Contributions to candidates in Tuesday’s election for two seats on the West Hollywood City Council have reached $442,000 as of the latest official report, with 79% of that going to the two incumbents.
Incumbent John Duran has received $132,000 in donations. Incumbent John Heilman has raised $99,000. Both also are benefitting from an independent expenditure committee (IEC) that has raised $120,000 to support them. If half of the money donated to Standing Up for West Hollywood Supporting Heilman and Duran for City Council 2017, is considered a benefit to Duran and half to Heilman, donations to the two incumbents total 43% and 36% respectively of all donations made through Feb. 18.
As has been the case in years past, contributions from real estate developers, their families and lawyers, lobbyists and other connected account for most of the donations. In Duran’s case, 56% of donations come from real estate interests. Half of Heilman’s donations come from real estate sources.
The recipient of the next largest amount of donations is Cynthia Blatt. Her $20,639 in donations includes a loan to herself of $600. Blatt also is the beneficiary of $25,000 raised by WeHo Money and Politics (WeHoMAP), an independent expenditure committee that also is backing challenger Steve Martin and campaigning against the incumbents. Martin has raised $8,800, to which he has added a loan to himself of $26,200, for a total of $35,000.
Other candidates who have reported donations are Nate Clark, whose $5,426 in campaign funding includes a loan to himself of $500; Michael Cautillo, who has raised $3,070; Reed Stillwell, who has raised $1,350 and Carla Romo, who has raised $760.
Candidates Amanda Goodwin and Joel Quaresimo have reported no donations.
The next campaign contribution reports must be filed by July 31 and will include donations from Feb. 19 through June 30. Those after-election reports usually include donations from people and entities with business before the city who postpone their donations until it is clear who has won the election.
In addition to real estate interests, Duran’s donations include $4,600 from city vendors such as Athens Services, the trash pick-up company, and people related to the owners of the vendors. Another $2,000 comes from billboard companies, which must have city permission to erect their lucrative sign platforms. Heilman’s donations include $500 from Athens Services.
Billboard companies donated $22,500 to the Standing Up IEC, with $10,000 from Ace Outdoor Advertising and the same amount from Orange Barrel Media. Five firms — 8920 Sunset Blvd. LLC, Emday Inc., Excel Property Management Services, SHAC LLC and Sunset Subsidiary LLC – each donated $10,000 of the $95,000 total amount given to the Standing Up IEC from real estate interests.
Literature from WeHo MAP has focused on donations to the incumbents from certain real estate interests in an apparent effort to get support from local voters who are concerned about what they see as too much development in West Hollywood. While one mailer says that neither Blatt nor Martin has taken money from those real estate interests, Blatt has reported a contribution of $500 from Kings 826 LLP, the entity behind the multi-unit building planned for 826 N. Kings Rd. against which Blatt led a campaign that put her in the political spotlight. The developers negotiated changes in the project and got Blatt to back down from her opposition. Blatt also has received a $500 donation from Boutique Homes LLC. An internet search shows the company as a home builder that is associated with the Charlie Hotel.