BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Two newcomers seeking a seat on the Redwood City Council have each raised over $10,000 for the first six months of the year, but former mayor Jeff Gee did not have to do any fundraising to have the largest financial war chest so far.
Gee, who left council two years ago, has $24,942 in his campaign fund. That’s money from his aborted 2018 re-election campaign. He did not get any donations between January 1 and June 30 of this year, according to financial forms filed with City Clerk Pam Aguilar last week.
Gee launched a re-election campaign in 2018 but decided not to seek re-election, saying at the time that he decided it was time to let the next generations of leaders serve on council.
At the time, Gee was under investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, a state agency. The FPPC was investigating Gee had a conflict of interest after he voted on a Stanford project while the university was a client of his firm, Swinerton Management and Consulting in San Francisco.
After investigating for nearly three years, the FPPC cleared Gee in July 2019 of any wrongdoing, saying that it found insufficient evidence that Gee would have known about the Stanford projects.
But retired police officer Chris Rasmussen has raised $14,228, not counting a $2,000 loan to himself, and planning commissioner Michael Smith has raised $12,585 since the beginning of the year, not including a $4,000 loan to his campaign.
Rasmussen’s contributors include $2000 from 2018 council contender Christina Umhofer, $5,000 from retired resident Julie Pardini, $500 from Sims Metal Management, $750 from Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 4667, $100 from former Assemblywoman and Mountain View council candidate Sally Lieber and $100 from Harbor Commissioner Nancy Reyering.
Smith has received $1,000 from David Bennett of Bento cannabis delivery and $1,000 from Neil Rudisky the CEO of Juva Life, another cannabis business. He has also received $1,000 from John Parhangui, the CEO of telemedicine business Sami Services, $1,000 from 2018 council contender Jason Galisatus, $500 from Box attorney Leah Perry, $100 from Redwood City School District trustee Dennis McBride, $120 from former Mayor Dick Claire and $100 from current councilwoman Giselle Hale.
Incumbent Janet Borgens has raised $4,650, but because of leftover from her previous council bid, has $6,823 in her war chest. Her contributors include $1,000 from retired resident Julie Pardini, $1,000 from former Pete’s Harbor owner Paula Uccelli, $250 from Port Commissioner Lorianna Kastrop, $500 from Simms Metal Management employee Jill Rodby and $250 from Redwood City School Board trustee Dennis McBride
Incumbent Alicia Aguirre logged just $1,000 in donations for the first six months of the year, all from 2018 candidate Jason Galisatus. However, Aguirre’s total war chest is at $2,826, due to money left over from her previous council bids.
The four others who have expressed interest in a campaign — Planning Commissioner Nancy Radcliffe, pro-growth advocate Isabella Chu, educator Lissette Espinosa-Garnica and newcomer Mark Wolhan did not file any forms indicating they raised any money before June 30.
District elections rather than city-wide races
There are four seats up for grabs this year, but because of the city’s new shift to having its council members be elected by districts within the city instead of throughout the town.
Gee and Radcliffe are facing off for District 1, which represents Redwood Shores. Planning Commissioner Smith is the only one so far running for District 4, which represents the Five Points Area. Chu and Boregns have both formally filed to run for the Friendly Acres District 3. Espinosa-Garnica has indicated an interest in running but has not filed all of the paperwork to run, according to the city’s election webpage.
Similarly, Wolhan has not filed all of the needed paperwork to run for District 7, representing the Farm Hill Area. However, Aguirre and Rasmussen both have.
The final day to file to run for local office is Friday.