As the 2017 campaign season draws to a close, I like many of you have been canvassing and leafleting. To my amazement many found a flyer, see attached, paid for by the Newton Citizens for Local Representation campaign with the headline !!!!BREAKING NEWS!!! “YES” Campaign heavily funded by Real Estate Developers. They then go on to quote an article in the Boston Globe – October 31, 2017.
However as you can see by using the link, they did not quite get the quote correctly. The NO campaign states “Donations to the pro-change campaign, reported on Monday include several key people in real estate development.” Yet according to the Boston Globe, the statement reads “Donations to the pro-change campaign, which became public on Monday, include a number of real estate types.” There is a difference in what was actually stated and how the NO campaign positioned it to voters. Not sure why the Globe article was not quoted correctly.
So let’s now take a moment to look at some additional facts. The YES campaign raised $63,000. Yes, Mr. Korff and Mr. Oran together donated $1,500 which is equal to 2% of the total amount raised. Then there were a few other “real-estate types” who donated approximately $1,450. Together that is $2,950 which equals approximately 5% of what was donated to the YES campaign. Frankly I do not think that 5% can be translated into “YES Campaign heavily funded by Real Estate Developers.” The biggest donation, though, came from the private equity world: Dan Fireman of Fireman Capital Partners gave $10,000, or nearly one-sixth of the total collected. Mr. Fireman is not a developer and has no real estate interests in Newton. He is the founder and managing partner of Fireman Capital Partners, a private equity firm. He lives in Wellesley now but spent his formative years in Newton.
Now let’s look at what the NO campaign did not state in their flyer. Together Councilor Baker and Councilor Norton through their in-kind and direct donations contributed 42.5% of the funds for this campaign. With another several councilors (at-large and ward) contributing $1,400. I think that it is safe to say that with 47.5% of the funding coming from incumbent councilors the NO campaign is heavily funded by incumbents.
In conclusion, I think it would be better to say that 79% of the funds for the YES campaign came from citizens interested in a more accountable and effective government.
Please keep these facts in mind when you go to vote on November 7th.