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At tail end of one Napa council election, Gentry ramps up spending for next

At tail end of one Napa council election, Gentry ramps up spending for next


Newly filed election finance records tally the tens of thousands of dollars raised by Napa City Council candidates in 2018 – and the early jump an incumbent is seeking toward the 2020 race.

Approaching the halfway mark of her first term at City Hall, Doris Gentry collected $42,075 from Oct. 21 to Dec. 31, according to state-required Form 460 disclosures – more than four times the contributions to at least five of the six contenders in the Nov. 6 election. Gentry’s 2020 campaign also raised its cash on hand from $36,228 to $67,285 during that period.

The flow of campaign money has accelerated as Gentry, who was elected to the council in 2016, ponders whether to enter the next race for Napa mayor rather than defend her council seat. Four-term incumbent Jill Techel announced Tuesday she would not seek re-election in 2020 and is advising her council colleague Scott Sedgley in his bid for the mayor’s chair.

“After the last election, I can see cost of everything radically increasing,” Gentry, who raised just over $40,000 in the 10 months before her 2016 victory, said Thursday. “Whatever I run for, I need a strong nest egg to achieve it. I want to be in a sound position to be successful.”

Three of the contributions to Gentry were for $5,000 each, including gifts from Altamura Enterprises, the company of local developer George Altamura, and Davidon Homes, the Walnut Creek firm that pursued the Napa Oaks II housing development the City Council rejected in June amid longstanding resistance by neighbors. Gentry cast one of two votes in favor of the 51-house project, which would have occupied 80 acres elevated above Old Sonoma Road.

Also donating $5,000 was Anaheim-based Polvora Inc., whose chief executive and vice president have applied to Napa to open a card room on the Lincoln Avenue property occupied by the Compadres Rio Grille restaurant. Earlier, Polvora contributed $5,000 to Peter Mott, who was defeated in his bid for a fourth council term.

In all, Gentry’s campaign received at least 20 contributions of $1,000 or more during the two-month reporting period, records show.

Among those on the 2018 ballot, Liz Alessio, who was elected as the top vote-getter, led in October-December collections with $11,196 to bring her full-year total to $96,556. Expenditures totaled $10,140 for the filing period and $118,345 for 2018 overall.

Two contributions Nov. 2 from the Service Employees International Union, of $2,000 and $4,000, accounted for most of Alessio’s end-of-year funding, which also included $1,000 from Joe Fischer of Strong & Hayden Commercial Real Estate.

Mary Luros, who won a council seat by placing second in the race, gathered $10,279 for a full-year total of $99,164. Her campaign spent $45,507 for the October-December period and $112,114 during 2018.

The largest contribution was $4,000 by SEIU on Nov. 2 four days before the election, followed by $1,000 by Fischer on Election Day and another $1,000 from John Anthony Vineyards LLC a week after Luros’ victory.

Three-term Councilmember Peter Mott spent only $1,499 in the closing months of 2018, on his way to a fifth-place finish, while spending $31,178. His campaign’s contributions and spending for the year totaled $44,366 and $57,140.

Ricky Hurtado, with Alessio one of four first-time council candidates, garnered $1,360 – all in contributions under $100 – for a 2018 total of $44,644. Expenditures from October to December totaled $13,503, bringing the full-year figure to $27,805.

First-time Napa council hopeful Bernie Narvaez reported $1,116 in financial donations at the end of 2018, for a full year total of $42,438.

Candidate James Hinton filed a report on Friday, after the Thursday deadline. He reported receiving $600 in monetary contributions between Oct. 21 and Dec. 31, for a year-to-date total of $14,250.

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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