Over the summer of 2021 in preparation to cover the 2022 election we investigated to see who had filed fund raising paperwork. At that time, we found that Vinatieri was the only candidate in all of Whittier who was raising money. For both 2021 and 2022 incumbent Mayor Joe Vinatieri's campaign raised almost $70,000. The precise amount, $69,883, surpasses the amounts raised by all candidates running in this year's Whittier City Council elections. Most of that money came from Whittier residents and Whittier businesses.
Most of the individual contributions from outside of Whittier, which were in small amounts, either came from people Vinatieri has worked with or from individuals connected to Whittier businesses such as the Rasmussen Iron Works on Whittier and Philadelphia.
For our update we focused only on amounts that were at least $500 or more. We also focused on PACs and outside groups.
In 2021 the Vinatieri campaign received $500 from DCR International Inc. The company is based in Culver City and specializes in recruiting construction workers. The company’s employees stand to benefit from the jobs created at many of the development projects that have been approved for Whittier. This creates a potential for conflict of interest for the company if not for Vinatieri.
The Credit Union of Southern California based in Anaheim gave $1,000. This company used to be Whittier Credit Union back in the 90’s. By the end of the decade, Whittier Credit Union had merged with other credit unions in the area to create the Credit Union of Southern California. But the company has had a very long connection to Whittier going back many decades. Likely as far back as the 70’s.
There was a donation from an Eric Day of Tustin in the amount of $1,000. No further information is available about Mr. Day as to what his connection to Whittier is or what he does for a living. Mr. Day also gave substantial sums to candidates in the 2020 Whittier City Council elections. We are not able to find out anything about this individual.
There was a donation of $500 from Ernest Dronenburg of Falbrook California. He was listed as Property Tax Assessor.
Vinatieri received $500 from Martha House of Hacienda Heights. House is active n Republican circles and is known for supporting candidates at the local, state, and federal levels for many many years. The House’s are strong supporters of GOP candidates. Other than that, there is nothing new here.
Dana Pellissier of Davis California gave $500. It has him as retired. Likely to have been a coworker or colleague of Vinatieri’s at some prior point.
The last campaign contribution of 2021 came from Service Corporation International based in Houston Texas in the amount of $250. According to Wikipedia, this company provides funerary services and products.
The 2022 campaign funds came mostly from Whittier residents and businesses.
Diversified Risk Management based in Santa Fe Springs donated $250 to the Vinatieri campaign.
The campaign also received a relatively small sum of $100 from the American Chinese Expert Association nonprofit based in San Gabriel. In 2019 the California Secretary of State listed it as “FTB/SOS Suspended”. The nonprofit was connected to a Zeqiong Ao who is listed as an agent. They were also an agent for Led Sniper Inc. which was also suspended by the California Secretary of State. This raises a red flag here, despite the small amount of the contribution. The only other thing we were able to find on this person was that they went through a divorce in May of 2021. He is listed as an agent for goodshoppingusa inc which was also suspended by the Secretary of State's office. The direct question here is why are they donated money via a suspended non profit.
The biggest contribution came from the California Realt Estate PAC of Realtors who members stand to potentially benefit from all the housing construction currently happening in Whittier. The PAC gave Vinatieri $4,900 this year for his reelection. The PAC is based in Los Angeles.
Challengers Rolando Cano and Leslie L. Savage have not raised any funds for this election. However, Rolando has raised some important issues. There is runaway development that has caused a good deal of concern. The state law, as currently interpreted, forces the city to allow the excess housing developments and the only way out is to get a judge to rule that charter cities like Whittier are exempt from the state law. The city has filed a lawsuit to do just that. He also picked up on something that was first brought up by community activist, Maggie Moe. That is the fact that the city only has two vote centers and they are in Districts 2 and 3. Elections are supposed to be fully funded and that includes having vote centers in all 4 districts. I live in District 1. I don't have a car and I am certainly not going to walk all the way to District 3 or even to District 2 just to submit my ballot. And I sure don't trust the post office with all the delays in packages and other mail over the last few months that has been getting worse. What they need to do, at a minimum, is drop boxes at City Hall and somewhere in district 4.
Having said this, it is going to be impossible for any challenger to win an election without any kind of fund raising operation. Rolando has the local support but he also needs the funds.
About 13.6% of Vinatieri's reelection funds came from outside of the City of Whittier. The remaining 86.4% came from inside the City of Whittier. That shows you just how popular the incumbent mayor is locally and just how difficult it will be for any challenger to beat him, let alone narrow his lead. If Rolando can narrow Vinatieri's edge tomorrow, that will be very significant. Vinatieri is expected to win with almost 75% to as much as 80% of the vote. Rolando wants to cut that down into the 50's. It's a hard task to accomplish.