Fagan Canyon referendum sponsor files second campaign statement

February 08, 2006
Santa Paula News

The election season is in full swing, with the filing of the second campaign statement by the group opposing the City Council-approved Fagan Canyon development.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe election season is in full swing, with the filing of the second campaign statement by the group opposing the City Council-approved Fagan Canyon development. John Wisda, We CARE co-founder and treasurer, reported that the group collected $7,850 from July 31, 2005 to December 31, 2005, $1,000 more in contributions from the previous reporting period. Donations received past the latest reporting deadline were enough to balance the campaign books, Wisda noted.The Council approved the development of 2,147 dwelling units, two elementary schools, 60 acres of parks and 900 acres of open space at the December 7 meeting. The Centex Homes project includes a Future Farmers of America facility and 25,000 square feet of retail to serve canyon residents, spread throughout six neighborhoods of diversified housing.We CARE has been behind two initiatives to stop Fagan Canyon. The first was a land-use measure to hold residential/commercial development to 80-contiguous acres unless voters approve larger projects. The measure would have been in effect for 20 years. Although We CARE gathered enough petition signatures to qualify the initiative, it was rejected by City Clerk Josie Herrera as incomplete.The next We CARE effort was centered on reversing the City Council’s approval of the project. The referendum petition received enough valid signatures to be placed on an upcoming ballot.
In all, We CARE has received a total of $14,490 throughout the second campaign fund filing period, but its expenses recently soared, mainly for paid signature-gatherers who carried the referendum petition. Of the $7,850 received in the latest reporting period, eight donors contributed $300 and up, for a total of $4,700. Two donors, We CARE co-founder and former campaign treasurer Larry Sagely and Scott Cameron contributed $1,000 each. Fourteen donors contributed more than $100 each for a total of $1,850; the balance of the donations of $99 or less totaled about $1,250.Although campaign law does not require that donors of $99 or less be named, the several dozen contributors were identified. All donations listed in the filing were made prior to the Council’s December 7 development approval.Goldstein & Associates, the company that provided the paid signature-gatherers for the We CARE referendum, billed $6,111 and was paid $2,750, leaving an outstanding balance of $3,361. The only other debt reported was $3,034 owed to Clark Printing, which billed $3,534 for printing the referendums and related documents.Legal expenses were listed for the first time, with attorney Richard Francis, who wrote the original We CARE land-use measure, receiving $655. A second attorney was paid $300.Wisda said that additional donations were received after January’s reporting deadline that enabled We CARE to pay outstanding invoices. “We still had one batch of checks that came in January that paid for those unpaid expenses… it was tight, but people always come through.” The donations were enough to retire the campaign debt, with a little less than $200 left over, Wisda added.

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