Fundraising documents for local political campaigns are due today and documents obtained by the Daily Press show at least one campaign has experienced a massive surge in donations.
The Daily Press obtained a draft of the financial documents for the Santa Monica Forward Issues Committee, a group opposed to Measure LV, also known as the LUVE Initiative. The document shows the organization has raised $568,990 from July 1 to September 24. The committee had previously recorded $10,255 to bring their total fundraising to $579,245.
In total, 168 individuals or companies donated to the group, 131 donors gave less than $1,000, 10 gave up to $5,000, 15 gave between $8,000 and $16,000 and 12 gave between $20,000 and $49,000.
Small donors account for about 78 percent of the total number of donors but their combined contribution equals about 2 percent of the total raised. The seven percent of donors in the highest bracket provided about 67 percent of the total funding.
Of the 168 total donors, 22 are commercial property owners, eight are existing hotel companies and four have active Development Agreements with the City.
Donations were given by companies affiliated with the Le Meridien Delfinia, Shutters, Le Merigot, Bayside Hotel, Wyndham, Casa del Mar and Fairmont hotels.
In a pair of statements, campaign officials said the fundraising reflects a broad coalition of opposition to LV.
“We’ve seen an unprecedented number of elected officials, community organizations, activists and residents unite to form the broadest coalition in the city’s history to fight this reckless and poorly written measure, so it’s not surprising that we’ve also seen an unprecedented number of residents, community and faith-based organizations and property owners donate their time and money to this campaign,” said No on LV campaign spokesman Jason Islas.
In recent weeks, organizations like the Sierra Club, public employee unions and educational advocates have come out against LV while usually supporting the incumbents for City Council.
Judy Abdo, co-chair of Santa Monica Forward, said the donations are a reflection of the city’s commitment to affordable housing not a desire to build more projects.
“Most of the money we raised came from property owners with no plans to redevelop their properties,” she said.
The Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City and several neighborhood organizations have endorsed LV. The measure was co-authored by City Council challenger Armen Melkonians and the group he founded, Residocracy, is running the Yes on LV campaign.
Measure LV would require voter approval for significant development decisions and projects. Supporters say it is necessary to control overdevelopment. Opponents say it will contribute to a worsening housing affordability crisis.
Financial paperwork by Residocracy lists donations of $14,575 for the July to September time frame. The organization has raised a total of $41,066 over the course of the campaign and received $8,258 in non-monetary contributions.
The largest donor listed on Residocracy’s paperwork is Ishak Bibawi who has given a total of $5,000 to the Yes on LV campaign. Three other donors are listed as giving $1,000 or more to the campaign.
Residocracy has spent $34,442 and has a cash balance of $18,590.
Expenses for the Santa Monica Forward committee were not available at press time.
Documents for a second No on LV organization, Housing & Opportunity for a Modern Economy (HOME), were not available for review Wednesday and are expected at the City Clerk’s office Thursday.
BY MATTHEW HALL