POLITICAL NOTEBOOK:Candidates discuss campaign spending limits

October 20, 2006|By Barbara Diamond

Laguna Beach's voluntary campaign spending limit was reduced by the council from $30,000 to $15,000 in 2003, virtually guaranteeing its uselessness.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman, who is seeking reelection, spent almost that much on two mailers, $12,000, not including the designer.

League of Women Voters member Linda Brown raised the question of restoring the $30,000 voluntary campaign spending limit Monday night at the forum co-sponsored by the Top of the World and Temple Hills neighborhood associations.

Candidate Kelly Boyd said he has raised the least money of any council candidate in this election and a $30,000 limit should be fine in a city the size of Laguna.


Former City Clerk Verna Rollinger and Iseman support a limit. Incumbent candidate Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider opposes it as long as candidates are competing with candidates supported by Political Action Committees.

"I think campaign limits hurt newcomers more than incumbents, who already have name recognition," Pearson-Schneider said.

Iseman said $40,000 would be a more realistic limit.

"I would support any realistic limit, but I would not hold it against a candidate who exceeded the limit because of [responding to] a smear campaign," Rollinger said.



Boyd raised $8,250 as of Sept. 30 in his bid for a seat on the City Council. The money was spent on printing, mailing, candidates' statement fees, slate mailers, postage and advertising.

He had $14,362 left in his kitty as of the filing date.

Councilman Steven Dicterow reported raising only slightly more, $23,147, before he pulled out of the campaign. He also reported expenditures of $19,516.44, which were not listed except for reimbursements to his wife, Catrina, for fundraising events at a cost of $1,035.64, office expenses of $633.81 and professional services costing $585.

Pearson-Schneider collected the most money and spent the most by Sept. 30. She reported donations of $57,124,17 and expenditures of $53,835,94. The expenditures included all of her mailers, postage, advertising, consultant fees and event expenses by the filing deadline.

Rollinger collected $53,677 by Sept. 30 and spent $30,680.

Iseman reported contributions of $42,555.49 and expenses of $20,565.02, leaving her with a war chest second only to Rollinger as of Sept. 30.

Village Laguna reported raising $20,020 by Sept. 30 but spent only $3,125 on a mailer and fundraising.

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