FREMONT — Fremont and New Haven may be neighboring districts, but they are worlds apart when it comes to how the candidates for their school boards are campaigning for office.
All five candidates for the Fremont school board have outraised and outspent each of the New Haven candidates, according to the latest campaign finance statements, which reflected activities through Oct. 18.
Collectively, Fremont candidates Desrie Campbell, Ann Crosbie, Bryan Gebhardt, Lily Mei and incumbent Ivy Wu have collected $98,996 — some of it in loans — and spent $82,131 for this election.
In contrast, Alameda County Registrar of Voters records show that only one of the four candidates in Union City's New Haven district has reported raising or spending any money. Political newcomer Karen Yifru has raised $1,500 and spent $950 — just over 1 percent of the total expenses incurred by the Fremont candidates — on filing fees. None of the figures include nonmonetary contributions.
The other three candidates — incumbents Jonas Dino and Kevin Harper and challenger Michelle Matthews — have said they do not plan to raise any money.
Leading the fundraising war is Fremont's Bryan Gebhardt, who has amassed $34,296 and spent $28,898.
This month, he received $1,000 from the California Teachers Association and $2,500 from Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents some school employees. He also has received $2,000 in cash and an additional $450 in nonmonetary contributions from developer and former Assemblyman John Dutra in the past year-and-a-half.
"It's certainly fortunate I've been able to raise as much as I have. But it's not that much more than what was spent by some of the candidates in 2004 in Fremont," he said.
His closest rival, Mei, had collected $28,258 and spent $20,227 through mid-October. Mei said Wednesday that, like Gebhardt, she received a $2,500 check this week from the SEIU, as well as $2,000 from the Fremont teachers union. The teachers union, which endorsed Gebhardt early, has given $500 more to Gebhardt than Mei.
The union also offered $2,000 to Wu, but the lone incumbent has declined all contributions "so that I could stay as independent as possible," she said in an e-mail.
In lieu of donations from others, Wu has loaned herself $20,000 and spent $19,412.
Campbell, meanwhile, has raised $9,981 and spent $9,350. Most recently, she received money from Friends of (Assemblyman) Alberto Torrico and Fremont City Councilwoman Anu Natarajan's campaign committee, as well as from Dutra, who has contributed $2,000 to her campaign overall.
Bringing up the rear in the Fremont race is Crosbie, who has raised $6,461, half of which was a loan from her husband. She has spent $4,243. This past month, she received money from Fremont Councilman Bob Wieckowski.
In contrast to the Fremont candidates, the majority of those running in New Haven said they do not plan to raise money.
With the economy in such poor shape, "I just didn't think it was appropriate to solicit money," Matthews said, adding that she prefers to campaign by knocking on doors rather than sending out mailers.
"Talking to people and letting them know what I represent is more important than a bunch of pretty signs," she said.
There are no records of any of the employee groups in New Haven giving money to the candidates, although the teachers union has endorsed Harper and Yifru.