Council Candidates Raise Collective $395K

Abbe Land has the most money in her campaign fund with $102,182, followed by John D’Amico with $96,016.

West Hollywood City Council candidates have raised a collective total of $95,755 in the past month according to campaign financial statements released last week.

That brings the total amount that all candidates have available to spend on this election to $395,049, a staggering amount for a City Council election.

John D’Amico has raised the most money in the past month, a whopping $44,528. Far behind him in second place is Steve Martin with $15,937. Next in the month’s money race are incumbents Lindsey Horvath with $12,465 and with $12,075.

Scott Schmidt is in fifth place with $6,851. Incumbent lags way behind in the month’s fundraising with $2,900 while Mito Aviles came in with $999.

Candidates Lucas John and Mark Gonzaga have both filed forms stating they will not raise or spend more than $1,000 on their campaigns and therefore are not required to file any other financial breakdowns.

Although these latest financial reports show who’s been working the fundraising circuit the hardest in February, the overall totals are very different. Adding the February totals to the totals reveal that Land, who has served on the council for 18 years, still has the most money in her campaign fund with $102,182.

Following closely on her heels is D’Amico with a total of $96,016.

Horvath, who was appointed to the council in May 2009 after the death of longtime Councilman Sal Guariello and consequently has never faced the voters before, came in third with a total of $87,393.

Meanwhile, Heilman, who has served on the City Council continuously since 1984 has $70,120 available to him. Martin comes in fifth with $17,777, followed by Schmidt with $16,868 and Aviles pulls up the rear with $4,693.

The individual reports offer several noteworthy items.  

D’Amico has loaned his campaign a total of $25,000, almost a quarter of his funds, since he entered the race—$10,000 in December and $15,000 in February. Although it is a common practice for a candidate to loan his campaign money, the size of that loan is unusual. However that amount is not outrageous considering that in 2010, Meg Whitman loaned her unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign more than $140 million.

Other candidates have also loaned their campaigns money. Martin provided $7,500 to his campaign, more than 40 percent of the money in his fund. Schmidt also wrote a check for $1,000 to his campaign and Aviles’ business, CM Squared, loaned his campaign $99.

As for the individual contributions, the most startling were on Heilman’s statement. Of the $2,900 that Heilman raised in the past month, 61.20 percent of it, $1,775, came from attorneys working for the law firm Latham & Watkins. Each of the five Latham & Watkins attorneys donating (including Jim Arnone, who serves as board treasurer for the Weho Library Fund and will have an elevator vestibule named after him in the new library) deals in land use and/or real estate law. 

Latham & Watkins attorneys also contributed $250 to Horvath’s campaign and $500 to Land’s.

Other noteworthy contributions include $500 each to Heilman and Land from Bakersfield-based Russo Construction, a company that also donated $500 to Horvath in January. 

revealed that development dollars account for almost a third of Land and Heilman’s campaign funds, and a fourth of Horvath’s. Development dollars include money from developers, lobbyists for developers, land use attorneys, real estate brokers, contractors and architects—all people who have a financial interest in property development.

Challengers for the three City Council seats, especially Martin and D’Amico, have charged that the incumbents are beholden to developers for sizable donations and consequently vote to approve their construction projects despite residents' objections.

Also noteworthy, the Iranian American Jewish Federation, which has a temple on Crescent Heights at Fountain Avenue, made $500 contributions to all three incumbents as well as D’Amico, Martin and Schmidt. No other organization or individual has given donations to six of the candidates.  

Records also show that Heilman has paid $2,033 in rent on the Movietown Plaza campaign headquarters he shares with Horvath and Land. In the first pre-election statement released in January, Heilman did not report paying any rent, a discrepancy that caused candidate Schmidt to file a letter of complaint with City Attorney asking for an investigation. 

Land also paid $2,033 for the February rent on their campaign headquarters, but Horvath paid nothing. However Horvath’s first pre-election statement from January shows that she paid $2,033 that month.  

Given that Land listed paying $6,100 in rent on her first financial statement, it appears that Land covered the entire rent in January and that Horvath paid her portion of the February rent early. The legality of such an arrangement is questionable and will be up to Jenkins to determine.

 There are three seats to vote for in our council election March 8. 

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WeHoOne March 01, 2011 at 04:35 PM
I don't like smoking, but I didn't hear or see anyone clamoring after John and Abbe to ban smoking in We Ho, I didn't see or hear people clamoring after John & Abbe to make Boystown more famiy friendly, tear down facilities that serve gays and replace them with family businesses. John & Abbe seem to be persuing their own personal agendas without regard for the needs and wants of the people. Gay people have spent their lives building up this part of town and gay people have kept it going in the worst of economic times. Still John & Abbe (and their lap pets) want to change that on a personal whim. They want to tone down the "gayness" of Boystown for their developers to bring in more wealthy families. We have to resist this usurping of power by theses two and their cohorts. I think judging by the momentum of this election, they are finding out they are not invincible and above all they are replaceable and we have to keep working on doing that until we restore some semblance of West Hollywood's original vision and direction. 4 of them need to be replaced, all except John Duran.
WeHoOne March 01, 2011 at 04:37 PM
P.S. I was told that during the Prop 8 Protest, Abbe Land climbed on top of a car and yelled at the protesters to clear the streets and go home. Another little gesture of control by a control freak if you ask me. If we had listened to her, there would not have been an anti Pop 8 protest and we would not have had the loud resistance we had and the strong movement we had. To me it was just another political opportunist shooting off the mouth to serve her own interests.
Bob March 01, 2011 at 07:20 PM
It all boils down to money. It's not personal. Anyway why are 100 people who live in a high rise good and the person who wants to build the same high rise next to them evil? Shouldn't they all move out and tear down their own highrise before they complain.
Bob March 01, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Do you think she really cares about Gay people getting married? She probably voted against it in private. She just tells the gays what they want to hear and takes in those gay dollars. Abbe Land is a straight married woman that wears a star david on her reelection photo. There is some term about playing both sides against the middle for profit. I forgot how it is explained but the person in the middle takes in all the money.
joninla February 06, 2012 at 02:35 PM
OK - A little late, but 1+1 still equals 2. FOLLOW: What is the direct connection between the Developers and their funding that controls all the City's Decision Making (I mean crazy, overpriced, oversized and unwanted developments)? RIGHT HERE! The Law Firm Latham & Watkins ties the corruption together. Latham & Watkins (the #1 & most expensive firm in L.A.) represented the "non-profit" that wanted just to build 'affordable low income units' on the 'Tara' Project - all the way to the CA Supreme Court - Losing and costing the City (alone) $800,000 for legal fees (and the non-profit must have paid even more for Latham & Watkins). WELL WELL WELL - 5 attorneys from Latham & Watkins (stooges - just names for their wealthy developer client who wanted to contribute in excess and anonymously to re-elect the corrupt incumbents). Latham & Watkins follows the strictest rules about not representing any clients with conflicts of interests. (ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGES WOULD PREVENT IT FOR ANY LAWYER/LAW FIRM) THEY HAVE JOINED, HEILMAN (land) to the Tara scam Development, and the Developers who retain Latham & Watkins for their business. CONFLICT OF INTERESTS - IMPROPERLY FUNDING CAMPAIGNS THROUGH THE POWERFUL LAW FIRM. FOLLOW THE MONEY ..... FINALLY THE CRUMBS CAME TOGETHER.


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