A review of Albany campaign spending in the 2020 election

Dear Albany residents,

Although I was termed-out from the Albany City council at the end of 2020, I said I would post the campaign spending results for the 2020 elections, as I have for previous elections. To keep this consistent with the previous postings, the expenditure dollar amounts here are from candidates’ and organizations’ last posted California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Form 460 page 3, line 11. These are available on the city website here and here.

Albany Unified School District

Measure B was a parcel tax for the Albany Unified School District. It passed in March 2020. I wrote about it here. The total expenditures of the Yes on Albany Schools Measure B committee were $17,575. The majority of that amount came in the form of three $5,000 donations from major school architectural or construction firms. At least one of these firms also contributed to the campaigns to pass the 2016 bond measures B and E to fund the rebuilding of Ocean View and Marin schools. I wrote about that here (you have to scroll down a bit).

Of the three firms that contributed $5,000 to the 2020 Measure B campaign, Dervi Castellanos Architects was the firm that also contributed $5,000 to the 2016 bond campaign. Another, Overaa Construction, is currently working on the Ocean View project. At least I have seen their sign at the Ocean View construction site, so I assume they have been working on that project. I am not sure what other firms are working on the project except for those whose signs are there.

Technically a school construction bond campaign committee must be completely legally separate from the school district itself. However, it still makes me a little nervous when a firm makes a $5,000 contribution to a bond campaign committee to fund a project and is later hired to work on the project. It doesn’t quite pass the “avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest” test. But that is an issue for the school district to consider.

School board candidates

I’ll simply list the candidates in declining order of how much they spent:

Brian Beall, $4,849

Melissa Boyd, $2,968

Veronica Davidson, no reporting, expenditures below the reporting limit of $2,000.

Albany Teachers Association, $611, mostly for campaign materials in support of state Proposition 15, the “split roll” initiative that would have modified the way commercial property taxes are determined under Proposition 13 (1978).

Albany City Measures

Voter Choice Albany $54,685

Albany Care About Climate $9,808

These two committees supported Measures BB and DD respectively. Both passed.

Albany City Council

Albany has a voluntary campaign spending limit of $6,000. This does not include the Alameda County fee of approximately $1,000 for the 250-word statement that appears in both the sample ballot and the actual ballot. Two of the candidates agreed to the accept the voluntary spending limit–Tod Abbott and Preston Jordan. However, since all but $50 of Jordan’s campaign spending was funneled through a separate committee, Albany Forward, Abbott was the only candidate who spent less than the $6,000 limit.

Geā€™Nell Gary $15,644

Albany Forward $12,136

Tod Abbott $5,125

Preston Jordan $50

Aaron Tiedemann $0

Albany Forward was a committee formed to support the election campaigns of candidates Preston Jordan and Aaron Tiedemann.