Outside money floods ‘no on Measure T’ campaign coffers in South Lake Tahoe
BY THE NUMBERSCody Bass Total contributions: $6,655 Largest contributors: Elect Cody Fundraiser on Sept. 23 — $1,300 Judy Bass — $500 Launey Senee — $500 Total spent: $6,886 Largest expenditures: Lovingood Studios, promo video — $3,500 Sonney’s BBQ, fundraiser event — $1,250 Outside Television, TV broadcast/interviews — $750 Hal Cole Total contributions: $22,399 Largest contributors: Jeffrey Gordon (loan) — $5,000 Michael Gordon (loan) — $5,000 Hal Cole (loan) — $5,000 Total spent: $18,377.57 Largest expenditures: Spectrum, TV ads — $11,512.40 Davis Elen Advertising, production of TV ads — $2,500 McGann Associates, information technology — $1,000 Wendy David Total contributions: $18,027 Largest contributors: Kerry David (loan) — $10,000 South Tahoe Alliance Resorts — $1,000 Laborers Local 185 PAC — $750 Total spent: $11,580.05 Largest expenditures: Tahoe Production House, campaign consultants — $8,000 Signs of Tahoe, signs production — $1,806.82 South Tahoe Now — $877 Tom Davis Total contributions: $3,927 Largest contributors: Brad Schiller — $600 David and Melanie Turner — $500 Mike and Lou McKeen — $300 Total spent: $4,300.44 Largest expenditures: Spectrum Reach, TV ads — $1,019.15 Middlebrook Media, yards signs — $747.53 KTHO and KOWL, radio ads — $500 Bruce Grego Total contributions: $8,997.68 Largest contributors: Janice Ann McCarthy, general manager of Stardust/Americana Resorts — $2,000 Stardust Vacation Club — $1,900 Bruce Grego — $1,368.68 Total spent: $8,433.32 Largest expenditures: MSI Mailing Services, postcards — $3,434.90 Spectrum Reach, TV ads — $2,002.60 Tahoe Mountain News, advertising — $1,589.50 Devin Middlebrook Total contributions: $14,081 Largest contributors: David S Moore Living Trust — $5,000 South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts — $1,000 David Orr — $200 Total spent: $8,999.50 Largest expenditures: Kyle Marmesh, graphic design/website — $4,117.50 Tahoe Daily Tribune, advertising — $945 South Tahoe Now, advertising — $742.50 Austin Sass Total contributions: $6,140.50 Largest contributors: TCS Digital Marketing, digital design and marketing (non-monetary) — $1,400 South Tahoe Area Resorts — $1,000 Beverly Sass (loan) — $235 Total Expenditures: $4,489.65 Largest expenditures: Spectrum Reach, TV ads — $2,999.65 Lake Tahoe Television, TV ads and production — $700 South Tahoe Now, advertising — $375 Tamara Wallace Total contributions: $2,433.50 Largest contributors: Tamara Wallace (loan) — $1,437.50 Mike McKeen/John Cefalu — $500 SkiBum Family Inc — $200 Total spent: $2,282.50 Largest expenditures: Tahoe Mountain News, advertising — $912.50 Evans Broadcasting-KKFT Radio 99.1, radio advertising — $500 Tahoe Daily Tribune, advertising — $157.50 Patrick Jarrett No reported contributions or expenditures.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — In the race for City Council, a former councilor with longest tenure ever and the current mayor are leading the field when it comes to campaign contributions. But the “no” on Measure T effort is blowing all the races and issues out of the water when it comes to campaign money.
The “vote no on Measure T” effort, backed by Realtors, has garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars, thanks in large part to outside organizations hoping to defeat the measure, which is on the ballot thanks to a successful citizen-led effort.
Measure T would effectively ban vacation home rentals outside the tourist core and commercial areas in three years. Residents, however, would be able to rent out their property for a total of 30 days per year.
Supporters say the measure is needed to save South Lake Tahoe’s neighborhoods, which have become hosts for de facto hotels. Opponents argue the measure would do more economic harm than good.
In its most recent campaign committee finance disclosure, the “Save Tahoe Jobs: Vote No on Measure T” group reported a total of $365,469.52 in total contributions. Much of that total has come from larger interest groups, including $150,000 from the National Association of Realtors and $30,100 from the California Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee.
Expedia, a global travel company, spent $50,000 in the most recent reporting period, which ran from Sept. 23-Oct. 20.
Tahoe South Rentals has contributed $49,900 and Tahoe Keys Resort has contributed $5,000.
Regarding expenditures, the largest sum of money — $121,681 — has gone to The Operations Group, an entity stationed on Washington, D.C.’s famed K Street.
The “no on T” group also shelled out $55,846 to The Strategy Group, a Chicago-based firm specializing on election strategies, and $53,500 to David Binder Research, a research firm in San Francisco.
While the no on T group has spent thousands on strategy and advertising, the group that put Measure T on the ballot — Tahoe Neighborhoods Group — is relying on low-cost, “grassroots” efforts. They have criticized the “no” campaign for being driven largely by outside money.
“The purpose of getting Measure T on the ballot was to allow the broader community to decide if vacation rentals should be in residential neighborhoods. Now, it appears, the National Association of Realtors and other corporate interests are trying to buy this local election. Not our finest hour,” Peggy Bourland with the Tahoe Neighborhoods Group said in a statement.
The local Realtor group pushing the “no on T” effort says that the money is from organizations that share sentiments reflective of those held by locals forming the no on T coalition, which also goes by the Sustainable Community Alliance.
““The Sustainable Community Alliance is a coalition of local small businesses, longtime residents, vacation home rental owners and property managers that oppose Measure T because of the devastating impact it would have on our local economy. We welcome support of like-minded organizations which agree this measure is too extreme, would cost the city millions in lost revenue and would result in job loss for the residents who rely on tourism dollars to survive,” Jerry Williams, with the Sustainable Community Alliance, said in a statement.
In the race for City Council, former Councilor Hal Cole is leading the field when it comes to overall contributions with $22,399.
However, $15,000 of that stems from loans — $5,000 from Jeffrey Gordon, $5,000 from Michael Gordon and $5,000 from Cole himself. All those loans have an interest rate of 0 percent.
Some of his largest cash contributions come from Ski Run Marina, which contributed $1,000, and the Laborers Local 185 PAC, a construction craft union in California. Laborers Local 185 gave $750 — a dollar amount the local union chapter contributed to several other candidates.
At the end of the most recent reporting period, Cole had spent $18,377. Some of his largest expenditures include: $11,512.40 to Spectrum for television advertisements; $2,500 with Davis Elen Advertising for the production of TV ads; and $1,000 with McGann Associates for information technology.
Mayor Wendy David isn’t far behind Cole with $18,027 campaign contributions. Similar to Cole, David’s largest contribution is in the form of a loan. Her husband, Kerry David, made a $10,000 loan with an interest rate of zero.
She too received a $750 contribution from Laborers Local 185. She also received $1,000 from South Tahoe Alliance Resorts.
David has spent $11,580.05. Her largest expenditures include $8,000 with Tahoe Production House for campaign consulting and $1,806.82 on signs from Signs of Tahoe.
First-time candidate Devin Middlebrook is leading in the field in non-loan contributions with $14,081.
His largest contributions include $5,000 from the David S. Moore Living Trust and $1,000 from the South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts.
He has spent $8,999.50 of which his largest expenditure — $4,117.50 — went to Kyle Marmesh in Carnelian Bay for graphic design work. He also has spent $945 with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, $742.50 with South Tahoe Now and $550 with Tahoe Mountain News for advertising.
Former City Councilor Bruce Grego is next in total contributions with $8,997.68. The largest single contribution came from Janice Ann McCarthy, general manager at Stardust/Americana Resorts. She contributed $2,000. Stardust Vacation Club gave $1,900, while Grego contributed $1,368.68 to his own election effort. Russell Penn, owner the The Brewery, contributed $1,000.
Grego has spent $8,433.32.
His largest expenditures include $3,434.90 to MSI Mailing Systems for postcards and $2,002.60 to Spectrum Reach for television ads.
Challenger Cody Bass has received $6,655 in total contributions while spending $6,886 in expenditures. His largest contributions came from a fundraiser on Sept. 23. The fundraiser also proved to be one of the largest expenditures.
Bass filed his most recent disclosure form nearly one week late, making him the only candidate to miss the filing deadline for the form.
Incumbent Austin Sass has received $6,140.50 in campaign contributions, with the largest contribution being a non-monetary donation from TCS Digital Marketing for digital design and marketing. The contribution was valued at $1,400. He’s also received $1,000 from South Tahoe Area Resorts.
Sass has spent $4,489.65 with his largest expenditure totaling $2,999.65 for TV ads with Spectrum Reach.
Incumbent Tom Davis is outspending what he is bringing in. So far the long-time councilor has received $3,927 in contributions. Meanwhile he has spent $4,300.44. His largest expenditure, $1,019.15, went to Spectrum Reach for TV ads.
Tamara Wallace, who narrowly finished outside the top two in the 2016 council race, has received a total of $2,433.50 in contributions, but over half of that — $1,437.50 — is from a loan from Wallace herself.
She has received a $500 contribution from Mike McKeen/John Cefalu and $200 from SkiBum Family Inc., the company owned by El Dorado County District 5 supervisor candidate Kenny Curtzwiler.
Rounding out the field of nine council candidates is Patrick Jarrett.
Jarrett, who first ran for council in 2016, filed paperwork indicating he does not have a controlled committee and does not anticipate receiving or spending any money.
El Dorado County District 5
In the race for supervisor, incumbent Sue Novasel has a commanding lead over challenger Kenny Curtzwiler regarding campaign money.
Novasel has received $33,660 in campaign contributions. Some of her largest contributions include: $4,000 from the Committee for Home Ownership, based in Sacramento; $1,990 from Heavenly Valley LP; and $1,990 from Sierra Pacific Industries, based in Redding, California.
Additionally, Novasel has loaned her own campaign $4,200 — most of which was loaned near the start of 2018 ahead of the primary race.
Her expenditures total $28,132.49, including $2,631.92 with Redwood Printing, based in South Lake Tahoe, and a collective $2,391.80 in newspaper advertising with the Mountain Democrat, Tahoe Mountain News and the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Curtzwiler has received a total of $12,399 in contributions. He has received $2,500 from Tahoe Station Inc., and $1,000 from the Northern Nevada Confederation of Clubs, an organization created “to represent and support the motorcycle riding community of Northern Nevada,” according to his website.
So far he has spent $11,179.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.