One candidate raises an unusual amount of money in East Palo Alto council race

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

One candidate for East Palo Alto City Council, Regina Wallace-Jones, has raised about 12 times more than the next closest fundraiser in the race, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed by candidates.

Wallace-Jones has raised $28,512, not including the $4,500 she leant herself at the beginning of the campaign, which aside from being more than her competitors, is also more than any of the eight candidates for Menlo Park (biggest war chest belongs to Kirsten Keith at $26,709), and more than four of the seven candidates in Redwood City.

Wallace-Jones said she’s actually spent very little time fundraising on the campaign trail, that all of her fundraising was conducted via Facebook, where she posted a video about her campaign and shared it with her friends.
Wallace-Jones also said fundraising was important in her campaign since, at age 44, she is the youngest of the candidates, the least known in the city and is running against two incumbents (Donna Rutherford and Ruben Abrica), all of which stacked the odds against her getting elected.

Donors listed

Wallace-Jones’ contributors include: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg ($600), Atherton resident Emily Conn ($600), Oakland resident Ronald Berry ($600), CEO of TaskRabbit, Palo Alto resident Stacy Brown-Philpot ($600), from eBay manager Enoch Chen ($400), Vice President of Operations at Woodland Park Communities Pat Coffey ($200), Mike Kramer of Sand Hill Property Co. ($400), Stanford Assistant Vice Provost ($100), fellow candidate Court Skinner ($600) and $500 from the African American Voter Registration Education Program based in Los Angeles.
But despite some of the big names on her donor sheet, Wallace-Jones pointed out that most of her contributions (97% by her count) come from fellow Stanford alums, church friends, friends from her hometown, sorority sisters, work colleagues, labor unions and East Palo Alto residents.

While some people may raise an eyebrow at the contributions from Sand Hill Properties, which is one of the biggest land owners in East Palo Alto, or Facebook employees, Wallace-Jones said her opinion won’t be swayed by the contribution.

“If a voter for one minute believes that my interest and that of the city’s can be bought for a few hundred dollars, then my response is that I am not that cheap. East Palo Alto is not that cheap.” Wallace-Jones said.

$3,000 ceiling for others

Not counting in-kind (non monetary) donations or loans to their campaigns, all other candidates for the council have raised less than $3,000, according to finance filings.

Randal Fields filed a statement saying he will not raise more than $2,000 and Bernardo Huerta has not filed any forms related to how much money he has raised or spent on the campaign trail.

Former Planning Commissioner Court Skinner has raised $2,323 — with $500 from Stanford Research Institute Chemist Linda Hedley, $100 from Menlo Park couple Clem and Jane Maloney, $100 from Menlo Park Attorney Owen Byrd, $500 from the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors and $200 from resident Michael Francois.

Resident Patricia Lopez has raised $1,179, but did not itemize who her donations are from, likely because they are under $100, which legally do not have to be itemized.

Mayor Ruben Abrica has raised $1,000, which includes $500 from the local Plumbers and Steamfitters Union PAC.

Councilwoman Donna Rutherford has raised $450, and has gotten money from Stanford resident Robert Fisk ($132), Menlo Park Attorney Owen Byrd ($100), Berkeley attorney Corrinne Calfee ($100) and from PG&E manager Anna Brooks ($250).

Two seats are up for grabs on the five-member council.

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