Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

CD 4 Elections: The Money Begins to Flow


By Jack Humphreville,  first published in CityWatch on Jan. 15, 2015.

LA WATCHDOG – As of December 31, the 14 candidates to succeed Tom LaBonge in Council District 4 have raised $1.6 million, including $153,000 in matching funds.  But more importantly, after spending almost $600,000, the 14 candidates have over $1 million in cash on hand that will be used to deliver their carefully crafted messages and slogans on why they are uniquely qualified to represent us on the Los Angeles City Council.

However, not all candidates are created equal as the top five candidates have over 85% of the cash on hand.  In order of cash on hand, they are Carolyn Ramsay, LaBonge’s former chief of staff; David Ryu, a relative unknown who was a deputy to County Supervisor Yvonne Burke; Steve Veres (photo), the Los Angeles Director for State Senate Leader Kevin de Leon; Teddy Davis, a press secretary for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; and Wally Knox, a former State Assemblyman and Commissioner of the Department of Water and Power.

A preliminary analysis of the campaign donations of these five candidates reveals some interesting dynamics.

For example, Carolyn Ramsay and Teddy Davis are the only two candidates to have received matching funds from the City.  This implies that they each received contributions from at least 200 residents of the Council District.  It is therefore no surprise that the average donation for these two candidates was in the range of $300 to $350 per donor.  This compares to a maximum contribution of $700.

On the other hand, the average contribution to Steve Veres was $523 as almost half of his 455 contributors maxed out.  It also appears that more than half his donors do not live in the City of Los Angeles.

Many of the Veres donors appear to be part of a network of politicians, candidates for office, government employees, attorneys, and government contractors, including twelve employees of Pacifica Services, a company that is up to its eyeballs involving the corruption at the Central Basin Municipal Water District.

Veres also received the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party as State Senate Leader Kevin de Leon strong armed delegates and the alternates to vote for Veres.  At the same time, Ramsay, Ryu, Knox, and Joan Pelico, all good Democrats, pleaded with the delegates not to issue any endorsement. Needless to say, it is hard to say no to one of the Big Three Sacramento politicos who has considerable influence over the State’s $164 billion budget.

According to several of the other candidates, the endorsement of the County Democratic Party and the support of State Senate Leader de Leon will allow the party and its cronies to funnel big bucks to an Independent Expenditure committee with the intent of buying the election for Veres.

Over the next 46 days, the 14 candidates will bombard us with their promises to repair our streets and sidewalks, restore services, enhance public safety, improve LAFD response times, green the environment, improve transportation, to help the homeless, build affordable housing, protect our neighborhoods from overdevelopment and traffic, balance the budget, and reform our underfunded pension plans.

While evaluating their promises, pledges, and platform, especially as it relates to the City’s precarious finances, we also need to follow the money as the source of campaign cash will influence how the candidates will vote once they are in office.

We cannot afford another fiscally irresponsible Council Member.

The following is a list of candidates and the cash they have raised as of December 31, 2014.  The totals include matching funds for Teddy Davis and Carolyn Ramsay.

$       54,972Tara Bannister
$       16,090Jay Beeber
$     182,551Teddy Davis
$       51,697Sheila Irani
$              –Step Jones
$     193,633Wally Knox
$       31,081Fred Mariscal
$       51,985Tomas O’Grady
$     125,027Joan Pelico
$     333,549Carolyn Ramsay
$     310,595David Ryu
$       10,175Rostom Sarkissian
$              –Mike Schaefer
$     238,140Steve Veres


Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, The Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds — He can be reached at:  [email protected].

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