Top Fundraiser in San Pablo

Cecilia Valdez and incumbent Leonard McNeil have outpaced the rest of the San Pablo City Council candidate field in fundraising, both breaking the five-figure barrier and enjoying wide backing by labor unions, according to campaign finance documents on file with the city clerk.

Arturo Cruz reported raising almost $5,300 from July through Oct. 18, largely from unions. Jerry Sattler raised $3,655 through Oct. 18; and Charles "Nick" Nicholas, almost $3,000, thanks in large part to a $2,000 loan from himself.

Espo, who uses only one name, has not campaigned actively and did not report any fundraising.

The six are competing for three seats on the council. Longtime incumbents Joe Gomes and Mayor Sharon Brown did not seek re- election.

Friends of Cecilia Valdez raised $11,709 this year. Individual contributors since July 1 include council members McNeil and Genoveva Garcia Calloway, Pinole City Council candidate Maria Alegria, Richmond Councilman Harpreet Sandhu, state Assemblywoman Loni Hancock; and West Contra Costa school board candidate Antonio Medrano. Valdez also got $250 from Richmond Sanitary Service, $225 from the National Women's Political Caucus and $250 from the Contra Costa Democratic Party; she is a former party vice chairwoman. Valdez lent her own campaign $3,000.

Valdez took in $4,450 from unions since July 1, including $2,000 from the electrical workers union and smaller amounts from sprinkler fitters, asbestos workers, bricklayers, plumbers, sheet metal workers and teamsters unions. Firefighters Local 1230 gave $500.

McNeil Election Committee raised $10,908 this year. In the second half McNeil took in $5,000 from unions, including carpenters, operating engineers, ironworkers, sheet metal workers, teamsters and plumbers unions. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers gave $2,000; International Association of Firefighters Local 1230, $500. The rest of McNeil's contributions are from individuals, including Calloway and Alegria.

Since July 1, Committee to Elect Arturo Cruz got $2,000 from the electrical workers union; $1,000 from the state, county and municipal workers union; $500 from Firefighters Local 1230; and smaller amounts from Teamsters Local 315 and UA Local 159, the latter in kind.

Committee to Elect Jerry L. Sattler collected $250 from Richmond Sanitary Service and almost $1,400 from individuals, including Gomes, Brown and small-business owners. He lent himself just over $2,000.

Committee to Elect Charles A. "Nick" Nicholas picked up $250 from Richmond Sanitary Service and about $700 in small contributions.

McNeil spent more than $6,500 in the period, mostly on campaign paraphernalia and literature, postage and filing, and had a cash balance of $3,744.

Valdez spent about $7,700, mostly on campaign literature, fundraising, supplies, printing, filing and advertisement and had a cash balance of about $4,000.

Cruz spent about $3,670, mostly on postage and literature, and had a cash balance of about $2,400, including about $800 he had on July 1.

Sattler spent just over $2,000 on literature, yard signs, fundraising, travel printing and a Web site; he had a cash balance of about $1,600.

Nicholas spent about $2,200, mostly on campaign paraphernalia and consulting, and had a cash balance of about $700 as of Oct. 18.

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