Planning Commissioner Jonathan Curtis leads cash race

With the election a month away, an incumbent and a planning commissioner are garnering more financial support than a 24-year-old newcomer in the race to fill two seats on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council, according to records on file at the city clerk's office.

City Councilman Dave Spence, Planning Commissioner Jonathan Curtis and accountant Joe Layton have a combined $10,300 in campaign contributions so far.

Curtis has the biggest war chest, with donations totaling $6,390 — including a $2,500 personal loan — according to campaign finance disclosure statements filed last week.

Spence put $3,237 of his money into his campaign and has raised $299 so far from donors.

Layton, who missed the Jan. 24 deadline to file his disclosure statement, reported on Tuesday that he's received $400 to date, $100 of that from a loan.

Elected city officials and active community members have thrown support behind Curtis, who seems to be following in the footsteps of Councilman Michael Davitt, a former planning commissioner.

[FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified City Council members as city employees.]

Council members Donald Voss and Laura Olhasso have donated $100 and $150, respectively, to Curtis. Planning Commissioner Terry Walker has put down $100 toward his campaign, and attorney Brad Schwartz, a member of the Investment and Financing Advisory Committee, has donated $250.

Frank Gooch, who backed businessman Charlie Kamar in the 2011 election, has donated $100 to Curtis. Kamar announced his intention to run in this year's race, but dropped out before campaigning got underway.

Former Kiwanis Club President Mary Gant donated $100 to Curtis.

Craig Mazin, the screenwriter who wrote “The Hangover Part II” and the upcoming “Identity Thief,” gave Curtis $500.

Mazin said Curtis is the first candidate he's seen while living in the city to make the school system a priority.

“The state has not done a good job funding our schools,” Mazin said. “We need help from our community.”

One local business owner showed support for two candidates, despite the fact that both voted against a plan last year to allow more drive-throughs in the Downtown Village Specific Plan area.

Bill Koury, owner of the Shell gas station on Angeles Crest Highway, was trying to bring a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with a drive-through to the station. The Planning Commission and City Council rejected the proposal. Curtis had said in December that adding drive-throughs would tarnish La Cañada's environmental efforts.

Koury gave $200 to both Curtis and Spence.

He said every election he gives money to candidates he thinks are best qualified.

While talking to him at a social function last fall, Curtis seemed “very enthusiastic and qualified,” Koury said.

“I felt he was a person who could work well in the City Council.”

He added that Curtis explained his decision not to allow drive-throughs in the city because it would prompt too many requests for similar operations.

Layton's sole donation on record, for $300, is from David Battaglia, a local attorney.

All three candidates are scheduled to speak at an election forum at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 at Flintridge Preparatory School.


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter @LATiffanyKelly.

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