HERCULES--Three of the four candidates in the race for two seats on the Hercules City Council have amassed more than $10,000 for their campaigns, according to their latest state filings.
Incumbent Joe Eddy McDonald was far in the lead, followed by challenger Myrna de Vera and incumbent Kris Valstad, with challenger John Delgado a distant fourth; two council seats are at stake on Nov. 2.
There is a fifth financial player in the race: Hercules Bayfront LLC, which wants to put a New Urbanism-inspired development on the waterfront, recently spent more than $8,000 to oppose McDonald and his fellow incumbent, Kris Valstad, records show.
McDonald, retired postmaster of Rodeo and Hercules, raised almost $16,700 as of Oct. 16, mostly from unions and businesses, private citizens and several West County office-seekers and officeholders, according to campaign finance records.
His largest donation was $2,000 from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 302.
He also got $1,000 from Sims Metal Management of Richmond; $1,000 from the campaign of West County school board incumbent Charles Ramsey; $750 from Contra Costa Coalition for Business; $750 from Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 159; and $500 from The Red Barn Co., the developer of Hercules New Town Center and Hercules Market Hall.
McDonald also took in $500 from D'Oro Construction of Southern California, which gave the same amount to challenger John Delgado.
McDonald also got $500 in late August from AndersonPacific LLC, a principal in Hercules Bayfront LLC. But in a reversal, Hercules Bayfront's campaign committee spent more than $4,000 opposing McDonald and a similar amount opposing Valstad through a mailer, campaign finance records show.
Principals of Hercules Bayfront as well as waterfront residents have accused the city and the council of a lack of focus on getting the Bayfront project done, a charge city officials have denied; at a candidate forum in September, McDonald characterized the controversy as a "manufactured issue."
McDonald also itemized numerous donations of less than $100, even though under state rules he could have lumped them together and reported them as a sum; among his small contributors were several past and former officials of NEO Consulting Inc., the company that runs Hercules' Affordable Housing Department under contract, including former CEO Taylor Oliva; former board members Adrianna Oliva and Gabrielle Oliva; and current employee Jonathen Sakamoto.
Lelan Inc., a consultant working on a city plan to annex unincorporated areas along Highway 4, gave $99; Lelan principal Tom Koch gave the same amount, as did Kathryn Koch, listed at the same address as Lelan.
Former Richmond firefighters union President Darrell Reese also gave $99, as did Gregory Reese, listed at the same Rodeo address.
John Stiers, listed with the Hercules City Hall address, contributed $95.
Other small-amount donors to McDonald's campaign include the wife of City Manager Nelson Oliva; fellow Hercules Council members Don Kuehne and Joanne Ward; San Pablo councilman Paul Morris; Cristen Sakamoto; and Audrey Miles, a candidate for re-election to the West County school board.
De Vera, a Planning Commissioner and owner of a San Francisco insurance agency, raised almost $10,600 as of mid-October, including almost $9,500 cash, mostly in small donations from small businesses and individuals, including consultant Celia McCoy, $320; teacher Ernesto de Paz, $280; former Hercules Mayor Frank Batara, $270; educational consultant Anton Jungherr, $250; Evelyn Balico, $120; and Kuehne, $100.
Her largest contributor was resident Victoria Calub, who gave $877 cash and also made a non-monetary contribution of drinks for the same amount, according to de Vera's latest campaign finance filing. Another cash contribution of $877 came from the Calub Elsee Fund.
Valstad reported raising just over $10,400 in what is essentially a self-financed campaign, except for about $400 of it; he and his wife lent $7,000 to the campaign, and he reported they gave a total of $3,023 in two contributions that actually add up to $4,023. Valstad is from a developer family that was active in Hercules mostly in the 1980s.
Delgado, a San Francisco Assistant District Attorney, had raised just over $5,600 as of Oct. 16, mostly in small donations from individuals, including $250 from Jungherr and 100 from Rodeo-Hercules Fire District candidate Bill Kelly; the total also includes $1,300 of Delgado's own funds and $650 from his father.
McDonald has spent more than $11,200, including more than $5,800 in October, mostly for campaign literature, signs and refreshments. He also gave $250 to Williams' campaign for the fire board; $100 to the campaign of Rhonda Harris for the Richmond City Council; and $75 to the campaign of Richmond mayoral candidate John Ziesenhenne, records show.
De Vera had spent more than $9,000 as of Oct. 16, including more than $4,000 this month, mostly on literature, postage and signs.
Valstad reported expenditures totaling $8,800, including signs, literature and print advertisements. The expenses include two that were totaled at $3,023 although they add up to $4,023.
Delgado has spent $4,400, mostly on postage, signs, literature and other campaign paraphernalia.