BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
The five candidates for Palo Alto City Council have raised a total of $253,186.70 in campaign contributions — an impressive amount historically, but still less than had been raised by late October in 2014 or 2016.
Council races in Palo Alto haven’t always garnered a quarter-million dollars in campaign contributions.
The 2007, 2009 and 2012 races saw total fundraising amounts between $95,019 and $119,528. In 2014, contributions shot up to $287,464, and in 2016, the nine candidates collected an amazing $394,128.
That year may have attracted so much money because it was a hotly divisive election. The 2016 race split the council between the pro-development majority and the Residentialist minority. This year has been quieter, possibly because the council voted to cut commercial growth in half before the issue made it to the ballot as a citizens initiative.
Four candidates raised over $50,000
This year, the top four candidates have each raised between $51,731 (Vice Mayor Eric Filseth) and $73,824 (Councilman Cory Wolbach).
That range is similar to 2016, when the top five contenders raised between $53,973 (Mayor Liz Kniss) and $87,292 (former Planning Commissioner Arthur Keller).
This time around, Wolbach is in the lead, with newcomer Alison Cormack, the former president of the Palo Alto Library Foundation, in second at $67,078.
Councilman Tom DuBois has raised $59,634 and Filseth is in fourth with $51,731.
Newcomer Pat Boone, a former TV reporter who moved to Palo Alto two years ago, has raised just $919. That puts him behind the three worst fundraisers in 2016, who raised between $2,500 (Len Ely) and $6,363 (Greer Stone).
Wolbach’s recent donors include Palo Alto economist Stephen Levy ($1,250), the Palo Alto firefighters union ($1,000), Tektive Design architect Pearl Renaker ($950), Canopy founding board member Susan Rosenberg ($500), Upper Ranch Holdings management consultant Vlad Enache ($250), retired Compton Foundation Executive Director Edith Eddy ($250), the California Association of Realtors ($250) and GreenWaste of Palo Alto general manager Scott Scholz ($200).
Contribution from Alcheck returned
Wolbach returned a $250 campaign contribution to planning commissioner Michael Alcheck, who has been criticized for his disruptive behavior on the dais.
“I did not ask for it and felt it inappropriate to accept it, given the controversies surrounding Mr. Alcheck and the planning commission,” Wolbach told the Post yesterday. Alcheck didn’t return a request for comment.
Alcheck has also been accused of a conflict of interest relating to his participation in a discussion about rules relating to carports and garages while awaiting city approval to convert carports into garages at two houses he owns.
Cormack has gotten donations from Palo Alto engineer Shilpa Singhal ($1,000), retired businesswoman Azadeh Hariri ($750), Newmark Cornish and Carey Senior Managing Director Patty McGuigan ($500), Palo Alto consultant Ellen Krasnow ($500), Palo Alto retiree Patricia Hanley ($375), Palo Alto homemaker Louise Beattie ($300), Palo Alto retiree Keith Gilbert ($250), Ohio retiree Susan Thom ($250), Palo Alto homemaker Dana Fenwick ($250), Atherton retiree Bill Bates ($250), Stewart Woods and Associates fundraising counsel Robert Woods ($250) and Palo Alto retiree Hal Mickelson ($200).
DuBois has raised funds from Palo Alto retiree Jeff Hoel ($5,000), Palo Alto engineer Roger McCarthy ($1,500), Palo Alto retiree Judy Koch ($1,000), Palo Alto retiree Robert McIntyre ($1,000), Palo Alto retiree William Quackenbush ($1,000), Palo Alto retiree Kit Gibbs ($1,000), Palo Alto investor Paula Rantz ($950), Palo Alto retiree Michael Rantz ($850), Nellie Analytics producer Christian Pease ($710), Vice Mayor Eric Filseth ($500), Planning Commissioner Doria Summa ($500), Palo Alto resident Sally Rudd ($500), Palo Alto retiree Neilson Buchanan ($500), retired Stanford professor Malcolm Beasley ($500), Saratoga retiree D. Michael Griffin ($500), retired computer scientist Thomas Rindfleisch ($500) and educational psychologist Janet Dafoe ($500).
New contributors to Filseth’s campaign include Palo Alto retiree Judith Koch ($1,000), retired engineer Roger McCarthy ($1,000), Palo Alto retiree William Quackenbush ($1,000), Palo Alto resident Kit Gibbs ($1,000), Palo Alto retiree Robert McIntyre ($1,000), Palo Alto resident Paula Ratz ($950), Palo Alto retiree Michael Rantz ($850), Palo Alto homemaker Megan Barton ($500), Palo Alto resident Sally Ann Rudd ($500), Palo Alto retiree Gale Johnson ($500) and Stanford computer scientist Thomas Rindfleisch ($500).
Boone has received just two donations since Sept. 23, from Palo Alto retiree Suzanne Keehn ($150) and Publishing Power senior manager Cindy Goral ($99).