Mike Madriaga 11:30 a.m., Sept. 23
Wealthy La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe denizens pouring big cash into Southeast school board race
Three wealthy San Diegans are doubling down on their support of William Ponder against teachers union-endorsed Marne Foster in their race for San Diego school board.
The two candidates, vying for the sub-district E seat being vacated by Shelia Jackson, are viewed by some insiders as virtual proxies for two of the city's most politically powerful interests, the teachers union, and a small, well-heeled group of those seeking to increase outsourcing of local education to charter schools and private corporations.
According to a filing dated October 2 and posted online late yesterday by the county registrar of voters, a group calling itself Alliance for Quality Education in Support of Bill Ponder for School Board 2012 has so far raised $90,500. It has spent $25,547, and as of September 30 had $65,359 of cash in the bank.
The largest donor is CAC Advisory Services LLC, a firm run by Rod Dammeyer, an investment manager and charter school backer.
The company has given a total of $40,500.
Dammeyer and Democratic La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs, now backing GOP city councilman Carl DeMaio for mayor, last year teamed up on a well-financed, but ultimately failed ballot bid to remake the school board by adding non-elected members.
Another donor to the Ponder cause is long-time charter school advocate R.B. "Buzz" Woolley, who has so far given $15,000, according to yesterday's filing.
Woolley is founder and chairman of the board of the Voice of San Diego; both Dammeyer and Jacobs have financially backed the online news website, according to disclosures made by the non-profit organization.
Yet another deep-pocketed Ponder contributor is William Lynch, the Rancho Santa Fe financier and investor who also has taken a long-time interest in school board affairs, having been one of former superintendent Alan Bersin's most ardent supporters.
The William D. Lynch Company gave $5,000.
Finally, the Sacramento-based California Charter Schools Association Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee kicked in $25,000.
Woolley and Dammeyer have both been big contributors to that committee, as has New York's billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg, who gave $75,000 in June.