Developer C.J. Segerstrom & Sons has been the sole contributor to a $75,600 effort to win voter approval of two November ballot measures that would allow the construction of the firm’s massive Home Ranch commercial complex in Costa Mesa, new campaign expense reports show.
In addition, the developer has contributed nearly one-third of the $61,210 raised by a committee attempting to defeat a Costa Mesa slow-growth measure, the reports show.
According to documents filed this week, Segerstrom is the only donor to a committee called Citizens for Common Sense/Segerstrom Home Ranch, which is campaigning for approval of two versions of a proposed $400-million office and retail complex. The committee has spent $66,690, primarily on advertising and surveys. The reports list contributions and expenses through Sept. 30.
Councilman Dave Wheeler, who opposes the Home Ranch development and who helped author the slow-growth initiative, called Segerstrom’s campaign spending “repugnant.”
“Attempts to impose campaign reform in Costa Mesa have repeatedly been turned away by council members controlled by his (Segerstrom’s) and other developer contributions,” said Wheeler, who is not running for reelection.
Spokesmen for Segerstrom were not available for comment Friday.
Segerstrom’s committee is supporting measures H and I, two referendums on the developer’s proposed complex to be built north of the San Diego Freeway near Harbor Boulevard. Measure H would permit Segerstrom to build a maximum of 3.1 million square feet of commercial and office space that would include shopping areas, a hotel, a museum, a child-care facility and a health club. Measure I would authorize a scaled-down version of the project, with a maximum of 2.1 million square feet.
The slow-growth initiative, Measure G, is modeled after the countywide Measure A, which was defeated in June. Costa Mesa’s measure would prohibit development that causes an “unacceptable level” of traffic and also would require the city to make road, public safety, flood control and park improvements before new projects are approved.
Combatting the developers’ campaigns is the Costa Mesa Residents Political Action Committee, which has collected $7,394 and spent $7,230, according to campaign reports. The residents’ group supports the slow-growth initiative and opposes both Home Ranch measures.
One of the reasons the Home Ranch opponents have so little money for the campaign, Wheeler said, is that Segerstrom has filed “frivolous (legal) appeals to tie up our funds. Our only hope is a door-to-door campaign and perhaps a quantum leap in the intelligence of the average voter,” Wheeler said.
Earlier this year, Segerstrom asked a Superior Court judge to invalidate citizens’ petitions to put the $400-million project to a vote of the residents. The judge rejected the developer’s efforts.
Segerstrom is the largest contributor to the campaign to defeat the slow-growth measure. Other contributors--chiefly developers--to Costa Mesa Citizens for Traffic Solutions include Curci-England Co. of Torrance, $10,000; LA County Land Co. of San Juan Capistrano, $10,000; Roy K. Sakioka and Sons, $5,000, and Sakioka Farms, $5,000.
In the council race, top money-getters are candidates James Ferryman, with $22,492, and Ed Glasgow with $20,408, according to reports.
In addition to financing the ballot measures, Segerstrom contributed $900 to Ferryman and $2,000 to Glasgow. Glasgow, however, returned the contributions. He could not be reached Friday for comment. Glasgow and Ferryman also received contributions of $4,000 and $5,000, respectively, from Councilman Orville Amburgey’s campaign committee, which has received hefty contributions from Segerstrom.