CONCORD -- In a final push before the Nov. 6 election, the city's influential police union has spent thousands to support its two candidates running in a field of 11 for two City Council seats, recent campaign finance reports show.
The Concord Police Association, in the first three weeks of October, spent $13,552 on campaign advertisements and mailers supporting incumbent Dan Helix and planning commissioner Tim McGallian, using contributions from its members.
Another $500 went to Ken Carlson, a Concord police officer who is running for Pleasant Hill City Council.
The police union raised $9,250 from member contributions of $5 or $20 from Oct. 1-20 -- the final fundraising period to be disclosed before the Nov. 6 election. By comparison, the 11 candidates raised a total of $12,797 over the same period.
One of the police union mailers features a photograph of a masked man with a gun burglarizing a home and includes burglary and other statistics from the previous two years. A near identical mailer by the Pleasant Hill Police Officers Association was sent in support of Carlson and Pleasant Hill council candidate Matt Rinn.
The police union's campaign tactics came under fire by residents and candidates this past week over a campaign mailer attacking candidate Ed Birsan. The anti-Birsan mailer accused Birsan of misrepresenting himself as a Concord businessman and not using his full name, Edi Ersalesi Birsan, on the ballot.
In response, Birsan posted a Concord business license showing his business is in Concord on local Internet blogs and pointed voters to his website, where it is explained that he changed his name as a teenager to honor the stepfather who raised him.
Helix and McGallian, who are endorsed by the police union, each said they had no knowledge of the mailer until it reached mailboxes.
Meanwhile, the fundraising by candidates has slowed in the month before the election.
Over the past fundraising period, McGallian led all candidates by raising $4,435, followed by Harmesh Kumar with $4,119, Helix with $2,650 and Birsan $1,348.
Carol Longshore raised $125, Terry Kremin raised $75 and Marnie Sheehan Carter raised $25. Vernon Kurpieski, Suzanne Davis-Lucey, Alany Helmantoler and Robert David Camacho received no contributions.
To date, Helix maintains a huge overall financial lead with $75,249, most of which is from a $1,000 fundraising event. Helix spent $31,205 over the past month on campaign research, designing, printing and mailing campaign mailers, repairing and replacing stolen political signs and on consultants.
David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.