Councilman John Ferraro, pointing to Mayor Tom Bradley's appointment to a city commission of a man who lent him $300,000 in his gubernatorial campaign, charged Sunday that the mayor has been "selling off Los Angeles parcel by parcel to further his political ambitions."
Reemphasising a major theme of his campaign, Ferraro told a downtown press conference that Bradley "will do anything to be governor."
Recreation and Parks Commissioner Richard Riordan was the largest contributor to Bradley's unsuccessful 1982 campaign for governor. He was one of 120 new commissioners named by Bradley last year in an overhaul of all city boards and commissions. His $300,000 loan to Bradley was recently repaid.
Ferraro Sunday referred to a newspaper article that said Riordan, before the loan, in the spring of 1982 made a $3.4-million profit from the sale of downtown land parcels to the city Community Redevelopment Agency, whose board members are appointed by Bradley.
"We cannot continue to allow Tom Bradley to get away with selling off Los Angeles parcel by parcel to further his political ambitions," Ferraro said. But the councilman said he had no "quid-pro-quo" connection to prove Bradley did anything in exchange for the loan.
Bradley said Sunday that no financial supporter "ever asked me for any favor that was improper, and never have I given one. Whatever the amount given there is no connection to what someone contributes and what response they get from elected officials . . . I can speak for myself, there is no connection. "
Contributions and loans to political campaigns "are a practice of political life in this nation. There is nothing improper, immoral, illegal or unethical about it," the mayor said.
Bradley added that he "wouldn't dignify something John Ferraro said. He hasn't told the truth about anything in this campaign yet. Don't even mention his name. I don't want to hear about it."
When further pressed to comment, Bradley, irritated, said: "He's (Ferraro) been there (in the City Council) 18 years and what the hell has he done? Zero, nothing."
When Bradley appointed 120 new city commissioners last August, several prominent contributors to his gubernatorial campaign were named. At that time, Frances Savitch, a mayoral aide who had a key role in selecting the appointees, said: "People who have been supportive of the mayor ought not be denied the opportunity to serve the city."
Ferraro said he would call for an investigation of the CRA to see whether the agency, charged with redeveloping blighted areas, "has acted in the best interest of the city." Although he said he would not ask for an investigation "until I'm elected mayor because I couldn't get a fair hearing," Ferraro later said he would push for a probe regardless of the outcome of next month's election.