Using the definition of “Development Interests” provided in the article analyzing reportable donations to the 2016 City Council elections (i.e., Developers, Construction firms, Architects, Landscape architects, Realtors & brokers, Property Management and spouses) , LagunaBeachCHAT analyzed the form460 declarations for all of our current City Council (covering each councilperson’s most recent election campaign). The picture that emerges is that, save for Councilperson Iseman, development interests contribute the LARGEST SHARE of reportable (i.e., those > $100) campaign donations.
Click here for searchable spreadsheets of donors:
While “development interests” certainly are entitled to engage in the political process and are allowed to use their money to endorse candidates that they favor, we find it worrisome that 4 of our 5 City Council members are taking such a large amount of money from this special interest group. We would encourage our readers to consider every development-related vote cast by councilpersons Dicterow, Whalen, Zur Schmiede and Boyd in light of the significant money that each has taken from this special interest group. We would furthermore encourage all councilpersons to pledge to limit their acceptance of ‘development interest’ campaign donations in the future.
LagunaBeachCHAT also analyzed the non-reportable (i.e. < $100) campaign donations each current City Councilperson received in their most recent election campaign. These donations are reported as a ‘lump sum’, with no individual donor names. We believe that these smaller donations reflect broader ‘grass-roots’ support for each candidate and are a healthier way for candidates to fund their campaigns and for Laguna Beach residents to show support for candidates of their choice. We would encourage future City Council candidates to pledge a $100 campaign donation limit, as a way to ensure that more voices get to contribute to the political discussion in Laguna Beach, and so that commercial/development interests cannot sway the process with their checkbooks.