Donors turn off funding tap in advance of Placer County supes election

Total of three donations listed for nine candidates over past 1 weeks
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Voters will be going to the polls Tuesday in three Placer County Board of Supervisors races. But Election Day in Placer County for a $30,000-a-year post that provides the county with major land-use planning decisions will come with little hoopla. Unlike previous years, when campaign coffers were flush with both developer money and anti-developer funding, campaigns have had to rely on a trickle rather than a stream of dollars. That trickle continued over the past week-and-a-half, when candidates are required to report daily on funding contributions. In close races coming down to the wire and a flush economy to draw from, reporting has been brisk in past elections. But with fewer dollars available across-the-board for candidates, reports filed with the county elections division show little in the way of last-minute funding infusions. In all, there were three filings since May 19. Supervisor Kirk Uhler, who is in a two-candidate race for the District 4 seat with Realtor Pam Tobin, reported receiving $4,400 on May 25 from Brookfield Sacramento Holdings of Sacramento. In the District 5 election, challenger Jerry Johnson of Meadow Vista was the lone candidate to report a donation since filing the March 17-May 19 statement of contributions with the county. Johnson is in a five-candidate race with incumbent Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, Rich Johnson of Auburn, Gary Johnson of Colfax and Mark Wright of Colfax. Johnson received $1,000 donations May 29 from the Auburn New Car Dealers Association and Auburn Toyota. Uhler?s campaign had raised $72,764 this year and spent $64,084, as of May 19. The district covers Granite Bay and portions of Roseville. Tobin raised $29,895 and spent $22,652 during the same period. Major donations to the Tobin campaign in the last three months have come from the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 447 Political Action Committee of Sacramento ($5,000), Laborers Local 185 PAC ($2,000), California Real Estate PAC ($1,000) and Political Action Together PAC ($1,000). Uhler has listed major donors as Sacramento Builders Exchange PAC ($5,000), Granite Bay Development II ($5,000), Richland Management of Newport Beach ($5,000) and West Roseville ($5,000). Uhler said that he commissioned a poll in January and reached his fund-raising goal based on what it was determined he needed for this election. ?We haven?t made a lot of reports (in the final days of the election) because we raised what we needed,? Uhler said. Tobin couldn?t be reached for comment. Eight years ago, she lost to Ted Gaines for the District 4 seat and called on a $250 cap on donations. In that election, Tobin raised $15,592 to $68,887 by Gaines, who is now a state senator. In the other Board of Supervisors election, voters in rural Auburn, Loomis, Newcastle and Rocklin will be deciding between District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes of North Auburn and challenger Robert Grigas of Newcastle. Neither Holmes nor Grigas filed new donation reports over the 1 weeks. Meadow Vista activist Stewart Feldman said he?s been noticing that campaign mailers, in particular, have been fewer and sparser. ?It?s a matter of the economy, number one, and I think people are discouraged by the amount of spam and junk mail. They don?t want to inflict it on voters.? Feldman said he doesn?t necessarily see voter apathy. ?But I think redistricting has confused people,? Feldman said. ?In my case, I have no idea who is on the ballot in my assembly district.?