With less than a week to go before Tuesday's election, Los Angeles City Council members Ernani Bernardi, Howard Finn and Joy Picus have considerably more money left in their campaign treasuries than do their opponents, according to campaign reports filed this week with the city clerk's elections division.
The three San Fernando Valley representatives are expected to use some of their remaining funds for last-minute campaign mailers. Finn and Bernardi face only token opposition; Picus has the stiffest challenge, with five opponents in the 3rd District.
Funds From Special Interests
Both Picus and Finn have raised considerable money from developers and other special interests that require city approval for their projects, according to the reports. There is no legal prohibition on accepting contributions from people who have business with the city.
The reports stated that Picus had spent $138,273--as much as all her opponents combined--on her campaign as of March 23, the closing date of the reports. She had $151,169 left in her campaign treasury.
In the northeast Valley's 1st District, Finn has spent $109,354 since September on his reelection campaign, leaving him $151,162 in campaign funds as of March 23.
Spending on Ballot Measure
Bernardi, who is heavily favored to win reelection to the mid-Valley's 7th district, has spent $83,815 since September, mostly to promote the campaign contribution limitation measure that he is sponsoring on next Tuesday's ballot. He had $39,095 left in his campaign treasury on March 23 while his two opponents, Paul Goldener and Marty Israel, reported raising and spending less than $500 each.
Of Picus' opponents, attorney Matt Lynch had spent the most, according to the campaign reports. He had spent $60,183 by March 23 and had more money left unspent than any of the challengers--$21,229.
In the 3 1/2 years since she last ran for office, Picus has raised $378,035, according to a review of the March 23 report and previous ones, which are required by a post-Watergate law. She had spent some of her money before last September on political activities other than her own campaign, including making contributions to Mayor Tom Bradley's losing 1982 gubernatorial campaign.
According to the March 23 report, among Picus' biggest contributors was Norman Kravetz, a Woodland Hills developer.
Last Oct. 24 Picus persuaded the council to kill a building moratorium that would have prevented construction of a controversial high-rise office-hotel project in the Warner Center proposed by Kravetz in partnership with developer Daniel Terheggen. Thirty-three days later, she received a $2,000 contribution from the partnership. Kravetz also has individually donated $3,500 to Picus' campaign fund.
Picus also received $5,500 from Warner Center developer Robert Voit and $4,000 from Taxpayers for Responsible Government and Engineering Technology Inc., organizations operated by Phillip Krakover, a City Hall lobbyist for developers.
The source of campaign contributions has been an issue in the campaign, with Picus' opponents accusing the councilwoman of hypocrisy for refusing to limit contributions to her own campaign while promoting Bernardi's ballot measure, which would put a $500-per-election ceiling on contributions to council candidates. There is no limit now.
Picus has responded: "When the rules of the games have been established, then I play by the rules." Despite their criticism of Picus, none of her opponents has placed limits on contributions to his or her campaigns.
Picus' opponents have dug deeply into their own pockets or received support from a number of big-name Republican contributors. Although the City Council is nonpartisan, Lynch and Jeanne Nemo are GOP activists who have called on friends in the party to help their campaigns against Picus, a registered Democrat.
Lynch has put $10,000 of his own money into his campaign. Gil Eisner, who has spent $25,380 to try to unseat Picus, has used $12,753 in personal funds.
Nemo, who has spent $27,402 on her campaign, received a $14,000 loan from Fred Lyte, a San Marino businessman who is a Republican fund-raiser. She also put $4,500 of her own money into her campaign.
Gary Klein, another Picus opponent, has spent $27,326. He received $250 from the Apartment Owners Assn., which opposes Picus because of her support of rent control.
The other candidate in the race, Jon Lorenzen, has spent $1,728.
In the 1st District, Finn earlier this year announced that he would not solicit any more campaign contributions. However, he had already raised $391,048 in the three years since his 1981 campaign.
Of Finn's three opponents, Noel Horwin had spent all but $67 of the $14,035 he had raised, according to the report. Of that, $6,206 came out of Horwin's own pocket. Another $4,200 was provided by Horwin's father, former Beverly Hills Mayor Leonard Horwin.
Elton (Skip) Michael, who is also running against Finn, had yet to file a statement but said he has spent about $7,000 on his race.
Finn's other opponent, Louis Cichelli, wrote on his campaign report, "I have not and will not receive any contributions and make any expenditures on behalf of my campaign."
City Council members are paid $48,424 a year.