Los Altos School District candidates – LASD Slate Biggest Spender

Written by lalahpolitico

Huttlinger, a PAC like non-profit allowed to perform advocacy, paid for this, obfuscating true spending

UPDATE NOV. 5, 2012New Spending Totals — $13K for BCS, $26K for LASD

Today I received an email from the Bullis Charter Slate campaign. It pointed me to a Los Altos TA PAC mailing, besides the Huttlinger Alliance for Education (HAE) mailing, which were all made on behalf of the LASD slate of Taglio and Luther. So I needed to update the spending totals for the two slates again. They now stand at $13K for BCS, $26K for LASD.

I have attached the .pdf of an actual mailer a LASD resident received and retained. I also include several photos below of a mock-up I printed out on a laser printer. And there are new spending tables. I estimate the total cost of this elaborate, teacher union paid mailer at $10,000.  I assume the BCS slate campaign is spending $3,000 on its MV Voice advertising and Patch advertising up to election day.  Of course, there could be other donations and spending that will come to light only after the election.

As of Nov. 5, LASD slate spends twice…$26K… what the BCS slate does…$13K.
In other words, about equally per candidate.


The Teachers Union paid for this, obfuscating spending on Taglio and Luther. The mailer arrives folded with this as the top page.



UPDATE NOV. 3, 2012

Today I had a pleasant conversation with Elena Shea of the Huttlinger Alliance for Eduction (HAE), wherein she shared more detailed numbers on HAE campaign spending.  It still boils down to it that the LASD District Slate has spent $16K and the BCS slate $9K.  Spending per candidate is virtually the same. The LASD slate, enjoyed some small economies of scale. I inserted new tables below, But also left the original.


Next the teacher union paid mailing opens to this 2 page spread


An Oct. 31 Patch article presented a blizzard of Los Altos School District candidates election campaign fundraising and spending numbers. The reporter reaches the conclusion that Amanda Burke-Aaronson has spent the most in the three-way race for two seats. Wrong.

The reporter reaches the conclusion that Amanda has spent the most in the three-way race for two seats. Wrong. So far the District slate spent $16K, the BCS slate $9K. More can be spent by both…

We beg to differ with the conclusion. The proper way to think about the school district race is the same way  Editor Bruce Barton explained the union funding of the El Camino Hospital race in Tuesday’s LATC . There the AFL-CIO union backs the 3 challengers against the 2  incumbents Zoglin and Alles, I suppose because they were associated  with the messy union contract negotiations last year. The AFL-CIO has funded a very large mailing campaign that sends a single piece of mail endorsing all 3 challenger candidates.

Similarly Huttlinger Alliance, a PAC-like entity,  has sent a single piece of mail that supports its two LASD candidates – Taglio and Luther. [At least we received only one piece.] We reject the notion that this is a 3 way race. It’s a 2 slate race 1) Amanda Burke Aaronson (BCS/charter school movement sympathizers) vs. 2) Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther (Los Altos School District status quo.

So the proper way to think about funding/spending is how much was raised/spent on Taglio and Luther… vs. how much was raised/spent on Amanda Burke Aaronson


next the right page of the teacher union paid mailer opens to reveal the full 3 panel spread

TABLE 1- UPDATES NOV. 5 [the Change -Add LA TC PAC to LASD.  Add Spending to BCS. Total spending now moves up to about $13 K per candidate. ]


TABLE 1 – UPDATE NOV. 3 [The Change -HAE spent $7,400, not $8,300 on LASD Slate – Total “same”]




Note: As of Nov. 5, the math has been revised. District has estimated spending of $26K, the BCS Slate $13K

The District Slate has spent $16K. The District Funding purse is $36K

The BCS Slate has spent $9K. The BCS Funding Purse is $13K

THEREFORE, so far the DISTRICT has spent more.
However both sides have the capacity to raise and spend much more.


This is the back of the teacher union paid 3 page spread mailer, when it is folded up.

UPDATE NOV 5.  I have not been able to reach them on short notice, so I had to estimate the cost of the mailing by  Los Altos Teachers Association PAC. I spoke to some campaign managers, and also based on my own experience, I am estimating $10,000


UPDATE NOV. 4. HAE did provide what it spent in kind, on a single candidate –  Dave Cortright – mailer to residents in Area#1 who do not live in LASD.   $6660.  Mr. Cortright also had support from unions, but I do not have the facts on the union’s indirect in kind campaign spending that may have supported Cortright’s campaign.

TABLE 2 – Nov. 3 – HAE provided this campaign detail


*Oct. 31. I did not have Dave Cortright SCCBoE race numbers. Huttlinger Alliance and other “union” PACs might be working there. Trustee Doug Smith only provides Grace Mah’s unsolicited PAC numbers in that race.

These are the AFL CIO picks for El Camino Hospital – The point is the PAC or the union advertises for a slate – economies of scale. And obfuscation of campaign spending.



Patch Oct. 31– “Burke-Aaronson is top spender in Los Altos Board race

Los Altos Town Crier Oct. 31 – Huttlinger Alliance report election expenses.

Los Altos Town Crier, Oct. 31 – A vote for fair play: Editors Notebook

About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past couple of years.