This week in big-time campaign cash

Topping this week’s roundup of big ($25,000 or more) spenders on California campaigns and committees is Arizona education and communications magnate Peter Sperling‘s $1.75 million Thursday for Proposition 7, which would require California utilities to procure half of their power from renewable resources by 2025. This brings Sperling’s stake in the measure to $9 million so far.

Bob Wilson of Brooklyn, N.Y., gave $1.4 million Tuesday to the campaign for Proposition 5, which would expand state funding and oversight for treatment and rehab programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees while reducing criminal penalties and limiting courts’ authority to lock up offenders who violate probation or parole. (This donation double’s Wilson’s prior investment in the measure to a total of $2.8 million so far; I’m pretty sure this Bob Wilson is the same retired hedge fund manager and philanthropist Robert W. Wilson who has given substantially to the campaign against Proposition 8.) Meanwhile, the Police Officers Research Association of Califorina (PORAC) political action committee put up $50,000 Wednesday to oppose Proposition 5.

Natural gas giant Chesapeake Energy of Oklahoma City, Okla., put up $1 million Tuesday to support Proposition 10, a $5 billion bond measure called the California Alternative Fuels Initiative that would provide cash incentives to buyers of certain high-fuel-economy and alternative-fuel vehicles as well as to companies researching and developing renewable energy and cleaner cars.

Ponying up this week for the campaign against Proposition 2 — which would prohibit confinement of certain farm animals in ways that don’t let them turn freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs — were Demler Enterprises of Wasco, with $182,827.10 Monday; the Demler-owned Pine Hill Egg Ranch of Ramona, with $105,000 Monday; the Washington, D.C.-based American Farm Bureau Federation, with $50,000 Wednesday; Norco Ranch Inc. of Norco, with $35,967.95 Tuesday; and McAnally Enterprises of Norco, with $25,631.74 Tuesday. Meanwhile, the San Francisco-based Caufield Family Foundation gave $50,000 Wednesday and the New York City-based Humane Society of the United States gave another $33,000 Monday to support Proposition 2.

Healthcare supply heir and billionaire philanthropist Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, Mich., gave $200,000 Wednesday (bringing his total so far to $550,000); UNITE HERE‘s New York City-based issues fund put up $100,000 Saturday; the Oakland-based Service Employees International Union United Health Workers West PAC coughed up $100,000 Wednesday; Jonathan Lewis of Coral Gables, Fla., gave $100,000 Wednesday; “Grey’s Anatomy” star T.R. Knight of New York City sent $50,000 Tuesday; the PAC of SEIU Local 1000, representing state workers, gave $50,000 Wednesday; and firedoglake.com editor Susan McIntosh of Menlo Park gave $30,000 Wednesday for the campaign against Proposition 8, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Equality California shifted $500,000 it had collected into the main “No on 8” fund Thursday. Meanwhile, Dr. Josephine Templeton of Bryn Mawr, Pa., gave $100,000 Tuesday and Laguna Niguel businessman Richard Jordan gave $25,000 Tuesday to support Proposition 8.

The Democratic State Central Committee of California gave $185,000 Monday to Manuel Perez’s 80th Assembly District campaign; $184,000 Tuesday to Fran Florez’s 30th Assembly District campaign; and $35,960.42 Wednesday to former Assemblywoman Hannah Beth Jackson‘s 19th State Senate District campaign. The Merced County Democratic Central Committee kicked in $60,000 Tuesday to Jackson’s campaign, too, and the San Diego County Democratic Party gave her $50,000 Wednesday. The Yolo County Democratic Central Committee gave $50,000 Wednesday to Assemblywoman Lois Wolk’s 5th State Senate District campaign.

Across the aisle, the California Republican Party gave $100,000 Thursday — after the Republican Central Committee of Orange County had given $30,200 and the Republican Party of Riverside County had given $27,600, both Tuesday — to former Assemblyman Tony Strickland‘s 19th State Senate District campaign. The state GOP also handed over $90,000 today for Gary Jeandron’s 80th Assembly District campaign; the Fresno County Republican Central Committee had given Jeandron $30,000 Tuesday. And Livermore businessman and rancher Robert Rao must’ve had some debt left over from his unsuccessful bid in the 15th Assembly District’s GOP primary, because he put $93,818.19 of his own money into his campaign fund Tuesday.

The construction industry’s California Alliance for Jobs Rebuild California Committee gave $300,000 Thursday to support Proposition 1A, the $10 billion bond measure for high-speed rail.

Crime Victims United of California gave $100,000 Saturday to the campaign for Proposition 6, a tough-on-crime package including adult prosecution for gang-related criminals 14 and up; annual criminal background checks for public housing residents; harsher bail conditions and penalties for certain crimes; and so on. Meanwhile, the California School Employees Association‘s political action committee put up $50,000 Tuesday to the joint campaign against Proposition 6 and Proposition 9, the latter of which would expand crime victims’ rights including restitution.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles gave $107,900 Tuesday and the UCSF Foundation in San Francisco gave $35,000 Saturday to support Proposition 3, the Children’s Hospital Bond Act, which would authorize almost $1 billion in bonds to be repaid from state’s General Fund to pay for construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of children’s hospitals. Also, the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems dumped $83,333 into its own issues fund Wednesday, presumably on its way somewhere else… wanna bet where?

Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla of Portola Valley gave $50,000 Wednesday and Judith Koch of Mountain View gave $25,000 Tuesday to oppose Proposition 4, the proposed state constitutional amendment which would require doctors to inform the parent or guardian of a minor 48 hours before providing an abortion to that minor.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.