For political junkies with too much time on their hands, there’sno better moment than now to get immersed in political campaigndonations. Transparency has come home to roost, when, for example,one can easily scroll through thousands of names online and findthat one Charles Stoddard of Santa Rosa contributed a jaw-dropping$19,500 to support the passage of Proposition 8.
It’s small surprise that Stoddard is a mission president for theMormon church; he’s joined by other familiar local Mormonnames—Bingham, Huber, Willits, Hershey, Wheelwright—ona roll call that includes Katharine Chera ($5,000) and DavidWheeler ($500). It surprisingly doesn’t include Martin McOmber, whoserves in the Santa Rosa stake presidency of the Mormon church andwho felt the need to call upon the Santa Rosa City Council on Oct.21 to support Prop. 8, referring to same-sex marriage as a “currenttrend” and claiming that “passing Prop. 8 doesn’t take awayexisting rights.”
In presidential race contributions, it’s free entertainment tocount the wives, like Jean Schulz, who, despite her late husbandCharles Schulz’s $1,000 support of John McCain in 1999, gave $1,100this year to Hillary Clinton. Connie Codding, wife of developerHugh Codding, gave $500 to Clinton in the primaries, eventuallyswaying to a $250 support of Barack Obama, while Barbara Banke,wife of Kendall-Jackson founder Jess Jackson, gave $2,300 toMcCain.
Those in the arts gave solidly to Obama. Former Santa RosaSymphony conductor Jeffrey Kahane gave $1,800: former Section Meditor Michael Houghton gave $500; and Last Record Store owner DougJayne gave $250 to Obama. Grateful Dead member Bob Weir gave $2,620to Obama, while fellow Marin celebrity Sean Penn lived up to hiscontrarian reputation by giving instead to John Edwards ($4,600)and Dennis Kucinich ($2,300).
Developers and construction firms were strangely absent fromthis year’s contributions. While the Christophersons and Ghilottisgave $4,000 each to Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004, both wereconspicuously closed-fisted from financially supporting theMcCain-Palin ticket. Civic leader and philanthropist Henry Trione,a $2,000 Bush supporter in 2004, also evidently couldn’t bringhimself to donate to McCain-Palin, and instead gave $1,250 to RudyGiuliani.
After a few hours of scanning these lists, the names all startto blend together, and most of the locally recognizablenames—Sawyer, Rabinowitsch, Bosco—are for Obama. Butwait—who’s this? Ah, yes, Max G. Arnold, who gave $250 toObama. You know him, too, I’m sure: he’s the injury lawyeradvertised on the back of the Yellow Pages.
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