The Santa Clara Police Officer (POA) Association PAC has revved up the developer gray money machine it pioneered in Santa Clara in 2016 with $55,000 from the same four local developers that donated in 2016 and a gray money developer PAC whose single largest donor is the Irvine Company. All of the developers have current projects in Santa Clara.
The POA PAC has gotten 88 percent of its money from developers, and only 8 percent from union members. The remaining 4 percent comes from the Santa Clara Firefighters PAC.
So far this year the POA PAC has spent about $38,000 on mailers for: City Council District 2 candidate Nancy Biagini ($11,756), mayoral candidate Lisa Gillmor ($6,354) and City Clerk candidates Hosam Haggag ($6,354) and Robert O’Keefe ($12,708).
So far the take is less than the POA PAC’s 2016 haul of $85,000 from developers, but the money campaign is not over. The Weekly has reported that the 2016 money was solicited by a phone committee organized by Mayor Lisa Gillmor.
This year developers Steve Scott (Citation, SCS Development), George Marcus (SummerHill), De Anza Properties and Prometheus each contributed $10,000 to the POA PAC. De Anza Properties owner John Vidovich is a long-standing business partner of the Gillmor family.
The top donor to the POA PAC this year — $15,000 — is a Sacramento-based gray money PAC, Build Jobs. And Build Job’s biggest donor is the Irvine Company.
This year Irvine donated $50,000 of the PAC’s $250,000 — 25 percent. Irvine’s donation is even more notable in a sea of $625 and $400 donors. The PAC’s donors come largely from the building and real estate industries and related businesses including finance, banking and law firms. In previous years PG&E was among Build Job’s donors.
Build Job’s donation to the POA PAC is an anomaly because the only local issues the PAC has spent money on are ballot measures related to regional traffic problems and affordable housing. The only other local group that appears to have received money from Build Jobs is the Silicon Valley Organization.
The Neverending Story of Interconnected PAC Dollars
Gray money is independent campaign expenditure money that travels through other PACs to make it more difficult to identify the original source.
Build Jobs also donated over $100,000 to the California Apartment Association’s Californians For Responsible Housing PAC.
The Responsible Housing PAC has spent almost $44 million to defeat Prop 10, repeal of a state law that limits municipal and county governments in imposing rent controls. Local developers and the Apartment Association have donated almost $15 million to stop Prop 10.
Build Jobs also donated $45,000 to another gray money PAC, VoteNow Action, a shadowy group — its URL, votenowaction.org, is currently for sale — that appears to have been formed to defeat a slow growth measure earlier this year in the City of Irvine.
The Weekly asked the POA PAC, SummerHill, Citation, Irvine, Prometheus, De Anza and the Build Jobs PAC for comment. By press time none had responded.
Correction: Several independent expenditures were reported yesterday as we going to press. We reported on three of them, but missed the fourth, an $12,798 independent expenditure by the Santa Clara POA PAC for City Clerk candidate Bob O’Keefe. The article has been updated to reflect the most current information. We regret these omissions.