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A Closer Look at City Council Candidate Rob Bonta’s Funding

In a city where candidates for elected office are quick to highlight their hometown roots – or that of their forebears, and their forebears – the rumor mill and letters-to-the editor are percolating with talk of campaign funding from interests outside of Alameda. Alameda City Council Candidate Rob Bonta is currently the leader in campaign funds raised this year, with over $34,000 in contributions so far this year. Here’s a closer look at his sources of funding.

So far this year, Mr. Bonta, a Deputy City Attorney with the City of San Francisco, has raised $1,351 from three attorneys at San Francisco law firm Keker and Van Nest; Keker and Van Nest is the firm that Alameda City Councilmember Lena Tam retained to defend her against allegations of municipal malfeasance. Another attorney, with San Francisco-based Durie Tangri, LLP contributed $1,000.

An employee of philanthropic organization My New Red Shoes, based in Hillsborough, CA contributed $2,500 to Bonta’s campaign in May, and Jerry Meyer, an artist in Guilford, Connecticut, also contributed $2,500 in April. An executive in Los Angeles at Fox Broadcasting, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, gave $250.

Of the $33,671.82 that Bonta reported on his most recent semi-annual campaign filings, $4,405, or 13% was reported as coming from contributors with an Alameda address. (This figure excludes a $1,000 contribution from Cynthia Bonta, and $4,312.82 from the Friends of Rob Bonta PAC, FPPC #1308532. The only online filings for “Friends of Rob Bonta” that Action Alameda News could find did not indicate the source of the contributions for this $4,312.82.)

Given that Bonta is a Deputy City Attorney in a major west-coast city such as San Francisco, it stands to reason that his reach would extend far beyond Alameda. However, in a town where people joke about families that have been in Alameda “since the earth cooled,” Bonta’s campaign contributions are sure to keep tongues wagging right up to the election date.

8 comments to A Closer Look at City Council Candidate Rob Bonta’s Funding

  • […] Another attorney, with San Francisco-based Durie Tangri, LLP contributed $1,000. More at Action Alameda News. var a2a_config=a2a_config||{};a2a_config.linkname="Alameda News, Lena Tam […]

  • Alameda Citizen

    Are we getting the same financial review of the rest of the candidates? Or do we just not like this one for some reason?

  • As explained in the article, Rob Bonta is the money leader, so he warrants special attention, especially when a few years back, some people expressed alarm about a City Council candidate that spent $100K of her own money. Voters are writing in the blogs and print newspapers about his outside-of-Alameda sources of money, and several people have sent in copies of invitations to Rob Bonta fundraisers based in San Francisco and apparently for a San Francisco audience. People are expressing concern that an Alameda City Council candidate is raising so much money from out-of-town interests.

  • From last week’s letters to the editor in one of the local print newspapers:

    Outsiders funding local candidate

    A quick look at the candidate disclosure form submitted by Alameda City Council candidate Rob Bonta who, as of June 30, reports raising more than $34,000 for his run, shows that well more than half ($19,651) of those donations came from addresses outside Alameda. That means 53 of the 81 donors whose names he had to list (because they gave at least $100 to the campaign) don’t even live in Alameda. This is an example of how local
    politics have been hijacked by outside interests.

    Some examples of Bonta’s supporters: $1,000 from someone in Atlanta, $1,000 from someone in Portland, $500 from someone in Brooklyn, N.Y. (What could someone from Brooklyn possibly have to say about this fair city?)

    Nevertheless, their contributions could have a profound effect on our daily lives. In a local election, $20,000 can have a substantial effect on a campaign. I understand that candidates can and do solicit donations from as many family, friends, colleagues and cohorts as possible, but it is unconscionable that one candidate raised nearly that much from outsiders with no stake in how the city is run.

    It is time for Alamedans to take control of our own elections, and demand that the City Council not be cherry-picked by outside interests. I encourage my fellow citizens to check the candidate disclosure database —;dbid=0 — and learn which candidates are supported by local interests, and therefore accountable to local residents, and those who are not.

    Georgeann Barber

  • And why is “Alameda Citizen” so concerned? I’m sure that some candidates, such as Jean Sweeney, could pass any smell test, and a few others, perhaps Bonta, Izzy, and anyone else tied to SunCal, could not. We are so familiar by now with the tiny minority that still supports that developer that we just dismiss their view!

  • Barb

    What concerns the most about BONTA’s local contributors, is that they are from the 14% of the minority favoring SUNCAL. People don’t contribute to those who don’t espouse the same positions on issues that concern them. So when Honora Murphy and the Bladium contribute to BONTA, it is clear that BONTA supports SUNCAL. He may deny it publically, until he is elected. But by then it will be too late. Look at TAM and her 31 confidential emails sent to others. Votes for them are votes for SUNCAL. Once Alameda is entangled in the web of SUNCAL and its bankruptcy profile, BONTAM even if it changes its mind, will not be able to extricate Alameda from the traffic hell that SUNCAL will generate for the rest of civilized time. One can only guess what its impact will be on the rest of the island. I fear it will not be good.

  • […] photos show, campaign materials were on display inside the CADC’s headquarters for both majority-outside-of-Alameda-funded Bonta, and confidential-document-sharing Tam, which contradict Oddie’s previous statements. Workers […]

  • […] to their own campaigns, with the leader by far being former CADC co-president and SF City Attorney Rob Bonta. He has now raised over $60k for his campaign, with the majority of it coming from donors outside […]