The battle over Hanford’s proposed Measure S sales tax for public safety and other essential city services has been heating up.
According to campaign finance records submitted to the city clerk, the “Support Hanford Public Safety — Yes on S” group raised $13,750 as of Oct. 6. Of that amount, $10,000 came from the Hanford Police Officers Association and Hanford Professional Fire Fighters Local 3898.
While a few local businesses and individuals have supported the cause, the Sacramento-based Peace Officers Research Association of California Political Issues Committee kicked in $1,000 and the Fresno Police Officers Association donated $500.
The group spent more than $7,000 on signs and graphics, as well as about $2,200 for direct mail materials.
During the same period, the anti-Measure S committee “Hanford Now” raised $4,821 from a handful of private citizens and local businesses. Marquez Bros. International donated $2,500.
Chris Barker, secretary for the Hanford Police Officers Association, said he believes Measure S supporters have been successful in spreading the word about the measure using a variety of signs and by distributing fliers.
“It’s definitely been effective,” Barker said. “They say, ‘He who has the most signs wins.’ ”
Barker said hundreds of those signs have been stolen or vandalized, even in yards where multiple political signs are posted, suggesting that they were singled out. Some signs have been marked with an "X" or had the word “No” written on them.
Hanford Now focused the majority of its money on direct-mail materials and postage.
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Former City Councilman Dan Chin, treasurer for Hanford Now, said he believes the opposition has done a good job of getting its message to the public with less financial support than the other side.
"We feel that we've done a good job with the limited resources we have," Chin said.
Meanwhile in the races for Hanford City Council, most candidates reported that they had raised and spent less than $1,000 for their campaigns. Those candidates included Lou Martinez, Dave Ayers, Dave Thomas and Francisco Ramirez.
Area A candidate Tyler Vierra, a law school graduate, reported that he had raised a total of $248 during the months of August, September and the first week of October.
Justin Mendes, one of two candidates running for the Area E council seat, raised a whopping $18,676. Among Mendes’ supporters are a number of area farmers and business owners. Mendes, a Riverdale native and staffer for Congressman David Valadao, said most of the support came from close friends and family members.
Mendes noted that his opponent, Dave Thomas, has had his name on the ballot during his previous run for Hanford City Council in 2006 and his failed bid for the 32nd State Assembly District in 2012. He said his success is more about a showing of support than it is about having a lot of money.
“I kind of wanted to send the message about how serious I am about getting on the council,” Mendes said.
Mendes’ campaign expenses appeared to have only totaled about $3,100, which paid for things like signs, mailers and administrative costs.