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Hill’s men (and women) behind the curtain

By rgordon
Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 7:11 pm in Uncategorized.

Jerry HillCampaign finance statements released Tuesday stole the show, so we ran out of time and space to give you all the juice on the 19th Assembly District Democratic primary race.

It’s clearly shaping up to be the hottest local race for 2008, with San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill and Consumer Federation of California Executive Director Richard Holober already having amassed more than $400,000 combined in their campaign coffers. Millbrae City Councilwoman Gina Papan confirmed late Tuesday that she will also throw her hat into the race.

(That, by the way, makes for an interesting conundrum for Millbrae City Councilmembers who will likely be pressured for endorsements. Will they support Papan, or will they support Holober, who is married to Millbrae Vice Mayor Nadia Holober? Or will they keep quiet?)

But besides the numbers, Hill also announced Tuesday his key campaign staffers, otherwise known as the men (and women) behind the curtain.

It’s little surprise that he will be under the political guidance of Ed McGovern and his firm, Public Affairs Associates. The South San Francisco firm has advised countless candidates for county and city office as well as local bond measure campaigns. The firm aided Hill in his campaigns for supervisor and San Mateo City Council and also advised former San Mateo County Supervisor Mike Nevin in his failed 2006 bid for state Senate.

Hill’s arsenal has extended beyond the Bay Area with the hiring of Phil Giarrizzo, a Sacramento-based campaign consultant and longtime political operative. A former union CEO, Giarrizzo produced direct mail for Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark in 2004 and worked on Willie Brown’s staff when he was speaker of the state Assembly. Giarrizzo also directed operations for the Alliance for a Better California‚Äôs No on Prop.’s 74-77 campaign in 2005, which was partly responsible for killing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s initial reform ambitions.

Hill also nabbed Integrated Fundraising Strategies partners Brittany Kneebone Feitelberg and Shari Rubin, who are based in San Francisco. Rubin has worked for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and the failed campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.

And because it’s just too much fun, the Insider has a few more juicy tidbits on Hill’s 472 campaign contributors. There are the downright wealthy ones – such as Umang Gupta, the CEO of San Mateo-based Keynote Systems, and his wife, Ruth Gupta, who each gave $3,600.

Then there are the public servants, following in the footsteps of Sheriff Greg Munks, who shelled out $3,000. (Munks’ father-in-law and the co-founder of Sunset Magazine, L.W. “Bill” Lane, also gave $3,600.) Chief Deputy Coroner Tom Marriscolo, Chief Probation Officer Loren Buddress, former Sheriff Don Horsley, Farm Bureau Executive Administrator Jack Olsen, former Supervisor Mike Nevin, Deputy County Manager Mary McMillan, and Superior Court judges Robert Foiles and Mark Forcum all made the list.

There are plenty of heavy-hitting lawyers and law firms to go around too. It’s no surprise that at the top of the list are Joe Cotchett (who gave the $3,600 maximum) and Frank Pitre, partners in the famed Burlingame litigation firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy. Also on the list is San Francisco’s Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy, LLP, which provides legal services for the San Mateo County Transit District (of which Hill is a board member) and is the new employer of former state Sen. Jackie Speier, who was termed out last year.

But by far and away the Insider’s favorite contribution is the contribution that wasn’t. Hill took a $1,000 contribution on June 28 from Lucky Chances, Inc. the parent company of Lucky Chances Casino in Colma, but returned it two days later. Rene Medina, who runs the casino, is under indictment for income tax evasion and is free on $6 million bail. If convicted in federal court, Medina faces jail time. He is also in the process of transferring his stock in the casino’s parent company to his two sons.

“Because of Mr. Medina’s legal issues,” Hill said by way of explanation, “we returned the check.”

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2 Responses to “Hill’s men (and women) behind the curtain”

  1. Albert Franklin Says:

    All Hill has to do to win is increase San Mateo County’s budget from $1.7 billion to that of San Francisco County’s $7 billion, and he’d win withinin a nosebleed!

  2. Michael G. Stogner Says:

    Jerry Hill returns $1,000 donation from Rene Medina, but accepts $3,000 from Sheriff Greg Munks who is a known customer of underaged sex slaves/human trafficking.

    Operation Dollhouse April 21, 2007 Las Vegas

    Also the San Mateo Daily Journal reported that Supervisor Jerry Hill was in Las Vegas that same weekend Munks was caught.

    Jerry Hill tells CBS 5 reporter Robert Lyles these trips went under the radar, nobody knew they were happining…….REALLY?

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