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Campaign finance: not for the impatient

One thing I hate about elections season: campaign finance. Sure, it could be important, and even interesting, to know which candidates have accepted money from special-interest groups and who’s backing whom. But getting one’s hands on those financial statements always ends up being a big pain in the butt.

Yesterday was the deadline for candidates to submit their financial statements. So my plan was to pick up the statements from the Registrars’ Office this morning. Simple, right? Since I had gone into work first and was in Fremont already, I decided to take BART to Oakland. Had I known I would spend more than 15 minutes driving around the BART lot looking for a parking space, I would have walked from my office. (Wasn’t the point of charging $1 for parking to decrease the number of people who park at the lot?)

Finally, I get to the Registrars’ Office and it turns out the financial statements aren’t processed. I was told to return in a week. If memory serves me correctly, it didn’t use to take this long to get the statements.

Not only did the Registrars’ Office not have the most recent financial statements ready, but it had no record (at least not in the binders available for public viewing) of any of the New Haven school board candidates filing to run (something they had to do in August.) One of the employees tried to be helpful, but the best answer she could come up with was “perhaps the file will turn up.” (Oh yeah, she also told me the office had just been rearranged, with people moving desks, etc., and that some files were still in boxes. Couldn’t the registrar have picked a better time to move things around than one month before the elections?)

Long story short, it may be another week or more before you see a story about campaign finance for the school board candidates (unless I can get copies of statements from the candidates themselves).

Matt, our Fremont reporter, is lucky. City Council candidates submit their financial statements to City Hall, so he’s usually able to get his candidates’ statements in a timely manner.

Linh Tat