Tanaka collects the most campaign dollars, followed by Kou and Burt

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an outdated figure for candidate Cari Templeton. This version reflects her current year-to-date fundraising total.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka, with the help of contributions from developers, has piled up the most money in the Palo Alto City Council race, followed by Councilwoman Lydia Kou and former Mayor Pat Burt.

The candidates have raised a combined $438,539.

Tanaka has collected $88,139 and spent $76,012, according to financial disclosure reports, which were due Thursday.

Tanaka earlier this year received large donations from the real estate industry when Roxy Rapp donated $10,000, John Shenk and Chop Keenan each gave $5,000, Stephen Reller of R&M Properties gave him $1,000, Brad Ehikian of Ehikian Company donated $5,000, and the California Real Estate Political Action Committee gave him $2,500.

Another $2,500 contribution to Tanaka came by Oct. 17 from Urs Hoelzle, a Google engineer whose fellow engineering colleagues in the same company, Feng Wang and Lili Wu, also gave another $302.76 total.

Other contributors included $1,000 from local multi-millionaire tech CEO Guy Gecht, $500 from a lawyer with a firm in San Francisco, $75.88 from Adeles Fan, a real estate investor from Fremont, and $100 from Bay Area Realtor Judy Decker.

Kou, who was second in monetary contributions, raised $67,373 total to date and has spent $50,651.

She received $5,000 contributions from local venture capitalist G. Leonard Baker Jr. of Sutter Hill Venture, accompanied by an equal contribution from wife Mary Anne Baker. She also got a $50 contribution from Eric Nickel, former Palo Alto fire chief, two $900 contributions from Palo Alto retirees Paula and Michael Rantz, and a $500 contribution from Palo Alto retiree Roger Smith.

She gained financial momentum in the most recent reporting period, Sept. 20 to Oct. 17, outraising Tanaka with $16,744 in contributions.

Burt trailed the two with $48,076. His contributors included Kou-donors G. Leonard Baker, Jr., and retired Palo Alto fire chief Eric Nickel — each again with a $5,000 and $50 contribution respectively — $500 from Stanford Physics professor Malcolm Beasley, $250 from Santa Clara Valley Water District board member Gary Kremen, $100 from former Palo Alto mayor Peter Drekmeier.

Cari Templeton raised $47,525, Ed Lauing reported $46,709, Steven Lee raised $44,994, Raven Malone pulled in $43,371, Greer Stone collected $34,786, and Rebecca Eisenberg reported $17,567.

Malone raised the most money during the most recent fundraising period, Sept. 20-Oct. 17, collecting $16,849. The second most active fundraiser during that period was Kou at $16,744.

Ajit Varma raised less than $2,000 and did not need to file his contributions.


  1. I wonder if the developer donations to Tanaka forced the other candidates to raise more money to compete with him? If the developers weren’t pouring money into this race, maybe the other candidates could concentrate on reaching out to voters rather than raising money.

  2. Hopefully money won’t influence Palo Alto voters. Hopefully they’ll look beyond the campaign ads and investigate the positions of the candidates. I worry that if we put the wrong people on council, traffic congestion will become worse. It’s not an issue this fall because of the stay-at-home order, but next year at this time, we’ll be sorry if we’ve put pro-growth people on council like Tanaka.

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