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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Campaign spending limits coming to Pleasanton

Uploaded: Apr 15, 2021
The Pleasanton City Council majority is wasting little time in trying to put its stamp on the city.
Their latest move is moving to establish campaign contribution limits for council elections. Mayor Karla Brown joined with Councilwomen Julie Testa and Valerie Arkin to direct the staff to develop an ordinance limiting the amount individuals can contribute. Councilmembers Kathy Narum and Jack Balch opposed the motion.
The tactic is a familiar one and was used literally decades ago in Livermore when an anti-growth council established a $100 limit on campaign contributions. Reading the coverage by Julia Baum, it’s notable that Testa labelled money as the problem in politics and said she could not believe needing more than $15,000 to run a council campaign. As Balch pointed out, retail door-to-door politics work, but were virtually impossible in a pandemic environment when the last thing most people wanted is a stranger knocking on their door.
Campaign spending or donation limits are in effect at the federal level and local levels. What’s not included is the amount a wealthy individual could lend or donate to themselves—First Amendment issues or the amounts that can go through political action committees. That’s how the national parties funnel millions of dollars from wealthy donors into campaign coffers while individuals comply with their contribution limits.
What this will mean in the long term remains to be seen. Neighborhoods in Pleasanton are rolling over again (a pattern I’ve seen three times) and we’re seeing highly educated, well compensated professionals move in to raise their families here in a community with a high quality of life and quality schools. Changing neighborhoods put a premium on reaching voters new to the community and that takes money as well as volunteers.
The irony in this situation is what happened in Livermore. The no-growth proponents in the 1970s-80s figured out how to use the political action committee through the Friends of Livermore. The organization laundered tens of thousands of dollars into backing its slate of candidates and successfully elected councilmembers. The challenge came when their elected candidates had backbones and evaluated decisions instead of simply toeing the expected line.
The strategy fell apart in 2018 when they could not recruit any candidates to run and had embarrassing flip-flops among those that did run.
The same day I wrote about illumy and its angel funding round, the San Francisco Business Times reported that Pleasanton-based Degreed had just closed its Series D round at $153 million. It also announced that CEO Chris McCarthy was stepping down and was replaced by Dan Levin.
Degreed, founded in 2012, has built a platform that is designed to help companies “upskill” their workforce. It wants to disrupt traditional education and offers companies its platform so motivated employees can consistently improve their skills and learn new ones. It also provides companies with information about the skills of its employees.
The statement said that Degreed grew its employees by 50% to 600 last year and doubled its active users. During McCarthy’s eight years as CEO and COO, revenue grew 76%. After closing the Series D funding, Degreed now has raised about $290 million, according to the Business Times.
Local Journalism.
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Posted by Lahommed, a resident of Dublin,
on Apr 15, 2021 at 10:48 am

Lahommed is a registered user.

Obviously there was a problem with individual campaign donations prior if there is now a want to address it. Politicians play the 3 card monte with the citizens and although the idea of what the mayor and council want to do.......its only now that it is an issue! I do not trust like i have has to be earned. Talk is lets see how this plays out. Now we should talk about the valley's water table....we have expanded beyond need. but never fully addressing the constant drought situation as the valley has ignored for the last 50 years!

Posted by Rich Buckley, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 15, 2021 at 1:56 pm

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

Question, If a newspaper endorses a candidate, should the cash value of the endorsement be part of the limitation? Why should a newspaper be exempt. They are as much creators of false narratives as any other in-kind donor, as they not?

Posted by Mark Dunn, a resident of another community,
on Apr 16, 2021 at 8:35 am

Mark Dunn is a registered user.

I totally agree with you Rich Buckley. The Independent should disclose how much they spend on candidates and campaigns. Great idea!

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Apr 16, 2021 at 7:18 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

Rich Buckley, have you recovered from QANON? You are beginning to make sense.

Posted by Ndna Jnz, a resident of Mohr Park,
on Apr 19, 2021 at 10:11 am

Ndna Jnz is a registered user.

Mr. Hunt: What in the heck is this article about? Once you began talking about Livermore and , you lost me. The bottom line is, small city elections should not require tens of thousands of campaign dollars. Valerie Arkin's 2020 campaign for Pleasanton city councilmember was a successful, low-cost campaign.

Posted by Rich Buckley, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Rich Buckley is a registered user.

Welcome aboard Kevin. You sit there, and I'll sit here and we'll see how it goes. The Tea is Chaga Mushroom Tea.

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