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Here's a First Look at Fresno City Council Campaign Donations

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The Fresno city clerk’s office has released the first Form 497s, the documents that reveal who is donating to campaigns.


Politics 101
David Taub
Campaigns need to report every contribution of $1,000 or more from a single source. Full financial reports are not due until late April.
Here is what the first report looks like for Fresno City Council candidates. The most an individual donor can contribute is $4,400 for the primary (with another $4,400 for the general election).

District 1

Esmeralda Soria 
Donor Amount
Richard Caglia $4,400
Charles Brumbaugh $4,200
Benjamin Lingo $4,200
Jacob Lingo $4,200
Fresno Police Officers Association PAC $2,500
Central Valley Residents for Responsible Government $2,000
Mid Valley Disposal, Inc. $1,900
RP Painting $1,500
Club One Casino $1,000
IBEW Local #100 C.O.P.E. California PAC $1,000
Park Place G/S Partners, LP $1,000
The Rios Company $1,000
Voice $1,000

The Skinny

Three of Soria’s top individual donors — Charles Brumbaugh, Benjamin Lingo and Jacob Lingo — are executives at Integrated Community Development. The city council approved one of their affordable housing projects in December, with Soria in the 5-2 majority. That project raised eyebrows over its $430,000 per unit price tag.
Soria, as well as the entire council, approved another controversial project, a massive industrial park in south Fresno, developed by Caglia and his family. He also donated to Councilman Luis Chavez (see below). Listed as an attorney on campaign documents, Caglia is also a State Center Community College District trustee.
Soria is unopposed for the council seat. But she can use the contributions in future campaigns or donate to other candidates.
Henry R. Perea is behind Central Valley Residents for Responsible Government. The former city councilman and county supervisor unsuccessfully ran for Fresno mayor in 2016. The treasurer of the account is  Alicia Isaacs, his former campaign manager. Perea is listed as the assistant treasurer.
In addition to donations to Soria and Esparza, the campaign donated to Al Galvez for Madera County Supervisor ($2,000), Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor ($1,000), Fresno State Foundation ($1,000) and Emerge California ($1,000), a “training program for Democratic women,” according to the group’s website.
Veva Islas is a product of the Emerge program. But Perea’s group donated to her opponent, Nelson Esparza, in the District 7 race.

District 3

Tate Hill  
Donor Amount
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1027 $2,500
Craig Scharton  
Donor Amount
Robert Wood, Generation Contractors $1,500

The Skinny

ATU is the union of Fresno city bus drivers. … Candidate Miguel Arias says he has held fundraisers, including this past Friday (March 23) in Sacramento, but all donors gave under the reportable $1,000. …Daren Miller’s campaign received $1,500 from the Central Valley Progressive PAC, and it was reported to the Fresno County clerk’s office — but not the city clerk. No 497 forms filed: Arias, Larry Burrus, Miller, Sean Sanchez and Kimberly Tapscott-Munson

District 5

Luis Chavez
Donor  Amount
Fresno Police Officers Association PAC $5,000
Richard Caglia $4,400
UA Local 246 Plumbers and Pipefitters Cope Committee $2,500
District Council of Iron Workers Political Action League $2,500
Michael Der Manouel, insurance executive $1,200
California Real Estate PAC-California $1,200

The Skinny

Paul Condon, Jose Barraza and Paula Yang did not file 497s. … FPOA lists itself as a Small Contributor Committee, which has higher donation limits than an individual or company, per Fresno campaign law.

District 7

Nelson Esparza  
Donor Amount
Central Valley Residents for Responsible Government $3,000
Veva Islas  
Donor Amount
Eva K. Grove $1,000
Kamaljeet Khaira $1,000
Brian Whelan  
Donor Amount
Russell Harris, President/CEO of Harris Family Enterprises $4,400
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1027 $3,000
CTN3 388 Fresno CA, LLC $2,500
Bonadelle Homes, Inc. $2,500
DeWayne Zinkin, local attorney and developer $2,200
Patterson for Assembly 2018 $1,000


The Skinny

Grove is a Bay Area philanthropist. Her late husband, Andrew, founded Intel. …Khaira is a health care consultant. … Harris Family Enterprises is a Madera almond grower. … DTCN3 388 Fresno CA, LLC is the corporate name of The Marketplace at El Paseo (Herndon Avenue and Highway 99). … Islas’ campaign also received $2,000 from the Central Valley Progressive PAC. However, it was reported to the county clerk,  not the city clerk.

Campaign Notes

State Sen. Tom Berryhill is no longer running for Board of Equalization. Instead, he is running for an open supervisorial seat in Stanislaus County. … Defense attorney Roger Wilson picked up the FPOA endorsement for Fresno County Superior Court judge. He is running against senior deputy district attorney Billy Terrance for the seat to be vacated by Edward Sarkisian Jr.

ACLU Issues Watchdog Report On 2017-18 Fresno Unified Budget

A new report detailed how Fresno Unified allegedly misused state funds, intended for high-need students.
ACLU attorney Abre’ Conner wrote the 24-page document, noting how the state’s education department “compelled FUSD to improve transparency regarding their spending plan for millions of dollars in supplemental and concentration funds earmarked for high-need students, and redirect some of these funds away from expenses such as janitorial staffing, increased policing, and surveillance.”
Fresno Building Health Communities and the civil rights organization Advancement Project published the report with the ACLU.
“Fresno Unified appreciates ACLU’s feedback provided in their report this afternoon,” a district spokesperson said via email Monday. “The district is pleased to report that all concerns were resolved in May 2017. …  The district worked in collaboration with California Department of Education Director Jeff Breshears in establishing and implementing the corrective actions resulting in an approved 2017/18 LCAP. ”
 

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email