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Money and Local Elections:
Developers Use Police PAC to Help District 5 Candidate Murphy

Rob Wrenn
Saturday October 29, 2016 - 12:00:00 PM

The Berkeley Police Association PAC, an independent expenditure committee, has now spent $37,443 to send mailers supporting District 5 City Council candidate Stephen Murphy. While most of the money in the police PAC has come from the member dues of police officers, $8000 was contributed by developers: 

  • West Berkeley Investors LLC, Danville, CA $6000.00
  • Patrick Kennedy $1000.00
  • Ali Kashani $500.00
  • Center Street LLC $500.00
The largest contributor is West Berkeley Investors LLC, which gave $6000, an amount roughly equal to the reported contributions of 65 police union members. 

West Berkeley Investors LLC 

Bradley Griggs is listed as the registered agent for West Berkeley Investors LLC. West Berkeley Investors is proposing to develop a 5-story building with 135 units and a 372 space parking garage on the Spengers Parking lot on 4th Street in West Berkeley. The property is a City of Berkeley landmark, West Berkeley Shellmound. 

Developers Patrick Kennedy and Ali Kashani also contributed as did Center Street LLC , one of the developers of the 16-story hotel approved for downtown. 

In addition, unsuccessful Assembly candidate, Elizabeth Echols, who was defeated by Tony Thurmond in 2014, gave $500, and unsuccessful District 8 City Council candidate and former Zoning Adjustments Board member Mike Alvarez Cohen gave $100. 

Griggs, Kennedy, Kashani, Echols, and Cohen had all already give the maximum allowed $250 contribution directly to Stephen Murphy’s own campaign committee. Giving to the police PAC allows them to contribute beyond the $250 limit to support Murphy. Murphy’s opponent Sophie Hahn has over 60% more individual contributors than Murphy and has raised more money for her campaign committee than he has for his. 

In the 2014 election, the police PAC spent over $6600.00 on a mailer in support of District 7 candidate Sean Barry, while also spending close to $3000 on a hit piece attacking incumbent District 7 Council member Kriss Worthington. This year, Sean Barry has received $5000 from the Police PAC as a campaign consultant. 

As previously reported, Stephen Murphy also received $13,018 from the National Association of Realtors Fund based in Chicago. So total independent spending in support of Murphy now totals more than $50,000, second only to the $60,381 in NARF money spent in support of mayoral candidate Laurie Capitelli. To put this spending in perspective, all twelve of the candidates for City Council this year had spent less on their campaigns as of Oct 22 than the amount spent by the police PAC for Murphy. October 22 was the cutoff for the latest required Campaign Disclosure Statement. 

Capitelli, who currently represents District 5 on the City Council, has endorsed Murphy as his successor. More on NARF spending can be found here

Update: BPOA vs. Measure U1 

With the latest filing on the City Web site by the Berkeley Property Owners Association sponsored group campaigning against Measure U1 and in support of rival measure DD, total spending as of October 22 now stands at $877,384, or more than $10 a voter. This is second only to the amount spent in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the soda tax ballot measure in 2014. The City’s Mass Mailing Index reports that there have so far been 13 mailings of campaign literature against U1, even more than the 8 mailings against the soda tax measure. Measure U1 would tax large landlords and raise $3.5 to $4 million for affordable housing. For more on Measures U1 and DD, see:  

More to Come 

Updates will be provided as additional spending for and against candidates is reported. It’s possible that attacks on certain candidates may start appearing in your mail.