Funding for election campaigns

10/31/2013

The upcoming elections in West Marin have turned out to be a small affair, campaign finance disclosures released last week showed. None of the candidates running for seats on the Shoreline Unified School District or the Bolinas Community Public Utility District filed a statement for any donations or expenditures. The campaign for Measure A, a $5 million bond for the Lagunitas School District, however, received $7,000 in total contributions from two companies, a San Francisco firm specializing in bond law and a Sonoma construction management company. With those funds, the Committee for Quality Valley Schools sent out two mailers. Bruce Abbott, the committee’s treasurer and the school district’s budget and facilities manager, said a letter was sent to the school’s major vendors asking for donations to the campaign. Greystone West Company, a construction firm in Sonoma, donated $3,000 in October. Todd Lee, the project manager, said the company has managed projects at Lagunitas for roughly a decade and has worked with public schools across the rest of Marin. If the bond passes and the school seeks an outside contractor, the company says it will submit their qualifications with an estimated price. Both merit and price play a role in who is awarded the contract, Mr. Lee said. Jones Hall, a law firm in San Francisco, has also worked with the school, Mr. Abbott said. They contributed $4,000 in September. Jones Hall’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment, but their website says they are the largest California law firm dedicated to public finance. The school has not undertaken any major projects for some time, due to cuts in state funding, Mr. Abbott said. Measure A asks voters to fund a general obligation bond to update the school’s aging facilities. Among the highest priorities are repairing the roofs, replacing an outdated heating system, bringing the school into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and modernizing classrooms. The measure will need 55 percent approval to pass.