In a Sebastopol City Council election perceived as a referendum on the controversial CVS Pharmacy-Chase Bank project, marijuana dispensary executive and CVS opponent Robert Jacob has raised and spent more money than all other candidates combined.
Through Oct. 20, Jacob has raised $32,004 and spent $26,004, the most ever by a candidate in Sebastopol history, according to disclosure statements filed Thursday.
“It says that people are very motivated about there being a new voice on the council,” said Jacob.
Others in Sebastopol, however, feel it is out of line for a city in which elections are usually decided by candidates campaigning door-to-door.
“It is certainly an indication of support for Robert, but an inappropriately large amount for a race like Sebastopol's,” said Larry Robinson, a former city councilman and longtime political activist who has endorsed Jacob. “And where it is trending should cause everyone concern.”
Challenger John Eder is second in the money race, with $11,306 in donations and expenditures of $7,473.
Incumbent Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer has raised $10,328 and spent $6,631.
Challenger Kathy Austin, a former mayor, has raised $5,545 and spent $3,202.
Challenger Colleen Fernald stated she will receive and spend less than $1,000.
The financial disclosure statements cover the period of July 1 to Oct. 20.
Driving the high level of interest in the election is the City Council's approval of a controversial plan to build a CVS Pharmacy and Chase Bank branch at the site of the vacant Pellini Chevrolet dealership.
The council in a 3-2 vote overturned a rejection by the city's Design Review Board and approved the design by Armstrong Development, with certain conditions.
It was the final approval needed for the project by the Sacramento developer, which wants to build a 14,576-square-foot CVS Pharmacy and 4,327-square-foot Chase Bank branch, at a cost of $10 million.