Opinion: What my campaign finance record means

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 third district candidate Jeff Maloney's response to Sean McMorris' op-ed. Read fourth district candidate David Mejia's response as well.

My motivation in running for Alhambra City Council is to make my community a better place to live. Period.

I have dedicated my professional and personal life to improving the lives of those around me.  As the chief attorney for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, working to preserve open space and build new parks, as a volunteer city commissioner, and as a board member for several nonprofit organizations, I believe my record speaks for itself.

For this reason, I take particular offense to the unsubstantiated accusations that I would turn my back on half a lifetime’s worth of work for the public good in exchange for a handful of campaign donations. It simply is not true, and I am disappointed that my opponent, Mark Nisall, and his surrogates have chosen to sink to these depths and attack my integrity in a last-ditch attempt to capture a few more votes. Comparisons of candidates on issues and experience are valid, but I have run a positive campaign and refrained from attacking my opponent’s motivation or character.  Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my opponent’s campaign team.

When I decided to run, I made a commitment to myself and my supporters that I would organize an honorable, transparent, credible, and competent campaign. I believe I have done that. I studied the issues facing our city, I sought and received support from elected officials and community leaders, and I also began to raise the necessary funds to get my message to the voters.  

Alhambra has approximately 39,000 registered voters. I believe that if a candidate is going to put his or her name on the ballot, they have a duty to run a responsible campaign and honestly communicate to the voters about their qualifications and their vision for the future. The reality is that to communicate effectively with tens of thousands of voters is costly.

From the beginning of this campaign, I have been overwhelmed by the financial support I received from the people that know me best: my family, friends, and colleagues that I have come to know as a lifelong resident of the San Gabriel Valley and community volunteer.  Although my opponent and his advisors have decided to attack my personal integrity based on a handful of cherry-picked contributions, I’m proud to have earned the support of nearly 200 individual donors to my campaign.  The great majority of the donors to my campaign are family and friends that I have known for years.  I believe that the strength and depth of that support is the direct result of my character, my years of public service and my commitment to improving our community.

After the early support from friends and family, after I began to talk about my positive, hopeful vision for the future of Alhambra, and after I proved that I was running a serious, competent campaign, I began to receive support from small business owners and others interested in investing in our City.  With no shred of evidence, my opponent and his surrogates claim that this support proves that I am nothing more than a puppet for “developers” and will work against the interests of the people of Alhambra. On the contrary, my supporters simply did their research.  They listened to me and they listened to my opponent. They compared our records and they studied our social media profiles. They compared our temperaments and observed how we interacted with people – especially those who may disagree with us. They concluded that I was the better choice for the future of our city. In these last few days of the campaign, I urge Alhambra voters to conduct the same comparison.

As of Oct. 25, my opponent has raised approximately $12,000 for his campaign and has identified approximately 9 donors in his campaign filings.  Having contributed roughly $8,200 of his personal wealth to his campaign, his campaign is primarily self-funded. Every candidate is free to spend personal funds on a political campaign, but I reject the underlying implication of my opponent’s spokesperson in his op-ed piece that only people who can afford to spend thousands of dollars on a campaign should run for office. Who among us could afford to spend over $8,000 of our own personal funds on a political campaign? I certainly could not. 

The bottom line is this: if I am fortunate enough to be elected, I will answer only to the people of Alhambra. I appreciate the financial support that I have received, but if any donor ever asks me to do something that is not in the best interest of the people of Alhambra, I will refuse and I will immediately refund their donation.

People will inevitably disagree with some of the decisions I make. I accept that, but I will always listen to dissenting views and I will always treat each person with the respect they deserve. I pledge to every resident of this City that I will always continue to do what is in the best interest of Alhambra.

Jeff Maloney is a candidate for the Alhambra city council's third district.

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

David Mejia 

Ken Toh

Jeff Maloney

Mark Nisall

 

4 thoughts on “Opinion: What my campaign finance record means”

  1. It’s plainly obvious to anyone with critical thinking skills or a peak into Maloney’s campaign funds—that he is in the pocket of developers and should he win, it will be the status quo of more density, more traffic congestion, and a [continuing] lower quality of life for the majority of Alhambra residents.

    I attended MANY Planning Commission meetings while Maloney was on board, and he never met a developer he didn’t like. In nearly 95% of development projects in the city and residential neighborhoods, and despite strong opposition from residents—Maloney ALWAYS backed the developers.

    His record speaks for itself despite his claims of “transparency” and “protection/preservation of our residential neighborhoods. He’s just another pawn in a long line of outside interests money.

    1. “…or a PEEK into Maloney’s campaign…”

      Typo corrected.

  2. Jeff, classifying “a handful of campaign donations” as something insignificant in comparison to your work for the public good is misleading and does not address the core issue in the article.
    Outside donations from special interest do play a big factor in our elections and is one of the reasons so few choose to run against the candidates or incumbents that have received large donations from “a handful” of donors. The many expensive mailers and the purchased campaign slate mailer that you have mailed to the residents are but two examples of how this money comes into play. It was the same situation in the last election where Eric Sunada ran against Steven Sham who received enough donations to spend close to $200,000 to defeat Mr. Sunada by 400 votes. These large donations are given to you and Mr. Mejias for a reason and the donors must feel confident that their projects will get a favorable vote from you or there is no reason developers from Orange County and West Hollywood would be involved in our local elections. A recent unanimous city council vote to award an exclusive towing contract to a city contractor who gave thousands of dollars to all of their campaigns highlights the potential conflict of interest and look of impropriety that you will face if elected to council.

    Towing contract vote:

    http://www.spectrumstream.com/streaming/alhambra/meeting_2016_10_24.cfm

    I am glad that Sean wrote this article and the more light that can shine on the role of special interests in our local government the better. What is wrong with that? Taking money from special interests is corrupting our democratic process both here in Alhambra and nationwide.

  3. Jeff,
    I think the facts speak for themselves. The voters can make up their own minds about what your campaign finance records reveal. But you have falsely claimed that “Mark Nisall and his surrogates” are responsible for my Op-Ed piece. The article is based solely on my own research and the conclusions are mine alone about how money influences elections and how large donations from special interests can potentially influence a politician’s stance on certain issues. You and David were granted several days to compile your own Op-Eds in response to my article before it was published. This is quite remarkable, since Mark Nisall and Ken Toh were not afforded that same opportunity. Yet, you used your Op-Ed platform to falsely accuse Nisall and his supporters of conspiring on my article. This is wrong, unsubstantiated, and completely untrue. In your Op-Ed you could have simply defended yourself and addressed your concerns with what I wrote, but you instead chose to use your platform to attack your opponent and falsely accuse him of having a say in what I wrote. You are entitled to your own opinion about what your campaign finance records reveal, and so is everybody else. But it is inappropriate and manipulative for you to paint your opponent in a negative light based on what I wrote, which is based entirely on public information.

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