Is Dixon For Sale to Highest Bidders?

Campaign Finance Reports Filed

Developers Spend $52,000 + to Push Measure N Sales Tax Hike;
Two Council Candidates Get & Spend Big $$$

According to official campaign finance reports filed with the City Clerk last week, the 2018 local elections are proving to be expensive and high-stakes for Dixon standards. That is despite Dixon City Council elections conducted by districts, instead of city-wide – requiring campaigning to only one-fourth as many voters as before. Each district has about 2,500 registered voters or less – with only two districts being elected this year. Districts 3 and 4 where elected in 2016.
Dixon voters, however, have a penchant for defeating heavily funded campaigns such as the proposed Race Track, and former Mayor Jack Batchelor’s re-election in 2016.
The largest war-chest is for Dixon Measure N – a Sales Tax Hike – funded to the tune of $51,500 by two developers with interests in Dixon properties. The Irvine, CA based Richland Management, which has been involved in developing Valley Glen and elsewhere, kicked in $15,000.
Roseville based JEN California 6, LLC – part of the Clifton Taylor controlled group of companies, including Taylor Builders which is working on developing the “Southwest Quadrant” of Dixon, along West A Street to I-80 – put in $36,500.
There is no organized campaign making expenditures against Measure N – although the Solano County Taxpayers Association and its Dixon Chapter have endorsed voting NO on N.
Other large campaign funding is in the two council races. For District 1, incumbent Scott Pederson raised $4,080.24 between June 30 and September 27. Pederson’s filing for the next period ending October 20 was not obtained by the Independent Voice, but is likely to include substantially higher numbers by the end of the campaign.
Former Councilman Mike Ceremello who is challenging Pederson, has raise and spent less than half those amounts – as of the October 23 filing deadline, Ceremello had not reached the $2,000 threshold at which detailed numbers must be filed.

Mike Cermello

The third candidate for that district, J.P.Ward Jr, likewise did not file a report, having also been under the $2,000 threshold.
In District 2, veteran incumbent Ted Hickman had likewise not reached that threshold for detailed reports. However, his challenger Jim Ernest had raised $10,937 as of October 20; he spent $5,302.43 of that – leaving a $6,034.57 cash balance.
Ernest biggest donors in this reporting period were Clifton Taylor (Taylor Builders, who are also behind Measure N Sales Tax), at $500 and Assemblyman Jim Frazier, also for $500. Donating $250 each to Ernest were Paul Irwin, co-owner of Bell Industries; the union sponsored Build Jobs PAC of Walnut Creek; Solano Orderly Growth Committee based in Fairfield; Tully, Inc development consultants located in Dixon; and Edgar McConnel, retired of Vancouver, Washington.
Giving Ernest $200 were Kay Cayler, retired Kelli Veliz, a research assistant at Genentech. Ernest’s $100 donors this period include: former City Manager Warren; former City clerk Janis Beaman; Carol Ventura of Elk Grove; Carol Schene.
Pederson’s October 5 report shows his top donors at $500 were: Taylor Builders LLC 9 (noted above); Tim LeFever, retired attorney and real estate investor; and KJ Real Estate (Kevin Johnson) who leases the “Train Station” from the City of Dixon. State Senator Bill Dodd gave Pederson $200, as did Russ and Kay Cayler, retired.

Scott Pederson

At $100 each, Pederson was supported by former City Manager Warren Salmons; Ace Hardware owner Anthony (Tony) Tryba; Alex Henthorn, a State Assembly Communications Director; Cathy Morris; Irving Terabishi of Fairfield and retired; Steve Beaman, husband of former City Clerk Janis Beaman; Dave Johnson; Frisby Smith; William Smith; and Rick Fuller.
Ernest and Pederson have been endorsed by an LGBT activist group on their Facebook page – which described them as “allies.” Ernest announced his campaign on that Facebook page. Both have sought to recruit campaign volunteers on the page.
Both Ernest and Pederson are supported by former Mayor Jack Batchelor. Ernest was appointed to the Planning Commission by Batchelor three years ago. Batchelor, of course, embarrassingly lost re-election, garnering only 27% of the vote while outspending his two challengers by more than double. Batchelor’s loss is attributed to his enactment of tripled sewer fees, and suing the taxpayers to prevent the issue from being placed on the ballot.
Pederson voted with Batchelor both to triple the sewer fees and sue the taxpayers, using over $220,000 of city taxpayers funds in attorney fees to do so.
Ernest was asked specifically in a questionnaire from this newspaper whether he supported the sewer rate hike and the lawsuit to deny a vote by the people. He pointedly refused to answer any of the questions, as did Pederson.
Ernest touts his three years on the Planning Commission and 30 years as a business owner and martial arts instructor.
Hickman is running on his 52 years of service to Dixon in numerous capacities, both in city government and local youth and charitable activities.
An independent expenditure campaign AGAINST Pederson created by Councilman Devon Minnema raised over $1,100 which was spent on a postcard mailer to defeat Pederson.
Donors to the committee – Good Governance PAC – include: David Dingman, $500; Minnema for Dixon City Council, $400; Leaness Bogue; $150; and Tom Nishimura, $100. Additional funds were rasied in amounts under $100 – which do not have to be reported in detail.

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