Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 11:31 am | Fair 57º


Opponent Files Complaint Over Pro-Measure B Mailings

The complaint centers on reporting of the funding source for the campaign materials and lack of a Fair Political Practices Commission number

[Noozhawk’s clarification: According to campaign filing reports, Randall Van Wolfswinkel has given $30,000 to pro-Measure B organizations. Of those, Save El Pueblo Viejo received $5,000 from Van Wolfswinkel, according to the filings. An earlier version of this story did not make that clear. The article has been updated below.]

Randall Van Wolfswinkel’s deep pockets are once again committed to supporting Measure B, Santa Barbara’s building height-limit initiative.

The First Texas Homes president, whose company is based in Arlington, Texas, owns a home in Montecito and already had contributed $38,000 to the Yes on B campaign and the campaigns of candidates who support the measure. Now, he’s bankrolling the cost of pro-Measure B mailings.

The mailings were paid for by Preserve Our Santa Barbara, which has major funding provided by Van Wolfswinkel, and were sent to registered voters in the city.

At the Democratic League’s barbecue on Monday, activist Mickey Flacks, a strong opponent of Measure B, said she intended to file a complaint with the city about the mailings because they don’t have a Fair Political Practices Commission number printed on them.

On Tuesday, Flacks confirmed that she filed a complaint with the City Clerk’s Office. She said that without the FPPC number, it’s possible the money used on the campaign materials won’t be reported. Since the mailings disclosed who had funded them but didn’t have a number printed, she said she would “bet your bottom dollar that they don’t have one.”

Van Wolfswinkel has contributed $5,000 to City Council candidate Michael Self and $3,000 to council candidate Frank Hotchkiss, according to the most recent campaign funding statements. He also gave $30,000 to pro-Measure B groups.

While Preserve Our Santa Barbara’s Web site has the same information printed on the mailings, it does not say specifically who is behind the group. It is, according to its mission statement, “a group of concerned community members who believe our city leaders have — on a whole host of issues — lost touch with the voters who have elected them to office.”

The group has endorsed Self and Hotchkiss as well as mayoral candidate and Councilman Dale Francisco and council candidate Cathie McCammon.

Both Francisco and McCammon are on the steering committee of Save El Pueblo Viejo, an organization headed by Bill Mahan that petitioned for the height-limit initiative.

A disclaimer on its Web site said the group was not authorized by a city candidate. Its Facebook group has no connections to any other local people or organizations.

The FPPC regulates political campaigning and lobbying practices and requires disclosure of all receipts and expenditures.

Candidates, officeholders and campaign committees are required to disclose funds — whether the committees are controlled by candidates, recipients, major donors or independent entities. Francisco said candidate committee literature isn’t required to have FPPC numbers printed on it, but wasn’t sure about other committees.

While Francisco has met Van Wolfswinkel and said he fully supports the Preserve Our Santa Barbara message, he added that he didn’t know about the group or mailings until they happened.

“I have no idea who else is on this committee, but from what I’ve seen, it looks like they’re doing a good job,” Francisco said.

The Measure B debate will continue at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Fleischmann Auditorium at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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