With fundraising records being broken in the presidential primaries and recent supervisorial races in Santa Barbara County taking in unprecedented amounts of cash, it should come as no surprise that the race for the 3rd District has prompted people from inside the county and out to open their checkbooks in big ways to support their candidates of choice.
Due to the size of the district, money is key to getting a candidate’s message out, and the final campaign contribution statements released May 22 indicate a solid stream of income for three candidates leading the fundraising race.
Recent polling commissioned by an unidentified Steve Pappas supporter and apparently conducted by Zogby International shows the three with the most money-Pappas, Doreen Farr, and David Smyser-are also far ahead in terms of potential voters. Though specifics of the data pool, such as where in the district the 403 people polled lived, weren’t released, 22.4 percent of likely registered voters in the 3rd District said they’d vote for Farr, while 20 percent said Smyser, and 19.6 percent said they’d vote for Pappas to replace outgoing 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone.
When it comes to cash, Firestone-who has plenty of it-has thrown his support behind Smyser, contributing $12,100 to his campaign. Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, who herself raised more than half a million dollars in her 2006 quest for the seat she now holds, is one of two other current supervisors to have contributed to a campaign, giving $500 to Doreen Farr, as well as $294 for a small fundraiser. Fifth District Supervisor Joe Centeno gave $100 to Smyser. Former supervisors Gail Marshall and Naomi Schwartz gave $500 and $550, respectively, to Farr, while former supervisor Willy Chamberlin passed along $1,350 to Smyser.
Farr has not only raised the most money in the race, at $281,916, but has also spent the most: $216,130. Smyser has brought in $202,486, while Pappas has brought in $200,346. Victoria Pointer has received $4,224 while David Bearman has received $33,177. Bearman’s numbers were late getting turned in, and weren’t available at press time. As of the May 22 filing, Smyser had $26,099 in the bank, while Farr had $60,786, and Pappas $41,049.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has poured the most significant chunk of cash into Farr’s coffers. Central Coast-based SEIU Local 721 and SEIU Local 620, which both represent county employees and other public service employees, each gave $15,000 to her campaign, while the California State Council of the SEIU gave $20,000 and an additional $17,000 for a survey by Hart Research Associates, a public opinion research company that has done polling for Lois Capps in the past. Capps’s campaign committee paid $13,770 for campaign literature as well as the price of Farr’s commercial and advertising space on television.
Farr received $5,000 apiece from Santa Barbara developer Wayne Siemens and Tad Buchanan, the latter being an owner of the 3,150-acre Rancho Monte Alegre in Carpinteria, a project that could be in front of the Board of Supervisors in the future. She also received $5,000 from Dan Emmett, chairman of Santa Monica-based Douglas Emmett, Inc., a real estate investment trust that owns many properties in the Los Angeles area and in Hawai’i, who often gives to environmental causes. Outside of the SEIU, Farr’s largest individual contributor is Richard Whited, chief executive of Quicksilver Trading, Inc., a Santa Barbara-based trading firm, who dished out $16,600. Whited is a current boardmember of the Patterson Area Neighborhoods Association, a group Farr founded. Billionaire Peter Sperling, who owns a home in the area and frequently gives to local races, has pitched in $10,000. About $50,000 was raised at a March fundraiser cohosted by 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who is running uncontested in his district race.
Heavily covered in the media earlier in the campaign season were six contributions to Smyser of $5,000, including four from mysterious, out-of-town entities-Cathedral Hill Associates, LP; G&G Marco; Stevenson Street Associates, LP; and Western Mart, Co., LP-all of San Francisco. At the time, Smyser said he wasn’t familiar with the four entities or any interests they might have in the county. It was later determined through investigating by media and intrigued community members that all four San Francisco limited partnerships also had ties to New York investor Alvin Dworman, the builder and owner of Bacara Resort and Spa. He, along with B.J. Hoppe-listed on Smyser’s contribution sheet as the chief executive of the ADCO Group, which is also owned by Dworman-gave $5,000 to Smyser. Bacara is currently seeking preliminary plans to add rentable condominiums next to its current standing buildings, while Dworman also has another project in the county pipeline, the Tecolote Canyon project which would create 27 lots-26 residential lots and a 984-acre lot for agricultural use and a nature preserve-north of Rancho Embarcadero and west of Goleta. That project has been stagnant since March of last year but remains listed on the county Web site as a Gaviota Coast project. Bacara also paid $3,640 for hosting a Smyser event in April.
Smyser has received $5,000 from investor and Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who owns a home in the county; $5,120 from Brian Prinn, a Corona del Mar investor; and $5,000 from Philip Taylor, an Atherton developer. He’s also received $5,000 from Newport Beach-based Makar Management, LLC, which currently has a permit application pending with the county to build two luxury homes on parcels west of Bacara. Ray Wirta-
vice chairman of Irvine-based CB Richard Ellis, the world’s largest real estate services firm-has given $6,000. The Santa Barbara Rental Property Association has given Smyser $9,900. He’s also received $10,000 from Santa Maria Pacific, LLC, which currenty has two oil leases within the county. Many of Smyser’s contributions have come from farmers and ranchers.
Of Pappas’s $200,346, $141,800 comes from a group of 21 supporters. In addition, he has loaned himself $49,500. His largest individual contributor, with $20,000, is Anne V. Crawford-Hall Enterprises, a group owned by newspaper publisher Nancy Crawford-Hall. Doug Herthel, a veterinarian at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center, has passed $17,500 to his friend Pappas, while $10,000 has been given under the clinic’s name and $3,000 has been given by fellow Alamo Pintado veterinarian Greg Parks. Mark Herthel, son of Doug, has given $5,000, while his company-Platinum Performance-has given $10,000. Actress Bo Derek gave Pappas $100.
The big name on Bearman’s contribution statement is David Crosby, founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, who along with his wife Jan gave $5,000. Jan Crosby is also listed as giving $13,000 to Pappas. Bearman also received $3,600 from Peter Lewis, owner of Progressive Insurance, but Bearman’s list is mostly a spattering of names of doctors from all over the county and state.