Election 2001: Menlo Park fire district race short on cash | October 12, 2011 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



News - October 12, 2011

Election 2001: Menlo Park fire district race short on cash

• `Candidates not trying to outspend each other.

by Sandy Brundage

Of the five candidates running for two open seats on the Menlo Park Fire Protection District board, only one seems serious about campaign fundraising, based on financial reports filed with San Mateo County covering Jan. 1 through Sept. 29.

"I've spent mostly my time so far," said candidate Scott Barnum, who wasn't required to fill out a financial report since his spending has fallen under the $1,000 threshold for filing. He intends to keep it that way.

Describing his campaign as "long on shoe leather and short on cash," Steve Kennedy plans to fly under the government radar by spending less than $1,000.

"So far, I have spent about $60 on a stuffed toy Dalmatian dog," he said, and about $13 on campaign fliers. He's also recycling posters and lawn signs from the 2005 campaign. The dog, along with a top hat and black trench coat that he plans to dab with white spots, forms the cornerstone of Mr. Kennedy's street campaign.

Incumbent Bart Spencer has spent a bit more than he's gotten from his one donor to date, who gave $500. So far he's shelled out $600 for campaign signs.

That leaves challengers Rob Silano and Virginia Chang Kiraly. Mr. Silano drew $3,975 in donations, with the largest contributions coming from developer Cary Preston Butcher ($500), James O'Donnell of the Industrial Emergency Council ($300), and Jennifer and Dale Fuller of Menlo Park ($1,000 each). His coffers also include a $1,000 campaign loan from wife Barbara Silano.

As money comes in, it also flows out. Mr. Silano's $2,118 in expenses has mainly gone toward campaign literature and fundraising, according to the financial report.

Ms. Chang Kiraly reported zero monetary donations for the filing period, but loaned her campaign $1,848 and spent precisely that amount on yard signs and county fees. She also received $750 in non-monetary contributions from the Convere Group, a political campaign and finance consulting company in Menlo Park.


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