Claremont Insider: Claremont Unified is a "Pay to Play" School District

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Claremont Unified is a "Pay to Play" School District

Big Donor Cash Tops $125,000

Only about 2% Raised Locally

Drudge Siren Pictures, Images and Photos

There is more big money pouring into the Yes on Measure CL campaign, even as the local contributions are very weak. Recent filings with LA County elections officials show over $125,000 in contributions from 8 district vendors and a teachers' union. Totals after the October 18th filings are as follows, new money in red:

  • $25,000 from Adolph Ziemba, Architects, in Burbank

  • $20,000 from Telacu Construction Management in LA

  • $10,000 from Vanir Construction Managment in Sacramento

  • $10,000 from Flewelling and Moody (architects) in Pasadena. $5,000 previously reported, $5,000 new money.

  • $5,000 from Northcross Hill Ach (financial advisors) in San Rafael

  • $1,500 from the California Teachers Assn, Burlingame CA
With 98% of the cash received by the Yes on CL side coming from big businesses outside Claremont with a direct financial interest in the outcome, it's pretty clear the CL's supporters and the District leadership have put out the word that CUSD is a Pay to Play district, and a little baksheesh in the form of help on Measure CL is necessary to get business down the line.

What other conclusion is there that is not, well, ridiculous? Certainly no one is buying Yes on CL Treasurer J. Michael Fay's assertion that "There is no quid pro quo." That's an insult to our intelligence.

We post the report for the Period October 1-October 16 below. The earlier report is covered here. Following the first report is a single-page "late contribution" filing detailing $21,500 (included in the above totals) from Ziemba, Flewelling and Moody, and the teachers unions.

One interesting fact is that named contributions from residents of Claremont number only nine and total only $1,100. Even crediting all of the unitemized contributions ($115) to Claremont brings the total Claremont money to a mere $1,215. This is only 1.9% of the total cash reported since October 1 of $63,715.

This is nothing like a grassroots cause, and doesn't appear even to have the financial backing of the President of the Board of Education, Hilary LeConte, nor board supporters Jeff Stark and Beth Bingham. Only board member Mary Caenepeel and her husband kicked in a hundred bucks.

For those whoe worry about big money influencing elections, possible corruption, pay to play, sweetheart deals, bid-rigging, and the like, there is plenty to worry about here.

Yes on Cl Campaign Finance Report Oct 18 2

And here is a report dated October 18, 2010. "Late" reports of contributions exceeding $1,000 are required to be overnighted to the county campaign finance disclosure office.

Form 497