Contractors contribute $75,000 to bond measure campaign for community college district

The companies have done work for the district valued at $134 million

This is an update to an earlier story.

By Dave Boyce

Almanac Staff Writer

The campaign for Measure H, a $564 million bond measure on the Nov. 8 ballot for the San Mateo County Community College District, had contributions totaling $251,641, including donations from two San Jose construction companies, according to a campaign finance report.

Robert A. Bothman Inc. gave the campaign $50,000 on Sept. 2, the report shows, while Hensel Phelps Construction Company, which has headquarters in Colorado, gave $25,000 on Aug. 29.

The two companies have done work for the district valued at $134 million, most of it paid for in bond funds, according to district spokeswoman Barbara Christiansen.

Bothman rebuilt the athletic facilities for all three college campuses: Canada College in Woodside, the College of San Mateo in San Mateo, and Skyline College in San Bruno.

The improvements included rehabilitating the baseball and soccer fields and the tennis courts at all three campuses, plus a new football field, track-and-field facility and bleachers at the College of San Mateo, and new bleachers and a track at Skyline, according to summaries at the Bothman website.

The cost of the athletic facilities worked out to $24.5 million and came not from bond funds but from the coffers of redevelopment districts that the colleges serve, Ms. Christiansen said in a telephone interview.

The district also paid $7.3 million to Bothman for seismic and modernization work at Skyline College in 2005 and $11.4 million for road resurfacing and an entryway at Canada College, Ms. Christiansen said.

When asked in a telephone interview about the $50,000 donation to the Measure H campaign, Brian Bothman, a company vice president, replied: "We support just about every bond measure in every district in the Bay Area. It helps the economy."

The district's money gets spread around through the general contractors to architects, engineering companies and small contractors, Mr. Bothman added. "It's not just us by ourselves. We represent a great deal of other businesses that really benefit from this kind of stuff."

The college district paid $91 million, most of it in bond funds, to Hensel Phelps since 2004, Ms. Christiansen said. The construction included buildings for instruction in the sciences, automotive transmission repair and multi-cultural programs as well as a cafeteria, student services, school administration and the relocation of a telecommunications lab.

In a telephone interview, Hensel Phelps Vice President Jon W. Ball, in response to request for comment on the company's $25,000 donation to Measure H, said that "there really is no expectation other than we just want to participate (in the bidding)."

"Community colleges, in a down economy, are one of the few markets that there's much future in," he added.

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Like this comment
Posted by Gunther Steinberg
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Oct 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Contractors know that lobbying money multiplies to the bottom line.
It usually is an investment with a great ROI, when it works out.
Just look at the K-Street people in Washington, 5 times the number of members of Congress. Everybody makes money of the millions spread around.

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