I’ve already written about links between ‘out of area’ campaign contributions, charter politics and SCCBOE… but here’s a little Moore:
When Joe Di Salvo stood for re-election to the Area 4 seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education in November 2012, he didn’t have to run against anyone. For some reason, no candidate emerged from Area 4 to challenge him, so Di Salvo basically didn’t even need to campaign.
The Area 4 seat on SCCBOE represents a majority portion of San Jose Unified, a portion of Oak Grove and corresponding portion of East Side Union High school districts.
FPPC filings show Di Salvo raised a total of $6,415 but spent a total of just $1,715. $3,000 came from his own mother. He was sitting on $4,844 in cash at year-end.
I’m fairly certain the deadline to file for candidacy for a November 2012 race was June 30, so by the end of July, Di Salvo must have known he wasn’t going to be challenged.
On August 7, 2012, then-SCCBOE President Di Salvo wrote on San Jose Inside,
“This week I will turn in my candidate papers and $3,500 to the Registrar of Voters for a ballot statement for my Trustee Area No. 4 seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education.”
It doesn’t appear from his FPPC filings that he ever actually paid out this $3,500 fee. As I’ve said, he reported total expenses of less than half that amount, so I’m guessing he avoided it, knowing that as a lone candidate he didn’t need to bother with a candidate statement on the ballot.
Since I don’t live in Area 4, I don’t know for sure whether Di Salvo ever appeared on the ballot, but official election results published by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters don’t report any vote counts from a SCCBOE Area 4 Trustee race.
But hang on—if Di Salvo knew he wasn’t running against anyone and didn’t have any campaign expenses to speak of, why was he still raising money in August 2012? The money he received from his mother alone was more than enough to cover his costs.
Looking at his FPPC filings (which are kind of a mess when you look closely), we see donations from 17 different people, all dated Aug. 12, totaling $2,700, plus another $1,365 in small, non-itemized contributions. Thus he ended the year with a nice little nest egg—that he’s allowed to use for other purposes, mind you. Like donating to other people’s campaigns. (It’s hard for mere amateurs like me to follow the money sometimes.)
Yup, you probably already guessed where this is going… the largest campaign contribution shown among the 17 dated Aug. 12, 2012 came from BCS Board President Ken Moore of Los Altos. Need I mention (again) that Los Altos is not represented by Area 4?
Di Salvo didn’t need Ken Moore’s $500, at least not for his own campaign. Heck, because he received such a generous contribution from his mother on June 3, Di Salvo arguably didn’t need the $200 contribution he received on June 8 from Jennifer Carolan, Principal at New Schools Venture Fund either. Carolan also lives in Los Altos, “has three children who attend a charter school in Los Altos,” and is a member of the BCS Board of Directors.
I guess politics is like a startup: you’re never done raising money. Take whatever you can get, whenever and from whomever you can get it, even if you’re not exactly sure how you’re going to use it, because when you run out of money, it’s game over. You’re done.
Given the modest finances of Di Salvo’s non-campaign portrayed above, maybe you can now better understand why I previously wrote that SCCBOE races are normally “penny ante stakes,” and why it’s rather unbelievable that a pro-Grace Mah, anti-Anna Song PAC could raise $300K to influence November 2012 SCCBOE races.