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On the Circuit : He'll Be Blitzing for Bird and Countering Contras

March 29, 1985|MARYLOUISE OATES | Times Staff Writer

For an off-election year, campaign-advertising whiz Bill Zimmerman surely is busy.

Not only is he putting together the massive media blitz for California Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird, he's also planning an advertising campaign to counter the contras --to keep the United States from funding the anti-government forces in Nicaragua.

"I'm proud of what I am doing about Central America, and I think it's a mainstream position in the United States," he said.

Zimmerman's progressive and activist politics are no secret--from his trip to Hanoi as part of a student delegation in 1972 to his air-lifting food to protesting Indians at Wounded Knee.

Aided Mainline Democrats

His firm--Zimmerman, Galanty & Fiman--is doing and has done the media for nationally known, mainline Democrats like Carol Bellamy, New York City mayoral candidate this year; for Harold Washington, whose Zimmerman-conceived commercials are credited with helping him become mayor of Chicago, and, in California, for presidential candidate Gary Hart. (His firm also produced the Jane Fonda Workout tape.)

California voters get the chance in 1986 to vote yes or no on a new 12-year term for Bird. Zimmerman's position in the Bird campaign seems much more than merely designing the commercials to go on TV--her campaign manager, Linda K. Feldman, is reachable in his Santa Monica office, and routine press calls to Bird are already routed there.

Long opposed to U.S. involvement in Central America, Zimmerman says that his work for the counter- contras campaign in no way affects his Bird job. (He's being paid for Bird, but the counter- contras campaign--under the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE)--is for free.

"We frequently handle six or seven political campaigns simultaneously. They are kept independent of each other. My work on behalf of Rose Bird has nothing whatever to do with the pro bono work we are doing with SANE, any more than a lawyer working with one client affects another."

Zimmerman said it's "very, very doubtful" that enough money will be raised by SANE to make the counter- contras campaign nationwide. "It's more likely to be targeted to specific locations . . . (and) we're not sure yet whether the funds will be raised. We are only now preparing the scripts for the campaign."

Has any filming been done in Nicaragua? Zimmerman, who attended the January inauguration of Daniel Ortega there, was "not in a position to say."

WHAT'S IN A NAME--Chicago, yes. Alabama, of course. But Roanoke? Who ever heard of a music group called Roanoke? Or even of Roanoke, Va.? Maybe not too many. Which is why 35 business-types put up more than $1 million to create a rock group carrying their hometown name. They've hired Wes Farrell to put the band and the sound together. Does anybody remember the Monkees?

DAY AT THE RACES. With just a couple dozen months to go until the next presidential race begins, some GOP hopefuls have already established local bases. Vice President George Bush, of course, has his longtime pal, producer Jerry Weintraub (Mr. Bipartisanship). Kansas Sen. Bob Dole has good friends at Arco and buddy Phil Hawley. Former Sen. Howard Baker has pal Waller Taylor II, of the downtown law firm of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine and is now on MCA's board.

NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Roaming through the Embassy Theater were the Music Center's Tom and Esther Wachtell with Peter Hemmings, the new executive director of the Music Center Opera Assn. The first production under Hemmings' auspices--"The Beggars Opera"--is coming from the Opera of St. Louis on April 25. Explaining this particular production, Hemmings said it was first done on the ground in an apple orchard in 1982, for about 350 people. He added that the stage at the Embassy would allow most of the 1,600 opera buffs in the audience to see the singers' legs, and that's important, since when people don't see the legs, they feel as though they are missing something. Tom Wachtell, the head of the opera board, agreed and noted he'd be happy if he could see just legs. His wife (who is vice chair of the Music Center's Unified Fund) pointed out the difference between opera and burlesque.

X-ING ECSTASY. You'll be hearing and reading more about yet another new drug. This one, when in the lab, is called MDMA. Humanistic psychologists who advocate it believe it a powerful therapeutic tool, bringing about "peacefulness and an ability to trust." On the street, its name is "ecstasy" or "Adam," which should tell how people on the street feel about it. Academic researchers fighting the Drug Enforcement Administration's plan to "schedule one" MDMA--making it illegal--have hired the Washington office of a prestigious New York law firm, Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood--and Joseph Califano, the former HEW Secretary, is on the firm masthead.

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