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Council Candidates Get Early Start on Fundraising as Qualifying Process Continues

Santa Barbara City Council candidates have started fundraising for the November election, and are getting officially qualified to be on the ballot.

Although 14 people have taken out nomination papers from the City Clerk’s Office for the council and mayor races, most are just starting to turn them in and seeking to be declared eligible.

As of Thursday, Councilmen Frank Hotchkiss and Bendy White, mayoral candidate Wayne Scoles and council candidate Matthew Kramer have qualified for the ballot.

Hotchkiss and White are seeking re-election, while Councilman Grant House can’t run for a third time due to term limits.

Mayor Helene Schneider, who has served on the council since 2004, is running again and has three challengers who have pulled papers so far. They include Brendan Fereday, Scoles and Ethan Shenkman. None has filed Form 410 paperwork to raise campaign funds.

Fereday is a local swim teacher, Scoles is known for his public confrontation with Police Chief Cam Sanchez at a park and civil lawsuit alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution, and Shenkman is a frequent public commenter at local meetings.

Schneider has raised $91,164 this year toward her re-election campaign, and has contributions from dozens of individuals, businesses and local organizations such as the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee.

Her campaign also contributed $2,500 to White’s re-election bid and $1,500 toward David Landecker’s campaign for a council seat.

Campaign finance disclosure documents were due Wednesday for the period between Jan. 1 and June 30. 

Those running for council include Megan Diaz Alley, a member of the Parks & Recreation Commission, who has raised $16,424, with a $2,000 loan from herself and $6,000 from Santa Barbara retired writer Russell Trenholme.

Cruzito Herrera Cruz, a community social worker who ran in 2009 and 2011, is running again this year, but has not filed documents to fundraise for his campaign.

Gregg Hart, who served two terms as councilman from 1996 to 2004, is trying to win a seat again this year. He’s been the public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments since 2005 and hadn’t filed fundraising documents as of Thursday.

Hotchkiss, who is running for a second term, has raised $35,772 so far this year, while White has raised $40,660.

Planning Commissioner Michael Jordan is running as well, and has loaned himself $4,000 for a total of $10,709.

Landecker, retired head of the Environmental Defense Center, is also trying to get onto the council again. He was previously elected in 1989 but resigned from the post in 1991 after facing charges for switching the price tag on a garden tool at a hardware store. He has raised $32,832 so far.

Jason Nelson, known for a series of stories he wrote for a Santa Barbara newspaper about his deployment to Afghanistan, has raised $9,145 for his cause, according to City Clerk documents.

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Lesley Wiscomb has been fundraising for months as well, with $18,634 raised since January for her campaign.

When candidates return their nomination papers — with city resident signatures — the City Clerk’s Office determines whether each person is qualified to run for office.

For upcoming 2014 races, candidates are starting to fundraise way ahead of time. 

Rep. Lois Capps is planning to run again, and has $622,919 in cash on hand, according to the Federal Election Commission. Her challenger, Union Bank manager Paul Coyne from Santa Maria, has loaned himself $30,750 and spent it.

Assemblyman Das Williams is running for re-election, too, and already has $195,394 in the bank for his 2014 campaign, according to Secretary of State records.

County offices of sheriff, district attorney and Board of Supervisors positions for the second and fifth districts are all on the June 2014 ballot, but challengers have only signed on for the sheriff-coroner race so far.

Sheriff Bill Brown is running for re-election and is challenged by Sgt. Sandra Brown, who oversees the Coroner’s Office, and Ryan Smith, a police officer at UCSB.

Both Bill Brown and Sandra Brown have started fundraising, including loans to their own campaigns, according to the County Elections Office.

Bill Brown had leftover money from his previous campaign, about $24,000, and has $17,932 left in cash, records show. He paid back $5,000 loans to himself and his wife, Donna, this year, and brought in $4,250 in contributions between January and June 30, according to campaign finance statements. 

Sandra Brown has been fundraising since last year, and raised $23,622 total, said her treasurer, Ed Murray. That includes a $4,000 loan to herself.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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