LONG BEACH — For the next week, as months-long campaigns drive toward a June 3 runoff election, the carefully considered images of City Council candidates will arrive in mailboxes and on doorsteps in a rash of expensive flyers and brochures.
For many of the 59,000 registered voters in the city's 1st, 3rd and 7th council districts, those images--candidates with families, candidates citing issues and candidates on the attack--will provide their best glimpse of the campaigns.
And the candidates, battling in all three races, are setting spending records to reach the electorate with one last image that might swing a vote. By election day, more than $100,000 will have been spent in District 1, perhaps $145,000 in District 3 and about $65,000 in District 7, candidates said.
"This has been a crazy campaign because of the spending. No one wants to be outspent, so that means you're running scared," said Evan Anderson Braude, who opposes Ron Batson in the 1st District.
Braude said he will spend about 85% of his $55,000 on brochures, mailers and advertisements. Jim Serles said that three-quarters of the $65,000 he is spending to challenge Councilwoman Jan Hall in District 3 will go for campaign publications. Even the 7th District's Ray Grabinski, who expects to spend less than any other runoff candidate--about $28,000--said he will send out several more flyers by election day in his challenge of Councilwoman Eunice Sato.
Inaccessible Security Buildings
"All the districts are becoming more difficult to campaign in because of the candidates' inability to get into some of these secured buildings," Grabinski said. Sometimes, he said, he simply has to rely on campaign materials.
In all three races, the campaign publications, which were mailed in bunches just before the April 8 primary and have been arriving sporadically at voters' homes ever since, reveal a clash of styles that are somewhat indicative of the campaigns, though disagreements have been much more strident in person.
In District 1, Braude has yet to mention Batson in his flyers. "I never discuss my opponent in any of my stuff," said Braude, 38, an attorney. "When you start talking about someone else, you end up being negative."
Braude does mention his wife and young son, his 30-year political internship with his stepfather, Rep. Glenn M. Anderson (D-Harbor City), his experience as a government lawyer, endorsements from many of the city's best-known leaders and his involvement in Long Beach area activities.
Brochures show Braude, 38, talking with senior citizens and children, shaking a policeman's hand. Campaign letters indicate a folksy, nice-guy approach.
"Thank you for joining our campaign for Long Beach City Council. My wife, Cookie, has talked to me about your warm support," Braude wrote in a form letter before the primary. In May, after one in a series of weekend meetings attended by Anderson and Assemblyman Dave Elder (D-Long Beach) at 1st District homes, Braude wrote: "I'm sorry you were unable to join us this past (Sat/Sun). It turned out to be quite a session."
Braude Called Opportunist
In contrast, Batson, 46, also a lawyer, said that because he and Braude agree on most issues, the real issue is Braude himself. Batson says Braude is an opportunist who moved here last August to run for office and who is running on his stepfather's coattails.
Campaign materials stress that Batson is "a longtime resident (who) lives and works in the district," and they beseech voters to "elect one of our own." Before the primary, a Batson brochure asked about four leading opponents, "Where do these candidates really live?" About Braude it asked, "Doesn't he really live in Harbor City?"
Batson has also stressed his political conservatism in campaign flyers that show him with Gov. George Deukmejian, Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Long Beach) and Assemblyman Dennis Brown (R-Signal Hill). All have endorsed him.
Batson emphasizes that he was born and raised in Long Beach, was a star basketball player, a Navy officer, taught in local high schools and began to practice law in downtown Long Beach in 1972. His brother is a Long Beach police officer, pamphlets note.
Braude accuses Batson of running a "dirty" campaign, while Batson says he's only pointing out facts. "I think the people are resentful that he just moved into the district," said Batson, "and that on billboards there is this little tiny 'Evan' and this humongous 'Anderson.' "
Braude said his opponent is "trying to make a negative out of the fact that I've learned some very positive things from being the son of Congressman Anderson. He's grabbing at straws."
Hall Pressed on Record
In District 3, the city's affluent southeast, where challenger Serles is pressing two-term incumbent Hall on her record, the bitterness of a yearlong campaign is reflected in dozens of campaign brochures and letters.