Helping hands for Menlo council candidates

What assistance must be reported?

Menlo Park residents spotted precinct walkers handing out fliers supporting three candidates for City Council along with "Yes on Measure T" doorhangers, and finding similar literature in their mailboxes, during the final week before the Nov. 2 election. That assistance wasn't disclosed on anyone's campaign finance reports, however.

Developer David Bohannon hopes to see the ballot measure pass so he can build Menlo Gateway, a nearly 1-million-square-foot office-hotel complex, on property he owns east of U.S. 101.

"We did not believe we had to report this since our campaign workers' principal mission was to distribute Yes on T literature, and the other literature was added on," said Bohannon spokesman Patrick Corman. "We now have been advised otherwise and are preparing an amended financial statement, which we will file this week as soon as we have all the information we need."

The three candidates most enjoying the generosity of the Bohannon coalition's support are Mayor Rich Cline, Councilman Heyward Robinson, and Planning Commissioner Kirsten Keith, who all support Measure T.

"I knew they were dropping fliers for candidates so I gave them some of mine. I haven't talked with them directly," Mr. Cline said. He recalled the workers asking for fliers around the first week of October.

Mr. Robinson said the workers "have been doing this for most of the campaign." One of the workers handed him a stack of fliers on Saturday that included Mr. Cline's, Ms. Keith's, and even one for Peter Ohtaki, who also supports Measure T.

"We will certainly amend our 460 (finance report) if necessary," the councilman said.

The last campaign finance filings covered donations and contributions through Oct. 16. Contributions or expenditures of $1,000 or more after that date must be reported within 24 hours, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

In-kind donations must be reported by recipients within 48 hours from the time received, but volunteer services aren't reportable.

Mr. Bohannon had thrown $475,000 at last report into funding the campaign to support Measure T, with at least $14,864 dedicated to a series of mailers attacking the one candidate who vocally opposes Menlo Gateway, Chuck Bernstein.

What about the other campaigns? The "No on Measure T" coalition confirmed that their literature had sometimes accompanied Mr. Bernstein's fliers.

"All are volunteers; none are paid," said Patti Fry, one of the organizers behind the effort to defeat the measure. "That's the way grassroots campaigns have been done forever. If someone were normally paid and donated their time, then that should be reported. If someone were donating legal time, or better yet, an office that would normally be rented out. Feet on the street? No."

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Like this comment
Posted by Boohannon
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

Thanks, Sandy, for your recent fair and balanced campaign reporting. My opinion of the Almanac has improved as a result of your work.

Like this comment
Posted by Helping Hands
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

We also helped ourselves to many Pro-Measure L campaign signs. We need to protect our future brothers and sisters who will join our ranks as city employees.

Like this comment
Posted by Volunteer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

There were about a dozen VOLUNTEERS walking over the weekend and through today for Robinson, Cline and Keith, also dropping Democratic endorsement door hangers to Dem households in many precincts.

I also saw union members walking for No on L.

A week before someone from my neighborhood dropped by a No on L flier.

I observed every NO on T flier accompanied by Bernstein's campaign literature as well as Paterson's xeroxed flier.

So there were MANY different efforts happening Citywide from many points of view.

Like this comment
Posted by Thieving Hands
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Perhaps at some point Mr. "Helping Hands" will find himself in trouble by stealing signs off of private property. I stand in disbelief regarding the unions and how they believe it is their right to make unGodly amounts of money, and benefits, and pensions, off of the backs of taxpayers, and then try to defeat a measure that is attempting to maintain some sanity in our city/county/state budgets. I wondering if our city's union could go by way of our steel unions, our textile unions, our auto unions etc. Would we miss them?

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

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