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Opinion: How I raised money for my city council campaign

In the run-up to the Alhambra city council elections, questions have been raised about campaign contributions some candidates have received. The Alhambra Source presents three opinion pieces on this issue. This is fourth district candidate David Mejia’s response to Sean McMorris’ op-ed piece. Read third district candidate Jeff Maloney’s response to McMorris’ piece.

Since deciding to run for Alhambra City Council over a year ago, my family knew that an important part of a successful campaign involves fundraising. Though it is admirable that my opponent decided not to take any donations from city contractors or developers, this does not mean that my taking donations from these businesses will sway my decision-making skills.

My wife and I come from first generation Hispanic families and are college graduates who have successful professions. We have struggled and worked hard for everything we have in our lives due to our religious upbringing, family values, strong work ethic and a commitment to serving others. It has been mentioned numerous times by my opponent, Ken Toh, and his associates that taking donations from such groups is a conflict of interest. Sean McMorris has written in the Alhambra Source that I am in the pockets of the city developers and I have been given tens of thousands of dollars by city contractors and developers. What disappoints me about McMorris’ opinion is that he conveniently does not list the majority of my donations that include family, friends, educators, public safety personnel and retirees. Additionally, each of the donations that were given to my campaign did not come with any strings attached as my opponent and his supporters want you to believe. Every time I met with a campaign donor, they were impressed by my background, commitment, and involvement in the Alhambra community.

Since McMorris reported that a lot of my donations came from developers and realtors, here are the facts: as of Nov. 7, 2016, I have had a total of 76 donations for my campaign. Of these 76 donations, 14 have come from developers and local Realtors, 2 have come from political action committees, and the remaining 60 have come from my family, friends, neighbors, public safety, educators, retirees and local businesses who want to support me to become the next elected member of the Alhambra City Council.

I feel blessed by the overwhelming financial support I have received for my campaign. The donations have been reported as required by law and the money has been used for the purpose of buying lawn signs, slates and campaign mailers. If elected, my decisions will be based on what is best for the city and residents of Alhambra. It will not be based on Mr. Toh and his associate’s assertions that city developers and contractors will influence my decisions. Thank you to all my supporters.

David Mejia is a candidate for the Alhambra city council’s fourth district.

Campaign finance records for Alhambra city council candidates, Jan. 1 – Oct. 10, 2016.

David Mejia

Ken Toh

Jeff Maloney

Mark Nisall

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1 thought on “Opinion: How I raised money for my city council campaign”

  1. Mr. Mejia,

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of what I wrote. You claimed in your Op-Ed response that I wrote that you are “in the packets of the city developers.” I made no such claim in my article. What I laid out in my article are the facts, based on public records, in conjunction with my own research, about who you and the other three candidates have taken campaign funds from and the potential implications of it.

    The article does not mention the campaign contributions from your “family, friends, educators, public safety personnel and retirees,” that you speak of because, based on public records and my research, they do not make up the monetary majority of your campaign funds (despite your claim that they do, unless your friends and family include the current and/or potential business interests who have contributed to your campaign). In addition, friends, family, retirees, educators, etc. are not the focus of my article because 1) there is less potential for conflicts of interest from such people if you are elected, 2) the graphs in the article account for these donors contributions, and 3) people can see for themselves who gave to your campaign by looking at the attached campaign finance records of each city council candidate.

    The bottom line Mr. Mejia is that, like it or not, money does influence elections, and big donations from special interests can result in those same special interests holding undue political sway. That is why the focus of the article is on donations from moneyed interests and not donations from friends, family, and other individuals and entities who give but don’t have business interests at stake. You are of course free to claim such moneyed interests will not affect your decision making on the City Council, but the public has a right to come to its own conclusions about what your campaign finance records reveal.