Money edge to incumbents in St. Helena

2010-02-22T00:00:00Z Money edge to incumbents in St. HelenaBy Jesse Duarte For the Register Napa Valley Register
February 22, 2010 12:00 am  • 

A few large cash donations helped the incumbents increase their fundraising advantage in the St. Helena Unified School District recall campaign.

In January the committee representing the incumbents received $5,000 gifts from Gary Rogers of Oakland and William Cronk of Lafayette, bringing their total raised to $30,018, according to campaign finance reports. The committee for the incumbents — Ines DeLuna, Cynthia Noble Lane, Carolyn Martini and Cindy Warren — has spent $19,568.

The committee representing the four challengers — Jeff Conwell, Jeanne DeVincenzi, Jeannie Kerr and Sean Maher — has raised $8,775 and spent $4,663.

A second pro-recall committee, Citizens for Quality Education, has raised $10,797 and spent $10,255. That committee became active during the early phases of the recall campaign last summer.

The committee representing the incumbents has also received donations from Sutter Home Winery ($5,000), St. Helena farmer and businessman Jim Gamble ($1,400), community volunteer Dorothy Mondavi ($1,200), Windy Bay LLC, a firm operated by Jim Gamble ($1,500), 1250 Church Street Holdings, also affiliated with Gamble ($1,500), St. Helena residents Daniel Lynch ($1,000), and Rasmussen Vineyards owner Celia Ramsey ($1,000).

The incumbents received $500 contributions from Yountville resident and former San Francisco 49ers executive Carmen Policy, Rex Dzura of Ocean View, Hawaii, St. Helena resident William Connolly, former Superintendent Allan Gordon, and Pope Valley rancher Peggy Dickson.

Smaller donors included insurance agent Gary Jaffe, Trustee Cynthia Lane’s husband Skip Lane, Trustee Cindy Warren’s husband Jeff Warren, Catrina Howatt, the district’s chief business officer, Allan Gordon’s daughter Megan Gordon, St. Helena resident Robert Marshall, Trustee Carolyn Martini, former school board candidate Roger Adams, Menlo Park resident Donald Gleason and Pleasanton resident Mavis Noble.

The committee’s expenses include ads in the St. Helena Star; yard signs; consulting services by Dresner, Wickers & Associates, described on its Web site as a “Republican political consulting firm” from San Francisco ($3,000); a phone survey conducted by Santa Rosa political consulting firm Muelrath Public Affairs, Inc. ($2,500); and campaign literature by Advantage Marketing of Santa Rosa ($2,839) and Greater Works Printing of Rohnert Park ($4,490).

The committee representing the challengers listed donors including Caymus Vineyards ($4,000), winemaker Helen Mawson ($2,000), candidate Jeannie Kerr’s husband David Kerr ($500), Lauren Conwell, wife of candidate Jeff Conwell ($500), and St. Helena resident Bill Ryan ($100).

The committee reported in-kind donations, in the form of lawn signs from Todd DeVincenzi, husband of candidate Jeanne DeVincenzi; and printing costs from Jeanne DeVincenzi and Maher Advisors, the wine industry consulting firm where candidate Sean Maher is a founding partner.

Expenses included ads in the Star, yard signs, stamps and mailing fees.

The second pro-recall committee, Citizens for Quality Education, reported donations from St. Helena resident Ellen Gallagher ($1,000), Caymus Vineyards ($1,000), Cherie Melka, owner of Melka Wines ($1,000), John Milliken ($500), Kathy Zelazny ($250), Sharon Harris ($250), Stanton Vineyards ($200), and numerous smaller gifts.

Citizens for Quality Education’s expenses include payments for professional services from Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP, a Sacramento-based law firm specializing in campaigns and elections (roughly $2,500); campaign materials; and costs associated with printing the recall petitions.

The mail-in election is winding down, as all ballots are due to the Napa County Elections Office by Tuesday at 8 p.m. The results will be announced Tuesday night.

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(6) Comments

  1. notanapanative
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    notanapanative - February 22, 2010 5:14 am
    I wonder what interest someone from Oakland or Lafayette would have in a school board election in St helena, that would cause them to donate such a large amount of cash?
  2. cindywarren
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    cindywarren - February 22, 2010 9:53 am
    notanapanative said: "I wonder what interest someone from Oakland or Lafayette would have in a school board election in St helena, that would cause them to donate such a large amount of cash?"

    Grandchildren.
  3. cindywarren
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    cindywarren - February 22, 2010 9:54 am
    To notanapanative:
    The answer to your question is GRANDCHILDREN
  4. MomofThree
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    MomofThree - February 22, 2010 1:20 pm
    cindywarren said: "To notanapanative:The answer to your question is GRANDCHILDREN "

    That may be true, but it also gives the appearance that the current board is catering to out-of-town interests rather than local children and parents; just one more reason for the recall.

  5. kbc
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    kbc - February 22, 2010 2:41 pm
    Geez Cindy Warren, I hope you don't speak to the children like that! Be nice at least in answering a question, was a good answer but your tone completely turned me off.
  6. notanapanative
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    notanapanative - February 22, 2010 4:11 pm
    Ms. Warren,

    Thank you for responding to my question.

    I appreciate clarifying why 2 separate people from out of town would take an interest in a school board election in St. Helena.

    I just realized that you are actually one of the incumbents so the reason for their interest and willingness to fund such large donations becomes very clear to me.
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