Hermosa Measure M spending tops $100,000
by Elka Worner
The Economic Development Reform Coalition of Southern California has spent $93,949 on the Yes on Measure M campaign, according to campaign financial reports submitted to the Hermosa Beach City Clerk this week.
If approved by voters on November 8, Measure M would lift Hermosa’s ban on the retail sale of cannabis, and require the city to issue two retail cannabis business licenses.
“Talk about David and Goliath,” said Carolyn Petty, principal officer of Hermosa Beach Residents Against Measure M. “Ours is a grassroots campaign versus big industry.”
The local group has received $10,734 in campaign contributions this year, and spent $6,613 on items such as mailers.
“It’s astounding how much money they’re willing to throw at it,” Petty said.
The former city council member said she donated $1,951 of her own money to launch Hermosa Beach Residents Against Measure M. The group has received individual donations — between $100 and $500 each — and a $3,000 contribution from Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana, a national volunteer non-profit “dedicated to providing the latest information on the harms of marijuana.”
The Yes on Measure M committee received $79,667 in non-monetary contributions this calendar year, and had $14, 281 in outstanding debt, according to its campaign finance filing this week with the city clerk.
The Measure M contributions were from South Cord Management of Long Beach, which owns Catalyst Cannabis Co., a 14-store cannabis retailer. The non monetary contributions were for online ads, campaign consultants, and legal, and accounting services.
South Cord Management partner and attorney Damian Martin declined to comment when asked about the campaign contributions.
The Hermosa Beach Culture Coalition, a political action committee formed earlier this year “to maintain the beach culture of Hermosa Beach,” received $15,100 in contributions between October 23 and November 1. In an earlier campaign finance report, Culinary Craft Inc., 52 Pier Restaurant Inc., and Il Boccaccio Inc., all owned by Hermosa Beach businessman Greg Newman, each reported $500 contributions to the political action committee.
The Culture Coalition, which Council Member Ray Jackson recently referred to as “the bar lobby,” has also received donations from local businesses such as hair salon Jessica Rose, and individual donors, including Olympic gold volleyball player Eric Fonoimoana.
“We are not the bar lobby by any stretch,” said Culture Coalition founder Ray Dussault.
Before forming the political action committee, Dussault said he hosted a meeting with about 40 Hermosa Beach residents who had “become frustrated with the current council and changes they were trying to force on the community.” One proposed city ordinance, he said, would have eliminated 60 percent of all restaurant capacity, and would have killed live music in the city.
“We’ve got this cool, eclectic, bohemian beach culture,” he said. “We need to work to preserve the diversity of our community, and its history of live music, volleyball and a vibrant social scene.”
The political action committee has donated to city council candidates Dan Godwin, Kieran Harrington, and Jeff Raedy. It also hosted a September 29 mixer for the three candidates at Tower 12.
During the October 25 city council meeting, Council Member Jackson, charged that “dark money” is being spent to influence the upcoming city council election, specifically from the “cannabis lobby” and “bar lobby.”
Jackson’s references to “dark money” [contributions from undisclosed sources] came up during council member comments about the city manager’s contract. He referenced the Hermosa Beach Culture Coalition.
“They want to control our city council with their three bar lobby votes just like the cannabis lobby is trying to trick Hermosa Beach voters,” Jackson said.
Newman, who grew up, and lives in Hermosa, said there was no “dark money” funding the Hermosa Beach Culture Coalition. He donated to the group because he’s looking for a “balance on the city council.”
“They don’t want anyone to challenge their stranglehold on the city,” he said. ER