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By Shawn Raymundo

Campaign contribution statements recently posted to the city’s website show that Jackson Hinkle and Gene James are leading the pack among special election candidates currently running for the open city council seat.

As of Sept. 21, Hinkle reported raising more than $18,500 in monetary contributions while James had collected more than $15,300. Both candidates had far outearned the other three council contestants, who had a combined total of $2,996 in cash contributions, according to the disclosure statements all five candidates filed last month.

Hinkle’s war chest had a total of $19,128, which included both monetary and nonmonetary contributions. He’s spent nearly $8,000 of those funds so far on campaign materials such as yard signs, custom shirts and advertisements.

Between July 1 and Sept. 21—the reporting period the statements cover—James raked in $15,356 in cash and another $1,943 in nonmonetary contributions. The candidate also took out a $5,000 loan, giving him just shy of $22,300 for his election bid.

James has expended close to $11,000 from his war chest toward advertisements, campaign signs and literature, office materials, fundraising events and web-related services.

Both candidates’ largest line-item expenditures were for print advertisements with this newspaper—$3,679.50 from Hinkle’s camp and $1,500 from James’ campaign. Based on a review of James’ list of expenditures, he spent most of his funds, about $3,500, for outdoor signs from COGS South Signs in Santa Ana.

Hinkle himself put up nearly $2,200 of his own money into his campaign, the candidate reported. His largest contribution was a $5,000 donation from the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association. The OCPF, Local 3631, has endorsed Hinkle’s bid for city councilmember.

James’ largest benefactor has been Sea Horse Resort owner John McKinley, who contributed $1,650 to the candidate’s campaign coffers. Another notable contributor to James’ election run is San Juan Capistrano Mayor Brian Maryott, who donated $500.

The two candidates had also run unsuccessful campaigns for city council in the 2018 elections. James finished the race less than a percentage point behind Councilmember Kathy Ward, who was an incumbent that was reelected.

In this year’s race, both of their reported contribution levels have far exceeded what they took in during the 2018 race.

Hinkle has more than doubled the $7,232 he brought in from his 2018 campaign, while James’ cash contributions this year have tripled from what he earned the last time he ran, which was only $4,656, according to last year’s disclosure statements.

“I believe the large increase can be attributed to residents having a clear choice,” Hinkle wrote in an email. “They agree with my vision of preserving & protecting San Clemente, not my opponents that favor overdevelopment to help their special interest cronies.”

In a separate email to San Clemente Times, James attributed this year’s fundraising efforts to name recognition, having previously run for council, the creation of a campaign team and making “a larger personal investment” into the race. He also said “the perception of my campaign is very viable.”

As for the other three candidates, Mickey McLane has $1,500 in funds, Christina Selter collected $996 and Dee Coleman received $500 in contributions.

All the funds in McLane’s war chest came out of his own pocket, his disclosure statement notes. He’s spent more than $1,250 of his money on office supplies, buttons and newspaper ads with San Clemente Times.

According to Coleman’s disclosure statement, his $500 cash contribution came from one individual in Central City, Pennsylvania, who, the candidate explained, is a client of his.

An SC Times phone call to a number listed for the contributor in Pennsylvania was not immediately answered.

Though Coleman’s cash contributions amount to $500, his campaign funds totaled roughly $3,630 as of Sept. 21. His statement notes that he took out loans amounting to about $3,130, which he had mostly used to pay for campaign consultants and signs.

Selter also took out a loan of $500, putting the total contribution level for her campaign at $1,496. Her only listed payment for the latest reporting period is a $250 expense to Campaign Compliance Group for professional bookkeeping services.

The mail-in ballots for the Nov. 5 special election were recently sent out to the city’s voters. The last day to register to vote for the election is Oct. 21.


SR_1Shawn Raymundo
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.

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comments (5)

  • Full Statement: I believe the large increase can be attributed to residents having a clear choice. They agree with my vision of preserving & protecting San Clemente, not my opponents that favor overdevelopment to help their special interest cronies.

    The difference now versus the last election is there’s only one city council position open. The out-of-town forces including a major political party want to take control of San Clemente. They’re ready to shovel money toward one of my opponents. Instead, I’m asking for contributions from residents that live throughout San Clemente. That effort is working.

    We finished our first fundraising deadline with $5,336 in small-dollar contributions — a record amount for small dollar contributions in San Clemente City Council election history. We also had more unique donors than any other San Clemente City Council candidate in the first two months of the election season. Please go to today to help power our local movement.

    -In 2016, Gene had a sober living house placed next to his house that was anything but sober. He fought relentlessly to get it closed down. Not only for his well-being but also for the safety of the individuals in the facility since that is not what they were going there for.
    -Most recently, Gene James chose SC’s future over campaigning to personally walk the RSC Business Park to ask the property owners to vote against the for-profit 10 acre shelter within a 5 min walk of SC high school. James felt it was more important to work on something that would change SC for the worse than to campaign. He continues to put SC needs ahead of his own.
    -Gene James has been working for YEARS to STOP the Toll Roads proposal to go through SC, attending numerous TCA meetings and has held meeting after meeting with several state and county officials to fight it.
    -Gene is advocating daily for our law abiding residents
    -Gene has attended more city council meeting during his residency than any other city council resident

    Not only has he shown respect and leadership for SC, he has done so much more:
    -Gene is a 20 year veteran of United States Amy where he served in the US Army Military Police Regimen
    -Gene holds a BA Degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters Degree in Public Administration
    -Gene held his career in major corporations directing and leading security, crime prevention and investigations
    -Gene was a professor in undergraduate level Criminal Justice and at the graduate level in Security Management, Homeland Security and Leadership
    -He is served as the President of Crimestoppers of San Diego County, Board Chair of a 501 (c) 3 organized within the San Diego Police Department known as STAR/PAL (a youth crime prevention and diversion program), and most recently as Board Chair of USO San Diego. 

    All that being said, as a lifelong resident of SC, I am PROUD to vote for Gene James!

  • NEWS FLASH–the back page of THIS SC TIMES is paid for by OUTSIDE INFLUENCES. It’s Nevada residents Charles and Jeri Mann. And their boy is Hinkle. Just last year Hinkle said he wouldn’t accept outside PAC money or donations more than $500. He’s already accepted $7,000 from the OCFA and $4,000 from the Democratic women’s group! How quickly we change. Of course he’s already gone from cop hater to ride-along buddy. Who exactly will we be getting at the dais? I suppose you’ll have to look at his next post to find out. Or the one after.

    I know no one likes the “LIE” word, but what else do you call it? Selective misremembering?


    When is the SC Times going to report about Gene James checkered financial background and his lies about campaign contributions.

    Gene James stated a few weeks ago at a San Clemente candidate forum that he would not take contributions from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which endorsed him. Yet public records show he received $10,000 from them.

    Jackson Hinkle is advocating reinstating the San Clemente Police force for fiscal responsibility as well as hometown knowledge and ability to enforce the laws on our books.

    No wonder, in the past week, the OCSD has been barraging SC residents with robocalls not to vote for Jackson Hinkle. Those residents who have spoken with OCSD personnel have been told they are supporting Gene James because Jackson Hinkle wants to get rid of them.

    Here a good reason why (besides poor service) — SC residents pay a really astronomical cost to subcontract with the OC Sheriff’s Department. The following information is easily accessible to SC residents via:
    Starting Base Salary $105,000
    Average Over Time $40,000 – $95,000
    Other Income (undefined) $15,000 – $50,000
    Benefits Package $100,000 – $140,000
    Total Average Pay + Benefits $300,000 – $375,000

    Here’s a kicker: The City of San Clemente pays an additional $100,000 per year per sheriff to contract with the OCSD.


    Let’s get rid of the TCA, subcontracting with the OCSD. Let’s bring back a San Clemente Police Department. Thanks for your vision, Jackson Hinkle. Thanks for making SC residents aware of how much more we will gain in services while paying far less with our own police men and women.

  • This mudslinging by the Gene James groups is too much. Hinkle is a well known commodity — born and raised here and an active voice against the toll road and nuclear waste leaks.He is just what we need in town. The James crew is desperate—- stand up for SC our Spanish Village—- join me please in voting for our future— protect San Clemente– Hinkle for City Council— Thanks…

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