Finance reports show new high in Pleasanton campaign spending

More than a half-million dollars spent by would-be Oak Grove developer

Campaign finances in the battle over the Oak Grove development show two totally different types of approaches to the issue.

The would-be developer of the property, operating under the name "Frederic Lin Family For Oak Grove," pumped in more than $514,000 in six months, according to campaign finance documents filed with the city of Pleasanton. That money went for everything from high stakes political consulting firm Davies Public Affairs, which received more than $308,000, to nearly $10,000 for a mass mailing campaign.

By contrast, the group opposed to the Oak Grove development, which went by the name "Save Pleasanton's Hills," raised $6,915.28, with the money going largely for signs.

"We ran the drive on a shoestring," said Kay Ayala, chairwoman for the group. "We put out 500 yard signs and that was the most I've seen in any election."

The group worked hard to be visible. Anyone driving the streets of Pleasanton in the afternoon recently would likely have seen volunteers waving signs reading "Vote No on D."

"I had parents that were dropping their kids off, I was calling them, saying, 'Can you go on the street corner?'" Ayala said.

The group also did a one-time door-to-door drop off, covering every home in the city, she said.

Matt Sullivan, a City Council member and one-time supporter of the development and of Measure D, which was defeated last night, said the amount of money spent by the Lin family is unheard of in Pleasanton's history.

"They spent almost 100 times what we spent," Sullivan said. "We have a voluntary expenditures limit in Pleasanton that we put in place a couple years ago."

That cap is $35,000, and the Lin family spent more than 14 times that amount in their effort to win. Sullivan estimated it cost the Lins about $100 a vote.

The list of contributors also reveals two different stories. Campaign documents show all the money spent in support of Measure D came from Frederic Lin, while donations for "Save Pleasanton's Hills" came in small amounts, usually $200 or less, and largely through PayPal. As of its May 22 filing, the group owed more than $400 but has since made that money up, ending with a negative balance of $28.12.

"Ours was truly a grassroots effort," Ayala said. "When you don't have any money, you have to have your feet on the ground."

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Like this comment
Posted by Bobbi
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jun 10, 2010 at 8:03 am

Sad to see that NIMBY's are taking over this great city. When the Lins sue Pleasanton and get a judgment is the grass roots movement going to pay?

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Posted by slappy
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

You have to wonder how much money they expected to extract from the plan if they were willing to drop half a million on just the election. It isn't that we all don't want things to ever change in our town. The whole thing stinks of sleaze. That's what turned many people off of it.

I am curious. What will they sue the city over? Unlawful exercise of their right to zone?

Like this comment
Posted by Brad
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

So many fallacies, so little time...

First off NIMBY implies that this was only a Kottinger Ranch issue. It wasn't. It was a Pleasanton issue as we have repeatedly rejected building on the ridges. If this was a NIMBY situation (and I'm fine with being called a NIMBY) then no one else but Kottinger Ranch and Vintage Hills residents would have cared.

This article is interesting and I love how the Lins threw their money away on an incompetent marketing and messaging strategy. As I posted on another thread...

The Pro-D people wanted to have the vote ASAP instead of waiting until the fall (at no additional cost to the taxpayers) because they thought the No-D people wouldn't be able to get their message out and convince enough people in time. MAJOR miscalculation. The momentum and sentitment was on the side of No on D all along. More time (and better messaging in general) could of swayed some No voters. As it was, the people who were motivated to vote, were the NO voters. It was the Yes side that could have potentially benefited from more time. Low turnout was ONLY going to benefit the NO side. They were too smart by half.

As I've said elsewhere, we need to rid council of these P-towners and get Pleasantonians on council...people who see Pleasanton as one of the premiere communities in the East Bay, and not as West Tracy.

Like this comment
Posted by I Call BS!
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

There is no way the Kay Ayala, Steve Brozosky, Valerie Arkin, Anne Fox, Karla Brown-Belcher, et. al. only spent $6k on the No for Measure D campaign. They are lying just as they did with their scare tactics to defeat Measure D.

Like this comment
Posted by peter
a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:29 am

the Lims should of spent more, who cares about limits?

Like this comment
Posted by Jill
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

this is to:
Posted by I Call BS!, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood,


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Posted by Steve
a resident of The Knolls
on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

we will come back and fight! They should sue the city, who cares about our schools or parks let's put all our money into this. Why take home owners rights, it is their land! You wouldn't want the city to tell you what to do with your property!

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 10, 2010 at 11:42 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The ball is in the Lins' court.

I think the no-growth people could take this opportunity to put together a public financing plan to raise money to buy the land. I mean, why just vote No on D and leave it at that if you really don't want development on that property, don't want anyone "messing with our ridges"? Do you not think that the citizens of this City would not want to raise a new tax on themselves to fund such an endeavor?

Or maybe the Lins should just give the property to the City as a tax write-off as so many have hoped for. Then instead of having 51 new homes that will generate over $200,000 to help pay for the park maintenance, we'll have over 500 acres of new parkland to maintain with no new funding and create more drag on our budget. We already don't have the money to finish the Bernal property. What's wrong with adding a few hundred more acres?

Like this comment
Posted by Amanda B.
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 10, 2010 at 12:16 pm

As I was jogging around the city this morning, I looked over at those beautiful hills and thought "So glad D failed! What a view!"

One note that I'd like to add - everyone keeps saying "only 51 homes" - but at 12000 sq ft a pop, that's equivalent to over 300 "normal" size homes of 2000 sq ft. 300!!!

Brad of Vineyard Hills - well put! :)

Like this comment
Posted by I Call BS!
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm do the math. It does not add up.

Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jun 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Is anyone aware of a good development, that the Lin Family has done? I've seen the mess they made in the Hills of East Dublin!!

Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm

So it's ok for Kay et al to campaign any way they want and call it "grass roots"- she was standing on Fairlands campus Monday waving her sign, blocking the side walk as kids walked to school. Yet when measure g was campaigning, she was the first to cry foul for every tactic she used! Measure g campaigners had to be across the street from any school campus, were criticized for going door to door, and insulted for making phone calls.

Such a double standard in this town. We are willing to applaud grass roots efforts to save the hills, yet just look at the negativity for anything having to do with saving the schools. What a joke.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Measure G was not about saving schools. It was about maintaining the status quo of automatic pay raises. The measure didn’t pass. It won’t next time either if the union doesn’t join the party. Breath in … breath out … let it go.

Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Person named 'Really?' is really not making a lot of sense There was a very bad accident on West Las Positas and Santa Rita road on Monday morning that caused a traffic jam on West Las Positas. The only thing blocking traffic on West Las Positas near Fairlands Elementary was the police responding to the accident at West Las Positas and Santa Rita road.

As far as schools and "saving them," the management of the school district is the responsibility of the Superintendent, with oversight from the elected Board of Trustees. Taxpayers pay a premium living here and are still paying the burden of paying off bonds from the School District from over 20 years ago.

I was not at all happy to be bombarded by phone calls this election from the Yes/D side.

When I learned that the supposed $300,000 coming every year for the school district from the Lin development (that the Yes/D campaign touted) was in fact made up information and actually based on 53 students being generated by the new proposed development, I was shocked. The State, not the Lins, would then have to pay the $5000-$6000 per year for each one of these 53 students based on Average Daily Attendance. Talk about misleading the public.

Then I learned the supposed $2 million one time fee was for capital building improvements based upon the homeowners pulling building permits over the next 10 or 20 years that houses would be constructed, I was furious.

But the nail in the coffin for me is when I saw that the Lins had spent over $300,000 on this Yes/D campaign in the Independent last week or the prior week. Then I went to the Yes/D website, to be greeted by the face of a small smiling blond girl in a classroom.

Carving up hillsides in exchange for a few dollars from a development company? No way.

Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Sigh, a bunch of sore losers here. The voters voted and it is done. If you were for this development, more people in Pleasanton voted against than for you on this issue. Don't criticize the majority who voted the way they did.

Measure PP passed in the last election for ridgeline protections and Measure D failed in this election because if had houses on the ridgeline. I have to say that the voters have been consistent in these issues.

The developer spent a ton of money (over $500K) calling all voters, multiple times it seems, and sending mailer after mailer. They had every opportunity to explain their project. The opposition had no mailers and no phone calls. That meant the developer controlled this election and the message. Imagine how much the No on D side would have won by if the developer did not spend 1/2 million dollars trying to convince the public. With the developer spending that kind of money "educating" the voters, it was obviously a plan that the residents did not like.

Like this comment
Posted by Carol
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jun 10, 2010 at 8:37 pm

I'd like to know how much of the Lin's $500,000 our Mayor and the Pleasanton Weekly received for the Front Page and full page coverage in support of Measure D?

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Carol, the $500K spent did not show anything spent on the coverage in the paper. In their next filings they should disclose how much they spent on that, or what the value was as the weekly would have given them what is known as an in-kind donation.

Like this comment
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I have to say, Jennifer Hosterman, who is largely funded by developers, has been exemplary in her efforts to represent them. She should change her name permanently to-

Jennifer Hosterman Paid for by the Frederic Lin family

Like this comment
Posted by Explaination
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I think she is vulerable to loose her election in November, but who else could afford to run against her? She is a master of spin. Backed by the Lin's she is "well funded" for sure.

Like this comment
Posted by Sad
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 10, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I am sad that the Mayor listens more intently to the lobbiests from developers than she does to her own constituents.

Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 11, 2010 at 8:20 am

Is it possible that Jennifer Hosterman's Husband (A Lawyer in Pleasanton), is receiving Money from the Lin Family, for "Services"?

Like this comment
Posted by PtownResident
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 11, 2010 at 8:52 am

As a 35 year Pleasanton resident I am so tired of the back and for bickering over Measure D. I am happy it was defeated and thought perhaps this would be the end of it, but somehow the bickering and mudslinging continue. It seems to me that the citizens of Pleasanton that cared enough to vote have spoken. No Building On Our Ridges!! Do you hear us?

Like this comment
Posted by Roger Smith
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

Where are the expenses posted? This election was a true David v/s Goliath match. The rich and powerful developers along with their political friends could not defeat the citizens of this city. I think the mayor should take responsibility and resign along with her cronies on the city council. Phone calls were made saying that it is a message from the mayor urging people to vote yes. It is not only a defeat for the Lins but for the Mayor and her council majority.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm

If so few voters vote, how come so much money is spent?

Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Talk about the sky is falling- the mayor should resign because 7,000 voters said no to measure D? What majority are you talking about? It seems like there is a minority in this town who is out for their own agenda and special interests.

And to Perspective- reread when you are confused. I never said there was a traffic jam because of Kay- she blocked the sidewalk, I said that she is fine with breaking the laws of campaigning, but not when she is against the issue.

Like this comment
Posted by Confused
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Someone ought to add up the costs of yes on D ad every week, a sticky on the front page, signs, etc. i think somewhere we have a reporting error on the yes on D side. Easy to criticize money when it is all reported...what about when it is not???

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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