June 16, 2010

Did the Candidates Shop Poway?

We still do not know 100% for sure who won the special election for Poway city councilmember. The top 2 candidates, Steve Vaus and John Mullin are within 78 votes of each other a week after the election, and there are still more votes to be counted.  So, I decided to ponder the question, "Who is the real winner in the election?" I mean, financially. Is it Poway? Did the candidates spend a lot of money locally? Did they "Shop Poway"?

I looked at all of the campaign disclosure statements that were on file in the Poway City Clerks office as of Jun. 11, 2010. Here is a summary of where the candidates spent their money.

Pete Babich spent a campaign total of $2875. He (and every other candidate) bought signs from an out-of-town company. Babich spent $1186 for signs from International Marketing Services (IMS) in El Cajon. All the rest of Babich's expenditures were from Poway: $50 filing fee, $26 for flower seeds from Wal-Mart, $501 for printing at JRC, $1012 for postage and $100 for a booth at the Poway Chamber street fair.

Howard Collins spent $50 for the filing fee. He had no other expenditures for the campaign.

Chuck Cross spent a campaign total of $2037.96.  Other than the filing fee, Cross spent only $5 in Poway, for checks from US Bank. He also reimbursed Mary Cross $81.93 for stuff bought at Costco, but which Costco location was not indicated on his forms.  Cross' out-of-town expenditures were $800 for a web site, $21.40 for paypal, $100 to a Texas firm for bumper stickers, $297 to IMS for yard signs,  $100 to Cafe Merlot for hired help, $500 to a Long Beach firm for slate cards, another $247 to a Los Angeles firm for more slate cards, $168.72 to an Arizona firm called Dr. Don Buttons, and $113.91 from Overnite Prints, an Irvine, CA firm.

Dave Grosch spent a campaign total of $1252. Besides the $50 filing fee, Dave spent $51 in Poway for t-shirts from Express Me. Like many of the other candidates, Grosch bought yard signs  ($594 worth) from IMS in El Cajon. Grosch spent $100 for bumper stickers from a Texas company, $19 on checks and bank fees from a San Diego bank, and $438 from Staples, San Marcos for flyers.

John Mullin was the biggest spender. He reported spending $15,419.44.  (I tallied a figure $50 lower.)  Liked the other candidates, Mullin forked over $50 for the filing fee and he had a booth at the Chamber Street Fair ($150).

One of Mullin's biggest items were for  ads in the Poway News Chieftain ($2381).  He also spent some serious postage money in Poway ($1617.68 at the post office and $132 at Office Depot) ) and had some small printing jobs done in Poway-RB Printing ($135.94) but Mullin also had printing done out-of town: $3488.55 at Streeter Printing in San Diego, $154.80 for street fair handouts from Sanzo Specialties of New York, $341.61 from Select Mailing in Kearney Mesa, and $43.36 from the Xpedx paper Store on Aero Drive. Mullin also spent big on slate mailers and campaign literature, all from Laguna Niguel firms: SD Co RLVG ($570); Rep Wmns Voice ($400); SBAC ($520); Save Prop 13 ($400) and NTLC News ($560)

Mullin also reimbursed his wife for $3670.00 for buying signs and stamps and whatnot, most likely not in Poway. He spent $122.92 for window decals at the El Cajon firm where most everyone else bought signs.

Mullin paid $220 for renting something from David Calvert. My best guess is that Mullin paid Calvert for allowing him to put his campaign sign over the old Pomerado Publishing sign at the Chieftain's old building on Poway Rd.

David Radcliff spent a total of $1382.64. His filing fee ($50), chamber booth ($150) and Chieftain ad ($412) were his only Poway expenditures. He bought signs from a Florida firm ($340.64), and literature ($430) from a San Diego firm.

Steve Vaus spent a total of $9,753.  He paid the $50 filing fee, spent $150 for a booth at the Poway Chamber Street Fair and $560 for postage at the Poway post office. Other than that, the only other expenditure Vaus made in Poway was $3028 for ads in the Poway Chieftain. Vaus spent $65 at the Carmel Mtn Ranch Staples and $151 at the Carmel Mtn Ranch Home Depot.

Vaus, also spent some money on webservices: $566 to a TN firm (Carl Miner Idea Group) he also uses with his business (Steve Vaus Productions), $98.05 to paypal and $50 to a Florida firm called Political Technologies LLC.

Vaus did not specify an expenditure explicitly for signs, but he paid $1501 to a Pennsylvania firm for "campaign paraphernalia" that could be for his signs, and he paid $626.28 to Overnght Prints in Irvine. Vaus did not have any printing done at Poway shops. He spent $53 form Rubber Stamp Champ in San Marcos and he paid a Torrance, CA firm $950 for a slate mailer.

Vaus did reimburse a supporter $245 for some items bought at Costco and Albertsons, but which Costco and which Albertsons was not specified.

Roger Willoughby spent $781.69 on his campaign.  Willoughby paid the requisite $50 filing fee to the City of Poway and he also paid the city $20.60 for copies from records requests. Willoughby spent $225 for his booth at the Chamber street fair.  He bought signs from an Iowa firm ($355.57) and printing ($126.55) from JRC in Poway.

The only big winners among Poway merchants this campaign season were the Chamber of Commerce and Pomerado Publishing. (Hmmm- could that be the reason that the Poway Chieftain was so in love with the recall?) Other local merchants were out of the loop. In fact, only 3 of the candidates had any printing done in Poway. Mullin had a small amount of printing done in Poway, whereas Pete Babich and Roger Willoughby had all their printing done locally.  Dave Grosch bought some t-shirts in Poway.  Babich bought some flower seeds at the local Wal-Mart. Other than that,  save for postage and mailing expenses, no money was specified as spent at Poway locations.

My guess is that one of the reasons that the candidates did not "Shop Poway" is because they can find a better deal elsewhere. Same reason many of us might chose to buy something somewhere else. But it is a little disconcerting to see the candidates talk about the need to support local business and then see them not support local business with their campaign dollars.  For goodness sake, you can't get a better price at the Carmel Mtn Ranch Home Depot than you can get at the Poway Home Depot, can you?  So, what's up with the candidates talking the talk, but not walking the walk, when it comes to supporting Poway businesses?

Note: I have uploaded copies of each candidates campaign reports. If you want to take a closer look at a particlular candidate's expenditures and contributions, click on his name below.

Pete Babich
Howard Collins
Chuck Cross
Dave Grosch
John Mullin
David Radcliff
Steve Vaus
Roger Willoughby