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Counting the dollar endorsements

A well-oiled local election campaign doesn't come cheap.

March 02, 2011|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

Four of the seven candidates running for three open seats on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council have raised a total of more than $60,000 in campaign contributions heading into Election Day.

With fewer than 15,000 registered voters to sway, that’s more than $4 per potential ballot cast.

The largest campaign war chests of the race belong to Planning Commissioner Michael Davitt and incumbent Councilwoman Laura Olhasso.

Davitt leads the pack with $21,583 in political contributions as of Feb. 22, according to a round of campaign finance disclosure statements filed last week.

Olhasso, who has also tapped a wide range of supporters, isn’t far behind. She’s raised $19,681.

Mayor Don Voss has found $14,213 in contributions for his reelection bid and has also made himself a $5,000 loan.

Local businessman Charlie Kamar has $7,986 in campaign funds.

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Hopefuls Jim Hill, Jacqueline Harris and Robert Richter are not actively seeking campaign contributions and have filed forms promising to raise and spend less than $1,000.

Tracing the sources of campaign coffers— who’s supporting whom, and how strongly — helps to map out candidates’ relationships with community members as well as other candidates.

In this race, campaign contributions show that council members and other politically-active La Cañadans have tended to rally around incumbents Olhasso and Voss while also embracing Davitt.

Members of the development and business communities have spread their support a bit differently, with developers mainly focused on support for Davitt and business owners among the most willing to share their dollars with Kamar.

Local pols open wallets

Not surprisingly, support from sitting public officials has helped drive the fundraising success of the race’s two incumbents and Davitt, who is endorsed by all five current City Council members.

State Assemblyman and former La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Anthony Portantino is the race’s largest single campaign donor. Portantino tapped his more than $600,000-strong elections spending account — money at the ready for a possible bid to unseat Congressman David Dreier in 2012 — to give $1,000 each to Olhasso and Voss, plus $500 to Davitt.

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