NORMAN — Negative campaign ads and questions about who was funding them have been flying. Answers may have come in the form of a campaign contributions and expenditures report turned in Friday by a group identified as Better Norman Advocates, Inc. The group funded phone polls, mailers, web ads and radio airtime opposing Mayor Cindy Rosenthal and asking for new city leadership.
Norman builder and developer Sassan Moghadam is listed as the primary officer of the Better Norman group, and the report lists a $50,500 contribution by Moghadam. Other contributors lists 329 Partners II-LP whose chief officer is H. Rainey Powell as donating $1,000 and Norman Surgical Arts for a $250 donation.
While Tom Sherman for Mayor reports a total of $54,080 compared to Friends of Cindy Rosenthal’s reported $108,296 in expenditures, the addition of Better Norman Advocates $47,761 evens the playing field between the two leading mayoral candidates.
Candidate David Kempf has collected and spent around $200.
Sherman reported newspaper advertising, mailers and a $360 radio ad with Sports Talk. He said he was not responsible for several negative ads on other radio channels.
The Better Norman Advocates appear to be behind some of the most virulent attacks on Rosenthal.
Push-poll phone calls had some Norman residents emailing the Transcript with questions about the pseudo poll and its negative slant.
“The question that inflamed me was a statement that ‘Rosenthal is an extreme liberal who voted for and thinks like President Obama!’ This statement was followed by ‘would you change your mind about her?’” one reader emailed. “At the end of the short survey there was no attribution as to who was responsible for the survey, BUT in my book that is not ‘keeping the campaign clean.’”
Negative radio ads were also reported by many.
Rosenthal said her campaign used a variety of media but did not use radio.
“The kinds of radio ads aired in recent days would have added another $25,000 to our budget and our emphasis has been direct communication with voters through the mail and through personal contact at the doors,” Rosenthal said.
Better Norman Advocates also attacked the mayor through a series of digital ads and mailers linking her with concerns about Chromium 6 in Norman’s water supply.
“We have five residential developments in Norman,” Moghadam said. “My motivation is I live in Norman. My kids live in Norman, my grandkids live in Norman. We’re saying this is an important issue, and it’s been neglected.”
“Our drinking water is absolutely safe,” said Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske. “We are vigilant to make sure it’s safe. We meet all state and federal regulations.”
Moghadam said he is not asking for the city’s water wells to be shut down. Rather he wants new leadership at city hall.
“I’ve been building here since 1980 and developing since 1992 and I’ve seen leadership,” he said. “Our council meetings are like the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’ You wake up and it’s the same thing over and over and over, and it’s always the naysayers that are doom and gloom. I’ve been to the state supreme court twice on zoning issues in Norman.... People came in and it was doom and gloom and people were worried about the value of property. Go back today and see how much the value of those homes have appreciated.”
Other city races
In Ward 1 Roger Gallagher reports a total of $6,099 in contributions and $4,560 in expenses so far. His opponent, Greg Heiple reports $19,802 in contributions and $13,991 in expenditures.
In Ward 3 Robert Castleberry reports $11,400 in contributions and $7,105 in expenditures, which he said were committed before Benjamin Carter had to withdraw from the race. Carter has turned in his filing fee expense as required by city code.
In Ward 5 Friends of Dave Spaulding reports $13,615 in contributions and $12,078 in expenditures. Lynne Miller for Norman City Council reports $17,583 in contributions and $15,233 in expenditures.
In Ward 7 Linda Lockett reports $15,612 in contributions and $9,957 in expenditures. Stephen Tyler Holman reports $2,985 in contributions and $1,772 in expenditures.
Red Earth Group, Norman’s local Sierra Club branch reports $591 in expenditures for campaign mailers the club has sent endorsing candidates. Friends of Jackie Farley contributed $250 to Rosenthal and $250 to Miller.
Full reports detailing all contributors to every city campaign is available on the city website at www.ci.norman.ok.us.
Under City Government go to City Clerk and select the Campaign Reports and Forms button on the left.