San Leandro District 1 candidates Deborah Cox and Mike Katz-Lacabe, at a forum last August, differ in many ways, including the amount of campaign contributions they have received this election cycle. 
PHOTO/Steven Tavares

SAN LEANDRO | CITY COUNCIL | San Leandro City Council candidate Mike Katz-Lacabe is a two-term school board member and one of the city’s most noted progressives. And, in no way, is he a fringe candidate. So, why hasn’t he been able to attract fundraising to his campaign this fall?

Katz-Lacabe is featured prominently in a mailer 
paid for by another council candidate.

In the past, Katz-Lacabe has eschewed campaign contributions, but that was during two somewhat easy school board races. This year’s District 1 campaign, however, is far more competitive and big money rests with his main challenger, Human Services Commissioner Deborah Cox.

Cox has raised more than $44,500 this year, according to the most recent campaign finance reports ending Oct. 18. She  maintains nearly $19,000 in reserves for the stretch run to Nov. 4. The flow of cash has helped Cox engage voters with numerous mailers and lawn signs all over the city.

But, she is not the only candidate in District 1 race, excluding Katz-Lacabe, that is doing well financially. Former school board member Ken Pon raised nearly $13,000 this year, according to finance reports, in addition, to the $5,000 personal loan to his campaign. Pon has $6,761 cash on hand, through Oct. 18. Former Oakland school board member David Anderson, Sr. reported nearly $7,000 this year, including a $5,000 personal loan.

Katz-Lacabe, meanwhile, has not raised enough money to even trigger a campaign finance disclosure report. But, that hasn’t stopped him from getting his name out through other means, like piggy-backing on the campaign flyers of a political ally in another council race.

The other side of this small leaflet features
District 5 candidate Mia Ousley.

Last month, it was reported Katz-Lacabe was handing out two-sided leaflets to parents in front of some San Leandro schools. One side featured Katz-Lacabe and the other–with a similar design–extolled the campaign virtues of District 5 City Council Candidate Mia Ousley.

Furthermore, in recent weeks, a mailer sent to voters and paid for by Ousley’s campaign, again featured both candidates, but this time with subtle advocacy for Katz-Lacabe’s resume on the San Leandro school board.

“Mia has been my greatest ally in safeguarding civil liberties, promoting transparency and accountability in City Hall, and fighting against the long-term retention of surveillance data by law enforcement agencies,” the mailer quotes Katz-Lacabe. Incidentally, each issues also represents Katz-Lacabe’s campaign platform.

While it is clear Katz-Lacabe is cash poor, or, at minimum, able to stay under the $1,000 campaign with a bit of creativity, Ousley has been able to pull her own weight. The first-time candidate raised, $11,000 this year and reported $2,757 cash on hand, according to the most recent finance reports ending Oct. 18.

However, the nexus between Katz-Lacabe and Ousley in different council races and some donors are interesting. For instance, outgoing Mayor Stephen Cassidy appears on the Ousley mailer, along with Katz-Lacabe. Cassidy, Katz-Lacabe and Ousley have long been both personal and political friends. But, two weeks ago, Cassidy’s re-election campaign donated $125 to Cox, Katz-Lacabe’s opponent.

In addition, even though Katz-Lacabe would appear to be the most liberal candidate in the race, Alameda County Democrats, thought otherwise and made no endorsement in the race. The signal from the party was heard. On Oct. 16, the campaign of Assemblymember Rob Bonta, who represents San Leandro, added $1,000 to Cox’s treasury.