Madison Leads in Campaign Donations


By Jennifer Erickson | LB Indy

Jon Madison
Jon Madison

Restaurant owner Jon Madison so far leads the pack of Laguna Beach City Council candidates with $45,923 in campaign cash as of July 31. Planning commission member Robert Zur Schmiede comes in second with $27,554, followed by incumbent Kelly Boyd at $16,116, and Michele Hall, who reported $2,109 in her war chest, according to recent financial disclosure statements.

Later filing candidates, including incumbent Toni Iseman and newcomer Paul Merritt, submitted no disclosures for the period, which donations made from Jan. 1 to June 30. Those figures are certain to change as the Nov. 4 election approaches.

In a surprise, Eli Grossman, a local resident who is a vehement critic of the police department, also made the Aug. 13 filing deadline, still collecting signatures outside a market with only hours before the cutoff. Grossman had not submitted financial disclosures earlier.

The four-year terms of Council members Boyd and Iseman and Mayor Elizabeth Pearson expire this year. Boyd and Iseman seek re-election, while Pearson announced her decision not to run in April.

Robert Zur Schmiede
Robert Zur Schmiede

With the five newcomers, Zur Schmiede, Hall, Madison, Merritt and Grossman, there are seven candidates vying for three City Council seats. All seven have filed papers and had their nomination signatures verified and approved by the county’s Registrar of Voters, the City Clerk’s office confirmed Thursday.

Zur Schmiede raised $39,087 in the six-month period and spent $11,553. Similarly, Boyd took in $17,862, but spent $1,746; Madison amassed $47,193, paid out $1,270 and has about $7,600 in outstanding payments; and Hall spent $471 of the $2,580 she raised.

Paul Merritt
Paul Merritt

Madison also comes out ahead in the number of individual donations. He racked up about 205 to Zur Schmiede’s 147, Boyd’s 54 and Hall’s seven.

The disclosures provide a window into where candidates are finding support and where they hope to build alliances.

Of those sitting on the Council, Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen, who is not facing re-election, contributed to the campaigns of Zur Schmiede and Boyd.

Iseman contributed to Zur Schmiede’s campaign.

Mayor Elizabeth Pearson made a contribution to Madison’s effort.

Boyd also donated to Madison as well as Zur Schmiede.

Among the newcomers, Madison supported fellow candidates Zur Schmiede and Boyd, while Zur Schmiede supported only Boyd, so far.

Kelly Boyd
Kelly Boyd

Among former elected officials, Jane Egly donated to Madison and Boyd; Wayne Baglin donated to Madison and Zur Schmiede; Kathleen Blackburn donated to Zur Schmiede and Boyd; Verna Rollinger has so far backed only Zur Schmiede, while former council member Cheryl Kinsman backed only Boyd.

Former City Manager Ken Frank tossed money into the kitty for both Madison and Boyd, and former City Clerk Martha Anderson supported Zur Schmiede.

Mark Christy, whose remodel of The Ranch is famously being held up by the California Coastal Commission, has added to the coffers of Boyd and Madison, as has Planning Commission member Linda Dietrich.

Meanwhile Planning Commission chair Anne Johnson wrote checks for Zur Schmiede and Boyd.

Toni Iseman
Toni Iseman




John Hamil, vice president of the Laguna Canyon Property Owners Association, which is concerned about overdevelopment of the canyon, ponied up for Madison and Zur Schmiede, as did Laguna Beach seniors advocate Chris Quilter, gallery owner Peter Blake, Heritage Committee member Bonnie Hano and local architect and builder Marshall Ininns, Friendship Shelter’s board president.

Michele Hall
Michele Hall

Rita Conn of Let Laguna Vote, Visit Laguna Beach vice chair Peggy Trott and Village Laguna board member Barbara Metzger as of last month only supported Zur Schmiede’s campaign.

Several well-known locals opted for the trifecta of Madison, Boyd and Zur Schmiede, including Gregg Abel, architect Morris Skenderian, Mozambique’s owner Ivan Spiers and attorney Gene Gratz, among others.

Developer Sam Goldstein chose another trifecta of Madison, Zur Schmiede and Hall.

The next financial disclosure due on Oct. 5 covers campaign contributions between July 1 and Sept. 30 and may tell a very different story.


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