Political Climate with Mark Simon: Who’s winning the campaign cash race for Redwood City council?

in Featured/Headline/PoliticalClimate

The latest campaign spending reports in the Redwood City Council race show businesswoman and Planning Commissioner Giselle Hale continues to out-raise her opponents by a substantial amount – almost twice as much as the next nearest candidate, grassroots activist Diana Reddy.

And community activist Jason Galisatus, who entered the race late, raised a remarkable amount of campaign money in a shortened period of time.

Hale has raised a total of $78,166 for the campaign, including $29,220 during the most recent reporting period, which ran from July 1 through September 22. The deadline to file reports for that period was last week.

The surprise in the latest set of spending reports is Reddy, who has raised $46,941 for the campaign, including $18,048 during the latest reporting period.

While many of her reported contributions were in small amounts of less than $100, Reddy has raised more than one-third of her campaign funds — $17,838 – from only two sources: herself and Julie Pardini, the founder and moderator of the Facebook page “Redwood City Residents Say What,” which Pardini has used as a platform to advance Reddy’s candidacy.

Reddy has made a personal loan to the campaign of $5,000 and has contributed another $5,398 in in-kind donations. Pardini has donated $7,440 to Reddy’s campaign.

PARDINI’S CAMPAIGN REPORTING VIOLATION: Pardini also has donated an additional $4,000 to three other candidates — $2,000 to small business owner Christina Umhofer, $1,500 to accountant and community volunteer Rick Hunter and $500 to Planning Commissioner Ernie Schmidt.

That brings Pardini’s total campaign contributions in this election to $11,440, which, under state campaign laws, qualifies her as a major donor. As such, she is required to organize her own campaign committee and file a separate form reporting her donation activities.

She has failed to do so.

Pardini also failed to file a major donor report in 2015, when she donated $12,000 to the unsuccessful city council candidacy of Tania Sole.

Asked about her failure to file the campaign statements, Pardini, with characteristic forthrightness, said she was unaware of the requirement and that she would correct what she acknowledged was a mistake.

“What’s done is done,” she said. “It’s just carelessness on my part. I was told it was not my personal responsibility to file. Whatever I have to do, I have to do. … I need to call my accountant and will not only be reporting for this campaign, but the previous one as well. I’m glad you’re telling me this.”

THE MONEY RACE: Meanwhile, back at the race for campaign contributions, Galisatus came in a strong third, having raised $39,323 during the 83-day period covered by the latest report, all of it in direct dollar contributions.

Schmidt has raised a total of $28,259, all of it during the 83-day reporting period, since he was a late entrant into the race. Nearly half the money he raised was a personal loan he made to his campaign of $12,500.

Umhofer has raised a total of $27,781, including $11,576 during the reporting period.

Hunter has raised a total of $25,538 for the campaign, including $14,886 during the period.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, incumbent Vice Mayor Diane Howard raised the least amount of money — a total of $22,837 for the campaign and $18,672 for the reporting period. This includes a $5,000 loan from her husband, Dr. Steve Howard.

THERE’S MONEY, AND THEN THERE’S CASH: As a 19-year incumbent, Howard undoubtedly has the highest voter name recognition and the most extensive network of supporters, built over more than two decades of civic involvement. That would seem to require less from her in terms of campaign spending.

It is likely, however, that neither Howard nor any of the other candidates is widely known, given the relatively anonymous nature of local politics everywhere and the great majority of people who pay little or no attention to the city council.

Similarly, it is clear that Hunter and Umhofer are relying on their own extensive personal connections to balance the fundraising of Hale, Galisatus and Reddy.

It is equally clear that Hale and Galisatus, in particular, are planning on a more traditional approach to the campaign, raising substantial funds to pay for extensive voter outreach in terms of mail and other forms of contact.

Both of them have the most background in the nuts and bolts of campaigning, having worked on political campaigns in support of other candidates.

With ballots arriving in homes in a week and with only a month to Election Day, the campaign could come down to who has contacted voters the most, and that would tend to favor the candidates who have the most money on hand for the final days of the campaign.

That would be Hale, who began the last stretch of the campaign with $53,868 in cash on hand, and Galisatus, who had $29,744.

In descending order, the other candidates and the amount of cash they had on hand as of September 22 are: Howard, $18,310; Umhofer, $17,078; Reddy, $14,902; Schmidt, $14,369; and Hunter, $11,353.

Contact Mark Simon at mark.simon24@yahoo.com.

*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Online.


  1. Looks like Julie Pardini is the George Soros/Koch brothers of Redwood City politics. Wish I had that kind of cash to throw around.

  2. Giselle Hale is the candidate who had received more fund from corporations, I wonder why is that. Dians Reddy states in her official page that she does not accept money from corporations. Who do you think is going to be representing residents of Redwood City and who will be responding to big corporations’ interest once in the CC?

  3. Correction – Pardini actually gave 1K to Schmidt, two different $500 donations. He just didn’t properly list her YTD total in the donor disclosure.

  4. Julie Pardini is probably one of the most Honest and Honorable women I know. She would never knowlingly do anything deceitful!
    Mark, you continue to help J Paul with his development plans,so just how honorable are you with slanted one sided slams?

  5. Julie Pardini is the largest or second largest donor to the candidates that she supports. Boy will she own the CC if they are elected…

  6. Giselle Hale – please do not leave your political trash in my yard. Neither you, nor a representative of your campaign, ask if they could post a sign on my lawn. Shame on you for thinking it would be okay.

    • Why don’t you just message her campaign and ask them to pick it up? Clearly someone just made a delivery mistake, no need to go crazy about it in an article comment section. You just come off as petty and rude.

  7. I love how once again Jason is identified as a “community activist”. Interestingly, no mention that he works in the Office of Government Relations at Stanford. The Office promotes the interests of the University’s faculty, students and staff through contact with public officials, involvement with educational organizations, tracking of pertinent legislation and LOBBYING on behalf of the University on a wide variety of issues from land use policies to funding for the basic sciences.

    I am certain it was an honest oversight yet again.

  8. Mr.Bryan
    While I ageee that Julie is Honest and Honorable I disagree with you on Mark .
    Mark is the most Honorable and Honest person and fairest journalists I know..
    If we had more Mark Simon we wouldn’t have the mess we have in politics
    Thank you
    Alpio Barbara

  9. Alpio, its Ms. Bryan
    I’ll assume that you have read the article “who’s winning the campaign cash race”? It quickly mentions just one contributor and takes direct aim at J. Pardini, yet, it obviously fails to mention any other campaign contibutor. He has also brought much of his own personal opinion as to the results of the election. This sort of reporting is neither honorable nor ethical, and it is EXCATLY why we have the “MESS” in politics we do have.
    Jane Bryan

  10. I’m new to the Redwood City Politics so take this as just another point of view.

    Overall I did not see a slant toward any given candidate in the article. But I think it would be nice to see a follow-up article to see if Julie Pardini has filed the correct paperwork.

  11. Ms. J. Bryan/Jane Bryan, I am confused. The article conveys clearly that she did not know she was breaking the law. It reports on what the FPPC considers serious failures to comply with reporting requirments established to provide Citizens a window into who is funding campaigns. In summary, the law was broken. the reporter asked her about it, she expressed ignorance of the law, that is the story. What is wrong in this country is that when people don’t like the facts presented, and in this case they are undisputed and documented facts including an admission, they side step the issue and attack others. You can decide whether it mattters to you, but don’t you think everyone should have the right to know about it and make that decision for themselves? I don’t know this person. I do know that as reported here she has donated a lot more money than I can to candidates, one in particular. That makes me nervous. I don’t like it. Even if it is as altruistic as you say. I think there should be laws against it and it makes me wonder what is at stake for someone who would be nearly the entire source of funding for one candidate. Or perhaps she is just that rich.

    • I am much more nervous about the amount of money collected by Councilman Gee from his fat cat supporters that was gifted to Hale and Galatious after his own candidacy became untenable. Gee’s velvet glove support for developers who have enriched themselves while providing minimal community benefits and his lack of vision for building a sustainable City (not to mention the millions wasted on closing Docktown) have played a major role in creating the sad financial situation now facing the City in spite of a period of unprecedented growth. One hopes that passing the mantle and his cash to Hale and Galatious does not forshadow more of the same misguided policies. Julie Pardini owes no favors and has no personal ambitions beyond seeing more enlightened fiscal policies and a more humane social environment in the city she loves.

  12. I’ve seen this Facebook group, “Redwood City Residents Say What.” A place where Pardini and her anti-growth associates peddle conspiracy theories, accuse everyone they don’t politically align with of corruption with no evidence, accuse Facebook and tech of taking over Redwood City (ironically, using Facebook!), and attack anyone who dares to have a different viewpoint. What garbage. I’m glad somebody is shining a light on her attempt to influence politics.

  13. What confounds me is how someone who has voted for the swift overdevelopment of Redwood City, supported and appointed the commissioners who voted for it and/or recused herself from key votes because of her own ownership has remained the “Teflon” councilmember and has been elected for 19 years. How are others held accountable but she doesn’t seem to be?

  14. I was not that troubled by the article, this lady clearly doesn’t understand what she is doing. The comments and criticism of the very factual reporting seem to me to be what is way off base.

  15. Quite the Mark Simon going on here, quick to criticize a voting member of the public for contributions however when one of Climates / J.Pauls pets are under an investigation from the FPPC ( case# 2017-400007), no comment has ever been made. Two years to question the status or history of case and never a word from Mark or Adam. Huuuummm. For all we know, enough evidence was provided that the case was kicked to attorney generals office for a more comprehensive review. Such journalistic talent at this PR site.
    Bet this doesn’t get posted….

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