Spending by several candidates for the Cambridge City Council has reached an all-time high, according to campaign finance reports filed late Monday night with the Cambridge Election Commission.
The reports, which include campaign transactions between January 1 and October 30, show that four incumbents--Francis H. Duehay '55, Anthony D. Galluccio, Michael A. Sullivan and Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72--lead the pack of 18 candidates in fundraising and expenses for next Tuesday's election race.
Duehay reported raising $40,497 and spending $34,477 this year. Galluccio raised $26,910 and spent $22,642; Reeves reported income of $33,275 and $24,729 in expenditures; and Sullivan raised $38,635 and spent $23,945.
Many observers predict that each of these four incumbents likely will be re-elected next Tuesday.
And, some residents and opposing candidates are critical of the high costs of campaigns in Cambridge, a city with approximately 40,000 registered voters.
"There's something about that kind of money that pollutes the process," said Michael H. Turk, chair of the Cambridge Tenants Union.
Alice K. Wolf, a former mayor of Cambridge who served on the council for 22 years, said that elected officials often feel pressured to extend favors to large political contributors.
"I've had some contributors expect things in return," Wolf said. "Large amounts of money influence access, but an honest representative will still be a free thinker."
Geneva T. Malenfant, president of the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA), said she had no objections to local residents offering contributions to council candidates but said she was "troubled" by the influence of groups from outside the city.
Malenfant said that while Sullivan, who is endorsed by the Alliance for Change, and Duehay, who is endorsed by the CCA, have raised large amounts of money, less than $3,000 of Duehay's financial support came from outside Cambridge while Sullivan picked up $21,045 from non-Cambridge residents.
"I think the candidates from the CCA have as their main interests the people who live here, whereas the people who live here, whereas the Alliance [for Change] candidates are business-oriented and have supporters outside the city," she said.
Sullivan said that all of his contributors were friends and fellow attorneys who have been longtime supporters of his family, which has held as seat continuously on the council since 1936.
"None of them have anything to do with the city. They are my friends who wanted to help me out," Sullivan said.
Sullivan added that contributions, which are limited to $500 by state law, would not affect his position on local issues.
But rival candidate Lester P. Lee, Jr. said that the small individual contributions could make a cumulative influence on Sullivan's views.
"One can't help but wonder," Lee said. "I have friends who have moved out of Cambridge, but I don't see them making a major investment in my campaign endeavor."
Linda B. Levine, co-chair of the Small Property Owners Association, said the problem of high campaign costs could be solved by replacing the city's present election format with smaller neighborhood districts.
But Jon R. Maddox, who has raised about $6,000 in his quest for a school committee seat, said that the current city-wide districts lends itself to better representation.
"There is a marketplace for political ideas," Maddox said. "The money people raise tends to reflect the support in the community."