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Who donated to Measure C campaign?

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, June 7th, 2010 at 2:58 pm in Concord, Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

CUES campaign disclosure form through May 22, 2010.

CUES campaign disclosure form through May 22, 2010.

By Theresa Harrington
The Mt. Diablo school district’s Measure C campaign reported receiving $204,500 through May 26, 2010, according to documents filed with the Contra Costa County elections department.
The money helped pay for numerous mailers, campaign consultants and pollsters, whose survey results have not been released to the public.
Big supporters included contractors, unions, lawyers, architects and bond underwriters, who could arguably benefit from construction contracts if the measure passes. The campaign received smaller contributions from educators and school parent groups.
The campaign reportedly received $142,237 by May 22. It pulled in another $62,500 on May 25.
Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest contributors:
$25,000: Seward L. Schreder Construction, Redding
$25,000: Northern CA Carpenters, Regional Council Issues PAC
$25,000: IBEW 302: Community Issues PAC
$25,000: Stone and Youngberg, San Francisco, bond underwriters
$15,000: George K. Baum and Co., Denver, bond underwriters
$15,000: Sheet Metal Workers International, Local Union No. 04
$15,000: Brandis Tallman LLC, San Francisco, bond underwriters
$10,000: Diablo Education Association Political Account
$ 7,500: Haight, Brown & Bonesteel, LLP, Los Angeles
$ 5,000: Law Offices of Peter Bonis
$ 5,000: Bret and Valerie Taber, Taber Construction Inc., Martinez
$ 5,000: Matthew P. Juhl-Darlington, bond disclosure counsel
$ 5,000: Vanir/3DI, a Joint Venture, Sacramento
$ 5,000: Verde Design, Inc., Santa Clara
$ 4,500: Taber Construction, Inc., Martinez
$ 2,500: Trico Pipe, Martinez
$ 2,500: Capital Engineering Consultants, Inc., Rancho Cordova
$ 1,500: Corlett, Skaer and Devoto Architects, San Francisco
$ 1,000: Nacht and Lewis Architects, Sacramento
$ 500: College Park PTSA, Pleasant Hill
$ 500: Clayton Valley High School Parent Faculty Club, Concord
$ 500: Government Financial Strategies, Sacramento
$ 250: Teamsters Local Union No. 315 PAC, Martinez
The campaign received 11 contributions of $100 each from individuals and organizations including former Interim Superintendent Dick Nicoll, trustee Linda Mayo, assistant superintendent Mildred Browne and the Mt. Diablo Council of Parent Teacher Associations.
Here are some of the large payments made with the money:
$85,176: TBWB Strategies, San Francisco, campaign consultants
$20,415: EMC Research, Oakland, research and polling
$ 8,427: Paul Higgins, San Jose, salary and field office expenses
Many nonunion contractors are opposing the measure because they fear the district would impose a Project Labor Agreement, which would exclude them from bidding on contracts.
The school board approved a bond counsel contract with Matt Juhl-Darlington on April 13. Trustees approved a master investment banking agreement on May 11 with the bond underwriting team of Stone & Youngberg, George K. Baum & Co., and Brandis Tallman LLC.
TBWB Strategies consultant Jared Boigon informed me the campaign committee decided not to release poll results from EMC Research to the public. A Public Records Act request from me to the district for the poll results is pending, based on the fact that trustees relied on the poll when they voted March 9 to put Measure C on the June 8 ballot.
Are you surprised by the list of donors? Do you think the public has the right to see the polling results?

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18 Responses to “Who donated to Measure C campaign?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    It is shocking to see the list. It is like one hand greasing the other. It does not make it right, but I am curious to know how this type of list – contractors, unions, lawyers, bond underwriters – compares to that for the 2002 Measure C bond or the 2009 parcel tax.

    Should the polling results be make public? Yes, especially since they form the basis for the board’s decision to place the bond on the ballot. The fact that the results have not been released speaks for itself.

  2. Charley Cowens Says:

    Theresa, you mentioned opposition in here. Did they raise enough (>$1000) to require a PAC? Over in WCCUSD ($360K raised for For the Children of West County), I was told by County Elections that there was no opposing PAC to the schools bond measure (even though there was a ballot argument against).

  3. tharrington Says:

    The Golden Gate Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors PAC in Livermore made $2,277.60 in independent expenditures opposing Measure C. The money was spent on mailers and a website, according to independent expenditure reports filed with the county elections office.

  4. tharrington Says:

    Both trustees Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh told me they received the poll results. They said they voted to extend the 2002 Measure C tax rate, instead of issuing bonds at a new tax rate, because that’s what the voters wanted. However, the district has failed to produce voter results backing up these claims.

  5. A.J. Fardella Says:

    I am not surprised by any of the donations except Dick Nicoll who I would have assumed would be appalled at the lack of public input on the project list and the ridiculous cost of financing the money.

    Vanir is the company who handled project management for the last Bond. They did a good job. But they back the Bond for selfish reasons, they would in all probability get the management contract again.

    The sickest of the donations comes from the Bond underwriters who would be selling Bonds that appreciated 500% over 42 years over 10% a year for investors, when the banks are currently paying 1% or less for CD rates. All on the backs of taxpayers under the guise of “supporting our kids”. So sad.

    The construction companies and labor unions are blatantly self serving and just want the contracts, they don’t care what a burden this will put on our children vis a vi property owners for the next 50 years. A blatant selfish money grab, why should they care the projects are a waste of time and money, and the money is being purchased to do the work at a 500% premium.

    I certainly pray that tomorrow night I learn that their money was wasted trying to push through this abomination of a Bond proposal masquerading as “Measure C”


    A.J. Fardella

  6. Doctor J Says:

    DIABLOGATE coverup by the Board is happening — they are concealing the TRUTH from the voters. The donor list is appalling. I hope that CC Times will pursue the public records request relentlessly even after the election and disclose the truth to the voters.

  7. Nobody Says:

    Interesting. Disgusting show of union and contracting labor. Wow, wonder why? “Show me the money!”

    Oh, and I also think it is interesting that other than those intimately involved (mayo, nicoll, etc) it doesn’t seem any individuals got involved in this campaign in an monetary way.

    Most I know don’t know anything about this measure. But they assume it’s good. So they certainly did a better marketing job this time around (vs. Measure D) but it’s still a HUGE FAT no from here. And this list, just makes it even more clear.

  8. Doctor J Says:

    The tragedy is the MDUSD Board spent nearly $300,000 of District money to have this failed election — where is the accountability ? That money could have been used to support students !!

  9. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, did you get invited to the Victory party tonight at El Torito at 8 pm ? You could probably interview all 5 of the Board plus the Supt.

  10. Nobody Says:

    Hopefully interview them on their crushing defeat.

  11. tharrington Says:

    I didn’t get officially invited, but I did find out about it. I won’t be attending, because we’ll be updating election coverage as results are released online. We may send a photographer, though. I’ll be in contact with the campaign spokeswoman by cell phone, as well as with Kris Hunt from the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association.

  12. Doctor J Says:

    The voters spoke after getting barraged with campaign flyers. I hope you keep up with your records request. I have a feeling that Diablogate coverup isn’t over yet. When the voters realize the extent of the moving target, and the budget cuts that will be coming down even with the bond passage, there will be backlash.

  13. tharrington Says:

    I’ll be writing a follow-up story tomorrow. The board expects to vote on more budget cuts June 15 and June 22.
    Trustees will also need to prioritize the projects, establish a new Measure C oversight committee and decide when to start selling bonds.

  14. Trapped in MDUSD Says:

    Does the MDUSD Board have a reliable estimate of the interest rate that investors will expect for such an unusual bond with a 42-year life and deferred principal payments (all to stay within the existing bond service cap)? A brief Google search suggests that this will be a very unusual bond issue for the muni market. If they need to offer a rate higher than what the bankers have promised to get the deal, they will have to borrow less, to stay within the current bond service cap. That will mean even fewer benefits for current students, in return for the exorbitant interest costs. It’s one thing to estimate the rate investors will require for a plain vanilla security. It’s another thing entirely to estimate the interest rate required to borrow money with a crazy bond like this.

  15. tharrington Says:

    Fiscal services director Bryan Richards told me: “No one knows what the interest rate on the bond will be until the day of the bond sale, because the market’s continually fluctuating. The bond market can go any which way at any given time, it can vary quite widely.”
    Interest rates on the 2002 Measure C bonds, which averaged 25 year terms for maturity, ranged from 1.559 percent to 5.19 percent.
    A table at the bottom of Dan Borenstein’s column regarding Measure C shows a spreadsheet with estimates for debt service on the 2010 Measure C bonds at
    According to this chart, debt service would start at about $1.9 million a year in 2010 and rise to $29.7 million by 2031, when the 2002 Measure C bonds would be paid off. Then, debt service on the 2010 bonds would jump to $45.9 million in 2032 and rise to $100.2 million in 2048, $105.2 million in 2049, $110.5 million in 2050, $116 million in 2051 and $89.9 million in 2052. In other words, taxpayers would spend more than $520 million in payments on the $348 million bonds in the last five years, compared to about $12.1 million over the first five years.
    The Acalanes district also approved bonds with 40-year maturity rates in 2008.
    According to the Mt. Diablo district’s bond resolution, “the maximum rate of interest on any bond shall not exceed the maximum rate allowed by Education Code Sections 15140 to 15143, as modified by Government Code Section 53531.”

  16. Doctor J Says:

    DIABLOGATE is starting to get interesting. I hope CCT pursues the records request relentlessly. Someone has to get to the truth.

  17. tharrington Says:

    I spoke to the district’s financial adviser Jon Isom and he told me the interest rate he used to estimate the $1.8 billion cost was a little more than 7 percent. However, he said the total cost could be below $1.8 billion and it is impossible to know for sure what the interest rates will be until the bonds are sold. He also said that the longer the term of the loan, the higher the interest rate.

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