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Santa Clarita City Council Race '14: Last Look At Campaign Disclosures, Votes

Santa Clarita City Council Race ’14: Last Look At Campaign Disclosures, Votes

Voters have already sent in nearly 7,000 ballots for the April 8 Santa Clarita City Council election, and if history is any indication, there will be more.

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In the last three City Council elections, votes by mail report have shown a turnout of about 2-to-1 in favor of mail-in or absentee ballots for Santa Clarita. In 2012, slightly more than 11,600 of the 15,390 votes cast were sent by mail. Only 3,783 votes were cast at the polls on election day.

Absentee or mail-in ballots may be submitted up until the close of polls on election day, said Susan Caputo, assistant city clerk, noting that 6,888 ballots already have been received.

The deadline to register to vote in the Santa Clarita City Council race was March 24.

Related article: Santa Clarita City Council Race ’14: Deadline For Voter Registration

The last pre-election deadline for Santa Clarita City Council candidates to file campaign finance disclosure forms also recently passed, prompting candidates to file their fundraising efforts with City Hall.

Contributions for the most recent filing period, from Feb. 22 to March 22, are reported by candidates in their Form 460, which are available on a city website called VoteSantaClarita.Election Day for the Santa Clarita City Council race is April 8

Here’s a brief look at the statements of contributions and fundraising efforts for the other 10 candidates, who are vying for three City Council seats up for grabs in the April 8 election.

Clicking on the candidate’s name will lead to a video of the candidate answering several questions at a local City Council candidate forum organized by KHTS AM-1220. (Paul Wieczorak was unable to attend the forum.)

Related article: Santa Clarita City Council Race ’14: Candidates Answer Forum Questions

Three candidates filed a Form 470, indicating they will not be raising or spending more than $1,000 on their campaign in the calendar year. Those candidates are Sandra Bull, Dennis Conn and Paul Wieczorak.

1. Dante Acosta reported a total of $10,335 in contributions received for his year-to-date election totals.

His most recent disclosures included four Form 497s: a $1,000 donation from Tim Grayem of the Canon Recruiting Group; a $1,000 from Laurie Grayem of the Canon Recruiting Group. EZ Access Self Storage donated $1,000 on Jan. 16. Acosta also received a $1,000 contribution from GROW Elect, a political action committee that recruits, endorses, trains and funds Latino Republican candidates for public office.

Acosta has accepted $5,000 in loans, according to his most recent filing. He raised $4,888 in monetary contributions for the year to date, and $447 nonmonetary contributions.

Acosta’s ending cash balance was $9,395.75. His campaign listed outstanding debts of $5,176.

2. Moazzem Chowdhury received $13,798 in monetary contributions. He received $29,060 in loans, for a total of $42,858 in campaign contributions. He reported nonmonetary contributions of $1,375.82, for a total of $44,333.82.

He noted expenditures totaling $42,559.18, and that his ending cash balance was $3,854.67. He has outstanding debts of $4,076.38.

3. Stephen Daniels did not report any new campaign contributions. Daniels reported $880 in campaign contributions, and his expenditures totaled $721.51, for the last campaign disclosure period. He did not report any loans in current or previous filings.

4. Alan Ferdman raised a total of $10,433 in contributions and received an additional $6,000 in loans, according to his disclosure forms. He brought in $2,198 in the most recent campaign period.

His beginning cash balance was $12,263. His campaign now has outstanding debts of $6,000 for his campaign. His total expenditure was $13,600, bringing his final cash balance to $6,394.

5. Berta Gonzalez-Harper raised a total of $698, and her campaign accepted a loan of $2,000, and nonmonetary contributions of $443.19. She had a beginning cash balance of $135.05 and an ending balance $535.05. The campaign reported a debt of $2,000 from the outstanding loan.

6. Maria Gutzeit received a total of $33,284.97 in contributions as of March 22, including $10,200 in loans. She accepted nonmonetary contributions of $2,060.

Her other disclosures include a $1,000 donation from the Union 105 Political Education Fund, and $1,000 from Christopher Townsend, who owns an eponymous public relations firm.

Gutzeit’s expenditures totaled $23,364.09 Her ending cash balance was $9,819.38. Her campaign cites an outstanding debt of $10,200.

7. Duane Harte lists a total of $8,847 in monetary contributions, and $6,945 in expenditures. His campaign lists a beginning cash balance of $10,700, and an ending cash balance of $10,556. He cited outstanding debts of $800.

His form 497 disclosure listed $1,000 from the Santa Clarita Valley Automobile Dealers Association.

8. Incumbent Marsha McLean raised $39,985 in year-to-date contributions, according to She accepted $476.40 in nonmonetary contributions. She listed expenditures totaling $35,907.30. She listed her ending cash balance as $4,715.74. Her campaign also lists outstanding debts of $3,750.

During the most recent filing period, she reported two contributions with a Form 497, one from Joseph Caso, whose business is only listed as “owner,”; and  Waste Connections Inc., which does not identify an individual or an address. LinkedIn lists a Joseph Caso as the president of Frontier Toyota and a Valencia resident.

9. Gloria Mercado-Fortine reported contributions totaling $35,478 in her year-to-date campaign contributions. Her total expenditure was $26,746.94. And Mercado-Fortine reported an ending balance of $8,731.06. Her campaign did not have any outstanding debts listed.

She also reported receiving $1,000 from the SCV Automobile Dealers Association in a Form 497.

10. Laurene Weste reported total contributions of $21,873 and $290 in nonmonetary contributions. Her expenditures totaled $36,761.70. Weste’s beginning cash balance at the start of the year was $28,155.94, which left her with an ending cash balance of $19,981.24. There were also outstanding debts for the campaign in the amount of $3,000.

Cole Burr and Tracy Burr, the president of Burrtec Waste and his wife, each donated $1,000, according to a Form 497 disclosure. G & L Realty Corp donated $500 twice, for the maximum donation of $1,000. BizFed, a political action committee, also donated $1,000. Waste Connections also contributed $1,000.

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Source: Santa Clarita News

Santa Clarita City Council Race ’14: Last Look At Campaign Disclosures, Votes

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About Perry Smith

Perry Smith is a print and broadcast journalist who has won several awards for his focused, hyperlocal community coverage in several different regions of the country. In addition to five years of experience covering the Santa Clarita Valley, Smith, a San Fernando Valley native, has worked in newspapers and news websites in Los Angeles, the Northwest, the Central Valley and the South, before coming to KHTS in 2012. To contact Smith, email him at