trade unions, as well as several current and former council members.

She took in $500 from the Regional Council of Northern California Carpenters, and $1,000 from the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 467, bringing that union's total contributions to her campaign to $2,000. She also accepted $300 from the Building and Construction Trades Council of San Mateo County, a group that advocates for better working conditions and salaries for construction workers. Over the course of the campaign, Ms. Fergusson received a total of $4,200 from trade unions or advocates of unionized workers.

Menlo Park Councilman Rich Cline gave $300 on Election Day to Ms. Fergusson's campaign. Following the election, former councilman Paul Collacchi gave $250, and former councilman Chuck Kinney gave $100. Atherton Mayor Jerry Carlson donated $100, as did Patricia Boyle, a member of Menlo Park's housing commission.

Menlo Park resident Bob Ekedahl gave $250, bringing his total donations to the campaign to $500, and Menlo Park resident Bob English gave $300. San Diego resident Shirley Zeien gave $250 ($750 total over the course of the campaign).

Clark Kepler, owner of Kepler's bookstore, gave $50 to Ms. Fergusson's campaign, as did Barbara Franklin, who has appeared before the City Council several times to advocate for a ban on smoking in multi-unit residences.

The bulk of Ms. Fergusson's expenses went toward designing, creating and mailing campaign literature, according to her statement.

Rick Ciardella

Rick Ciardella took in $500 from the Lincoln Club of Northern California, a Political Action Committee dedicated to putting Republicans in office, and $100 from former Menlo Park councilman Nicholas Jellins.

Ralph Oswald, former owner of the Village Pub in Woodside, gave $450. Ron Shepherd, president of a Menlo Park insurance firm, donated $200. Menlo Park residents Richard Li, Nicholas Naclerio, and James Ciardella gave $200 each.

Mr. Ciardella spent the great majority of his haul in the two weeks before the election. In his campaign finance statement, he classifies $9,548 of those expenditures under the category of campaign literature and mailings, and $2,570 under print ads. Mr. Ciardella did not specify the recipient of the payments in his statement. He took out two ads in the Oct. 29 Almanac, totaling $2,649, according to The Almanac's sales department.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe the Union Plumber
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm

The unions love Fergusson and Fergusson loves the unions.

Like this comment
Posted by Cohen Supporters??
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Where's all that Boyle, Winkler, Duboc money and support we heard so much about from all the Cohen/Ferguson supporters during the election?? As you can see, Rick ran his own campaign, without much from realtors and developers. Next time, why don't you all check your facts first, before burning down the opponents house. It certainly looks like it was unions that win the hearts and minds of Menlo Park residents. Too bad.

Like this comment
Posted by skeptic
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 4, 2009 at 9:55 am

You're proving the point! Although the article only lists late donations (Ciardella did get money from realtors and developers in earlier reporting periods) he didn't get much support overall. The Duboc et al crowd knew they didn't have much of a chance of defeating the incumbents.

The fact remains that developers can buy and have bought council members via campaign donations. Apparently no one had enough confidence in a Ciardella victory to invest in him!

Like this comment
Posted by Correct
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 4, 2009 at 12:28 pm

You ARE right "Skeptic", unions did NOT have enough confidence in Rick to invest in him, with both money, negative campaign literature, and feet on the streets. Again, it's a shame that the unions have this type of power. It is literally bankrupting our town.

Like this comment
Posted by Gaelstrom
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 4, 2009 at 4:10 pm

[Post removed]

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

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