News


Update: Copy of 'No on L' campaign finance report found

Committee raised $46,750

The "No on Measure L" committee battling the pension initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot planned to file its eagerly anticipated financial disclosure report by the Oct. 21 deadline, according to Jerry Jimenez, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union Local 521 (SEIU).

But the report never reached the Menlo Park City Clerk.

Mr. Jimenez told The Almanac on Oct. 22 that the report had been sent via overnight mail to the city,and should have arrived Friday.

However, city offices are closed today, as they are every other Friday.

He did provide The Almanac with an electronic copy of the report. It shows $22,000 total in monetary contributions, donated from the two unions who filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to keep Measure L off the ballot.

An estimated $22,050 in non-monetary contributions came from those same two unions -- SEIU and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) -- as well as a third, Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security.

City Clerk Margaret Roberts confirmed that she hasn't received a copy of the report yet, but said unless someone files an official complaint with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, sanctions against the group are unlikely.

She did get a fax earlier this month showing a $15,000 contribution from SEIU to the "No on Measure L" committee.

Residents of Menlo Park reported receiving mailers from the committee during the past week. The return address? The San Carlos headquarters for SEIU Local 521.

The financial report indicates the group has spent about $13,000 so far on mailers.

Yes on Measure L

On the other hand, the "Yes on Measure L" crowd filed on time. Their financial report showed $200 in donations between Oct. 1 and Oct. 16, split evenly between Menlo Park attorneys Robert Grant and Michael Brandt.

That brings the total monetary contributions to the committee to $24,194.

"Yes on Measure L" also reported $1,174 in non-monetary contributions, but didn't provide an itemized description since those occurred a during previous reporting period.

If donations decreased, so did expenses during this round, to $2,231; the first filing period included the legal costs of defending the measure against a lawsuit filed by SEIU and another union to keep it off the ballot.

The unions may mount a post-election legal challenge. The "Yes on Measure L" committee still has $4,069 remaining in its bank account.

The ballot measure seeks to raise the minimum retirement age for new public employees, excluding police officers, by five years to 60, and also decrease their maximum pension benefits by 0.7 percentage points to 2 percent of their highest annual salary averaged over three years.

The Almanac will continue to update this story as more details become available.

Comments

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Posted by Typical
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

Typical way of doing things from the unions. If the SEIU has $15K to spend trying to defeat this little measure that is attempting to decrease costs to the residents of Menlo Park, that must mean the unions have way too much money! The union then starts installing their yard signs in public state and county owned places, which is illegal. Then the union decides not to disclose their financial information. [Portion removed; stick to the facts, not speculation.] I think just from this little display of non-transparency, and gamesmanship, this sends a very strong message to the community that the unions need to remove themselves from MP politics. Being ethical, honest and having some degree of integrity is important, the SEIU has not shown that, have they ever???


Like this comment
Posted by Dharma
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

AFSCME and SEIU have required municipal employees from two counties to put in their "volunteer hours" walking weekends in Menlo Park to "defend your pension". What do these San Mateo and Mountain View workers think when The Man calls from union HQ, knowing that Measure L does not affect current employees in any way - except that it might keep their pension system solvent if it passes and puts a lid on future impossible promises? Do you just speak the union line with as much conviction as you can muster?


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Posted by believers
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

Dharma

Smell the coffee! Most of these municipal workers have heard the offical union line so long, they BELIEVE it. They think having new hires (after Oct 2011) get "only" 60% of their best salary for a pension - their version of social security, never mind their 401K- will bring down life as they know it. Dont' argue with a Believer!


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