Maki widens funding gap over Alpine, Wollan in Placer water race

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Ex-Auburn mayor Cheryl Maki has widened the funding gap between her campaign and opponents Josh Alpine and Otis Wollan. But no one’s saying that the candidate who spends the most will end up on top of the polls Nov. 6 for the Placer County Water Agency’s District 5 directorship. Reports filed with the Placer County elections division show that Maki raised another $5,448 between Oct. 1 and Oct. 20, upping her campaign’s fundraising total to $21,308. Alpine, a Colfax city councilman, reported no new contributions. Wollan, a former District 5 director, reported $1,379 in new donations during the Oct. 1-20 reporting period, increasing his total to $6,855. Maki said she had been told that about $20,000 would be needed to help get the word out about her candidacy in a district that extends from Auburn to the Nevada border. “But it (the wide gap in funding between her and the others) is no indication whatsoever (of how she will do Nov. 6),” Maki said. Maki noted that Wollan was a director for 21 years. “Otis has a huge head start and has got name recognition,” Maki said. “And I’ve seen candidates spend a lot of money on a campaign and not win. Look at Meg Whitman. It’s about getting the word out but also being forthright and honest.” Alpine said he’s not aggressively seeking donations. Instead, he said the campaign is depending more on personal meetings and word of mouth, without spending money. Campaign finance records show Alpine has spent a total of $3,746 and has $284 in cash as the election moves into the final week. Alpine said he has a considerable amount of support. “I have a lot of support,” Alpine said. “But I have mixed feelings (about fundraising) during a down economy and I think there are better ways than putting money behind campaigns.” Wollan couldn’t be reached for comment Monday. He’s said in the past that his campaign has been working on social networking via the internet as well as traditional methods. County records show Maki’s biggest donors during the most recent filings to be the California Real Estate Political Action Committee, based in Los Angeles, ($1,500), retiree Theresa Batsel of Granite Bay ($1,585) and retiree Henry Batsel of Granite Bay ($1,500). Maki said the Batsel’s are owners of a historic house in Auburn. Wollan’s largest donors were the Auburn Area Democratic Club ($250) and Dutch Flat resident William Newsom ($500), a retired judge and father of state Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. Alpine’s largest donation was a $2,100 loan to his campaign from himself. His two lone donors over the course of his campaign are Rodney Smith of Paradise ($300) and Sierra College board member Aaron Klein ($100).