A Los Altos City Council member running for re-election has received a $200 contribution from the publisher of that town’s weekly newspaper, the Town Crier. Palo Alto Daily News reporter Melanie Carroll reports that Town Crier publisher Paul Nyberg donated money to the campaign of incumbent David Casas, who leads a field of four candidates in fundraising. Casas told Carroll that he didn’t feel the publisher’s contribution was a conflict of interest. “I fully expect them to hold me accountable,” Casas said.
The contribution is reminiscent of the 2004 controversy in which Bill Pates was suspended from his job as editor of the letters column in the Chronicle after it was disclosed that he donated $200 to the John Kerry campaign. The Chronicle reassigned him to a copy-editing post that didn’t involve the selection of letters for publication. The Guild opposed the transfer and Pates was returned to the post of selecting letters.
The Web site OpenSecrets.org, which compiles federal election data, says Nyberg has also been a contributor to President Bush, former Republican Congressman Tom Campbell, former California Secretary of State and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Bill Jones, as well as county, state and national Republican Party organizations.
In July, MSNBC investigated the issue of journalists making contributions to campaigns and posted this report and this list of journalists who donated to candidates. The list includes Pates, Silicon Valley technology correspondent Andreas Kluth of The Economist, Mercury News sports writer Rachel Wilner, Contra Costa Times fine arts reporter Robert Taylor and radio reporter Betsy Rosenberg.