Local News

City Council, Measures S and U Campaign Finances

State and local campaigns, including Fullerton City Council Candidates, ballot measure campaigns, and other local political interests have filed their first pre-election campaign finance disclosures on Form 460s with the Fullerton City Clerk. Large contributions and expenditures are also reported on an ongoing basis within 24 hours of receipt using Form 497, as are Independent Expenditures supporting or opposing a candidate, filed on Form 496. All reports are available for public access from the “City Clerk” folder under “Campaign Statements” HERE.

District 1

The 2 candidates in District 1 have reported similar finances since July 1. Fred Jung has $36,304 in contributions including a $10,000 loan from himself and has spent just over $10,000. Andrew Cho has raised $21,224 with a $1,500 loan from himself to his campaign and has spent $13,000.

Jung’s largest donor, excluding himself, is his father-in-law, who contributed $5,000. His next 3 largest contributors are from Vargas Tree Service in Anaheim and Organix Recycling in Fullerton who each have contributed $2,500, and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva who has made contributions totaling $2,000. Jung has received $1,500 each from the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union and the Orange County Employees Association, and $1,000 each from the Food and Commercial Workers Union, two downtown business owners, and an Anaheim business owner. Jung has also benefited from $14,000 in independent expenditures as reported by the Fullerton Firefighters Association in the form of mailers and other advertisements.

Cho’s largest contributor is John W. Phelps II who gave $4,999. His next largest contributor is the Lincoln Club of Orange County who provided $2,899 in “slate (mailer) card payments.” The next 2 largest contributors are his father and a real estate broker, who each gave $2,000, and three $1,000 contributions each from a dentist, a business owner in Fremont, and John Saunders, who is known for having increased rents on the seniors living on fixed incomes at Rancho La Paz Mobile Home Park in Fullerton and Anaheim.

District 2

District 2 is similarly competitive between 2 of the 4 candidates. Nick Dunlap raised $40,312 in contributions in 2019 and another $43,344 so far this year. Of the $83,656 total, $11,962 is a loan from Dunlap to his campaign. Dr. Faisal Qazi has raised $65,155 since July, including a $30,000 loan he made to his own campaign. Dunlap has spent $29,778 and Qazi has spent $31,688.

Excluding his loan, Dunlap’s 2 largest contributions are $5,000 from California Real Estate PAC (CREP) and a $4,335 payment for slate mailers from the Lincoln Club. The next highest are $2,500 from the Apartment Assn. of Orange County PAC and a variety of $1,000 contributions from PACs and others representing real estate interests such as the California Apartment Association, Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, Tomlinson Property Management, Dunlap Real Estate Investments, Pacific Coast Management, Jerome Properties, MPMS Property Management, and Uptown Fullerton Apartments.

Qazi’s large contributors, excluding his loan, are $2,500 from Cerritos Attorney Navneet Chugh, $2,500 from CEO of Nisum, $1,500 from an M.D. in Glendora, and $1,000 each from Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, the president of Dana Investment Corp., a physician from Riverside, a physician from Walnut, and an M.D. from Covina.

The other two candidates in District 2 are not funding their campaigns at the same level as Dunlap and Qazi. Mackenzie Chang has filed a form 470 stating that he will not raise or spend $2,000 or more during his run for council. Chuck Sargeant, however, is funding his campaign with his own money. He has made in-kind contributions for signs, flyers, advertisements, and consultants totaling $6,955. He recently contributed another $7,000 for a total of $13,955. He reports expenses of $15,310.

District 4

The difference in campaign spending between the two District 4 Candidates, Aaruni Thakur and Bruce Whitaker is significant. Since July 1 Thakur has raised $48,290, including a $5,000 loan from himself and Whitaker has added $15,288 to his prior balance of $13,594 without incurring any loans. However, Whitaker reports spending only $2,052 while Thakur’s reports show expenses totaling $27,052. Additionally, Thakur has benefited from independent expenditures as reported by Fullerton Firefighters Association totaling $13,306.

Thakur’s largest contributions, besides his loan, are $2,000 each from the CFO of Nibbi and from Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, $1,999 from an unemployed individual, $1,500 each from 2 family members and the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, and $1,000 each from the Food and Commercial Workers Union, Fullerton Firefighters Association, Attorney Navneet Chugh, Todd Olivas and Associates, and his father.

Whitaker’s highest donors are Jerome Properties and the Manufactured Housing Education Trust PAC that each gave $2,000. Former School Board Member Chris Thompson made an $1,868 in-kind payment for slate mailers. The Apartment Association Orange County PAC gave $1,500 and CREP, John Saunders, Mesa Property Management, and downtown business JP23, contributed $1,000 each.

Measure S

Of the two measures placed on the ballots of Fullerton voters by the City Council, Measure S is the more contentious. It is a 1.25% sales tax increase that will go into the general fund. Arguments submitted in support of S say the sales tax will “repair our local streets” and “maintain fast 911 emergency response times.” Opponents argue it will make Fullerton’s sales tax rate the second highest in the County and the tax “is not dedicated to fix Fullerton streets,” and “could be used for anything.”

Fullerton Taxpayers for Reform was originally formed to support the successful recall of 3 City Council members in 2012. Since then, the PAC has taken positions for and against other issues in the City, most recently opposing Measure S. One $5,000 contribution from the Maverick Theatre owner has been added to the PAC’s $4,878 balance prior to Measure S.

By contrast, the Yes on S campaign has garnered a $500 contribution from the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce, $4,999 from John Phelps, and $10,000 each from Fullerton Firefighters Association and Fullerton Police Officers Association PACs.

Measure U

Measure U was placed on the ballot by the City Council to end the sale of “safe and sane” fireworks in Fullerton. No one submitted an argument in favor, but arguments opposing U were submitted that claim U would “take away the millions of dollars Fullerton nonprofit community groups earn through fireworks sales!”

Similarly, there is no PAC supporting Measure U, but there is one opposing it. No on Measure U was created and is run by American Promotional Events, which has contributed $65,000 to maintain sales of the fireworks they manufacture.

4 replies »

  1. Thank you for your appreciation. I will try to explain how I have tried to strike a balance between TMI and providing enough significant info.

    An individual who donates a big chunk of money ought to he brought to light for neither good nor bad reason, but as a heads up should they have an item coming before the council in the near future. Fullerton has no campaign finance limits or local regulations that prevent a council member from voting on an item that would affect a campaign contributor.

    As an example of what we typically see in Fullerton is when the trash hauling, ambulance and towing contracts are coming up, they make donations. Those contracts are not up for renewal presently and it just so turns out not a one has contributed.

    It’s just stuff that is good for the electorate to know just how much money does or does not influence our council’s decisions.

    As you noted, Phelps was named because of the large digit donations to more than one campaign. As well, Chugh contributed a relatively large amount to more than one campaign. Saunders also gave to more than one campaign albeit in the amount of $1,000. Similarly, PACs, such as MHET, that gave large amounts and/or to more than one campaign are named.

    But for those affected by or for those who have observed Saunder’s tactics that have force seniors from their homes, knowing that a candidate has accept a contribution from him (and MHET) puts us all on alert that he’s not done with his plans for Rancho La Paz.

    If you search the Observer website over the last couple of years, you will find a number of articles about him and more importantly, the people living (and some who used to live) at Rancho La Paz.

  2. Nice summary Ms. Rands.

    A few private individuals show up a few times here, without any obvious connection to Fullerton.

    1) I believe John Phelps is part of the Phelps family, part of the family that owned and developed large parts of Fullerton (like the Target on Harbor). But I’m not sure that’s right.

    2) Navneet Chugh appears here a few times – what is his connection to Fullerton? Is he a resident?

    3) Why are some donors identified by name, but others as “a dentist,” or “a real estate broker,” etc.

    4) I typically enjoy the articles here, and this is no exception. However, you call you John Saunders here. Plenty of the other donor organizations have notoriety as well. I have to say, that didn’t seem fair.

    I am a local business owner and past president of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, which is now known as the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce. Inexplicably, the Chamber is supporting the new sales tax increase for Fullerton businesses and citizens. Why would a Chamber of Commerce support a sales tax increase that will make their member businesses less competitive? Perhaps it is because their board of directors are represent large corporations that primarily do business with the government. (http://www.nocchamber.com/pages/BoardofDirectors) Apparently, the Chamber’s support for small businesses that make up the character and life-blood of our city is gone.

    Mayor Fitzgerald, who is also a past-president of the Chamber, helped write the Chamber’s public policy guide, a guiding document governing public policy positions supported by the chamber. I don’t recall the support of increased taxes that would make Fullerton businesses less competitive as being one of these guiding principles.. It is the Chamber’s primary mission to look out for the economic well-being of its members. The extra money will go into the city’s general fund where the City Council can spend the funds for any municipal purpose, including salaries and burgeoning public employee pension expenses. I am shocked the Chamber’s board of directors would support such a proposal. If this measure passes, we will have the second highest sale tax rate in Orange County. We need the old, Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, who was loyal to Fullerton small businesses back. Perhaps we will get that when the executive director finally retires. #KeepFullertonCompetitive #TellTheChamber-NO!