Two couples in Southern California donated $26,000 to Lodi City Council candidate Alan Nakanishi’s campaign fund.
The four people donated $6,500 each, which are the largest individual donations that any of the council candidates have received during this election cycle. The donations came in on Thursday and Saturday, and catapulted Nakanishi from fourth place in donations raised to first place.
The couples originally donated the money to Nakanishi’s campaign for the Board of Equalization. Once he lost the statewide race, he had to return any money he raised for the general election.
Instead of returning the money, he asked the four to donate the $26,000 total to his Lodi City Council campaign, Nakanishi said.
He has accumulated a total of $34,750 in donations and an additional $15,291 that he moved from his Board of Equalization fund. Incumbent Phil Katzakian raised the next-highest amount at $20,297, which includes $2,321 of his own funds that he loaned himself.
The $6,500 donations came from George Aratani, Sakaye Aratani, Paul Terasaki and Hisako Terasaki.
George Aratani founded Mikasa, a well-known dinnerware company, and Kenwood, a successful electronics company. As a couple, the two have financially supported many Japanese-American organizations, and funded scholarships and fellowships at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Paul Terasaki studied and worked at UCLA, where he became well-known for his work on organ transplant technology. With his wife, they founded the Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies at the university. He also has a building named after him, the Terasaki Life Science Building, for his achievements and because he donated $50 million to UCLA.
Nakanishi has known the four for about 10 years and met them while visiting friends in Los Angeles. They sponsored his Assembly campaign in the past, Nakanishi said.
“They are good people,” Nakanishi said. “They give a lot to charity.”
He plans to use a majority of the money for philanthropy, he said. If elected to the council, he said council members are constantly going to charity events where he will be able to make donations.
Calls to numbers listed for the Aratanis and Terasakis were not returned.
The other candidates have raised significantly less money.
Candidate John Johnson has $15,254 at his disposable, which includes $5,500 in loans to himself. Incumbent Larry Hansen has raised $14,552.
Tony Amador has $8,199 in his account, which includes $500 in loans to himself. Jay Patel has raised $2,335, while Timothy Reed has not raised any money so far.
Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at firstname.lastname@example.org.