Slow-growth group gives big $$$ to Del Piero
Published: October 12, 2012
A NORTH Monterey County activist group
that donated $45,000 to Monterey County supervisor candidate
Marc Del Piero’s campaign early this year donated another
$50,000 in the past two months, according to financial
statements released last week.
The North Salinas Valley Fund for Responsible Growth continued to dig deep to fund the bulk of Del Piero’s campaign, giving him $10,000 on Aug. 1 and another $40,000 on Sept. 6, bringing its total donations this year to $95,000 — a sizable sum for a Monterey County election.
The contribution from the environmental group is a major boost
for Del Piero, who is in a hotly contested race with longtime
incumbent Dave Potter. In the June primary, his victory margin
over incumbent Dave Potter was a mere five votes.
Potter’s biggest cash donation was $10,000 on Sept. 4 from the Salinas Valley Leadership Group.
The North Salinas Valley Fund for Responsible Growth is chaired by land-use activist Julie Engell, a critic of Potter’s and a regular at board of supervisors’ meetings.
The group began as the San Juan Opposition Coalition, which, along with another anti-development group, LandWatch Monterey County, battled HYH Corporation for years over its proposed residential development north of Salinas called Butterfly Village.
Then called the San Juan Coalition, the group got a payout after HYH and Monterey County settled a lawsuit over permits for Butterfly Village. The Coalition agreed to go along with the settlement, and let a scaled back version of the project proceed, in exchange for a $600,000 payment to what became the North Salinas Valley Fund for Responsible Growth and the source of its donations to Del Piero.
Engell told The Pine Cone in June the tax-exempt organization —
registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)4 that
enables it to fund political campaigns — is dedicated to
protecting North Monterey County and the Salinas Valley from
“irresponsible development.” The supervisorial district Del
Piero hopes to represent doesn’t extend to those parts of the
county, but as a county supervisor he would vote on land use
issues that did.
Del Piero’s other contributions included another $500 from
attorney and Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Board
member Kristi Markey, for a total of $1,500; another $2,000 from
Castroville oceanographer John Oliver, bringing his total to
$4,000; $3,000 from Carmel resident Brigitte Wasserman, bringing
her total donations to $8,000; and $250 from land use and water
activist Jan Brennan, bringing her donations to $1,350. Former
LandWatch executive director Chris Fitz gave an additional
$4,000, bringing his total donations to $5,000 for the year.
Also, a Carmel Valley resident who pleaded guilty in 2003 to
threatening a public official after making a series of
threatening phone calls to Potter and his staff has also been
donating to Del Piero. David Fairhurst, who was also the subject
of a restraining order obtained by Potter in 2008, has donated a
total of $2,099 to Del Piero’s campaign.
Potter’s support from local elected officials was trumpeted
Wednesday when U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, Carmel Mayor Jason Burnett,
Sand City Mayor Dave Pendergrass and Assemblyman Bill Monning, a
Carmel resident, held a press conference to publicly support
Potter also received $1,500 from the Monterey County Deputy
Sheriff’s Association, for a total of $3,894; $4,000 from the La
Jolla-based UCP East Garrison, for a total of $6,000; $1,000
from Concord Real Estate Developer Jon Q. Reynolds, bringing his
total to $6,000; and $5,000 from Salinas-based RC Farms.