Start with the Spending Limits
No one can legally contribute over $360 to a City Council Candidate..... But the state allows Political Action Committees (PAC) to incorporate. A PAC can gather contributions in any amount. PACs can support candidates by endorsing them, hire PR firms, run ads to support their candidates, send mailers, run ads to oppose candidates through totally out-of-context statements, etc.
Liberate Laguna PAC
According to public filings, a handful of successful Newport Beach and Laguna commercial real estate developers contributed almost all of the $152,502 that Liberate Laguna has raised. Just to put that in perspective, that rivals the total amount spent by the other candidates. They have also had talks with the city to "Donate" $250,000 to "Expedite Major Development Projects" in Laguna.
Do you think they are here to help us? Think again. Here are the facts from public filings on the Liberate Laguna PAC:
Treasurer and Principal Officers:
- Stacy Owens (Oakland) Treasurer
- Peter Sullivan (Oakland) Asst. Treasurer
- Principal Officer: Michael Ray
- Additional Officers/Assistant Treasurers
- Sam Goldstein
- Cindy Shopoff
- Address: The Law Offices of Attorneys Nokes and Quinn, 410 Broadway, Suite 200, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Even before June 2018 Liberate Laguna had spent over $20,000. The vast majority of that was on "Polling and Survey Research" conducted by the very capable political research and PR firm of Stu Mollrich Communications (no relationship to Stu News). Even before anyone in Laguna heard about Liberate Laguna they were finding out how we would like our message sweetened. One spoon or two?
Stu Mollrich is distinguished among political PR people. He was the brains behind Proposition 13, the recall of Gray Davis, and the election of Arnold.
The majority of Liberate Laguna's message will be the things you want to hear; the sugar. The medicine is subtitle, effective, and expensive. It's to encourage us to Liberate by abandoning the processes and safeguards that brought us developments like the Montage, and return us to the "Fast-Track" days when Laguna courted the high-rise condo developers, such as what brought us Laguna Royal, south of downtown.