PINOLE -- Five months after Election Day, campaigning for the City Council has resumed, with Councilman Phil Green's disclosure that he is running again -- in November 2014.
Green, who has had some difficulty with what he says are increasingly complex state campaign finance reporting requirements, filed a "Candidate Intention Statement" form for the 2014 election, with the Pinole City Clerk on March 27. He also filed a "Statement of Organization" form for Friends of Phil Green and Committee to Re-elect Phil Green for Council 2014.
"I like to get started early," Green said in a phone call Monday. In fact, Green, who was elected to a four-year term in 2010, began his 2014 re-election campaign at least as far back as the second half of 2012, when, he reports, he bought 100 "Re-Elect Phil Green" posters for $250 plus tax.
In the Nov. 6 election, Green supported Ivette Ricco in a three-person race for two council seats; Ricco finished third, behind incumbents Peter Murray and Roy Swearingen. On its Form 460 campaign finance statement, filed Jan. 30, Friends of Phil Green reported it had made a $1,194.08 monetary contribution to Ricco for a post card. On an expenditure page, it reported the $1,194.08 for the post card plus $900.69 for postage.
The $1,194.08, if correct, could have put Green in violation of a Pinole municipal campaign ordinance that puts a $1,000 limit on monetary contributions by a committee to a candidate, Pinole City Attorney Ben Reyes noted in a March 19 letter to Green. Moreover, that payment, combined with the $900.69 postage, for a total of 2,094.77, would exceed the $2,000 limit for combined monetary and in-kind contributions under the Pinole Municipal Code, Reyes noted.
Luckily for Green, the $1,194.08 entry was just a clerical error, as he reported in amended campaign finance statements; he had erroneously included his own 2014 re-election posters, which cost $271.88 including tax, he told this newspaper.
Deducting the $271.88 from the $1,194.08 initial entry puts the post card expense at $922.20. That amount, added to the $900.69 in postage, is below the $2,000 limit for combined monetary and in-kind contributions.
As for Ricco, Green said in February that she knew nothing about his post card supporting her candidacy. Last month, Ricco's campaign treasurer, Monica Shaw, wrote to the city that the Ricco campaign had no bank records of any such contribution. Ricco, in an email to this newspaper in March, said any cost of materials reported by Green would have been an independent expenditure and not a direct contribution to her campaign.
On Monday, Green could not say yet when or where he would deploy his new 2014 campaign posters.
"We haven't totally decided on that yet," Green said. "There's a few ideas that we have.
"When you start to see them, that's when you'll start to see them."