In settings ranging from the posh Chasen's restaurant in West Los Angeles to a chic art gallery in Venice, contributors have recently funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of Westside politicians.
Combined contributions to the leading candidates in four Westside Assembly races total more than a quarter of a million dollars, according to financial reports. The bulk of the money was raised at banquets and cocktail parties, and the fund-raising activities will continue after the June 3 primary.
At this stage of the campaign, reports reveal a wide gap between the money taken in by the top candidates in the 43rd, 44th, 45th and 49th Assembly districts and the amounts received by their competitors. And Democrats in the predominantly Democratic districts have collected far more than Republicans.
The biggest beneficiary of the Westside largess so far is Terry B. Friedman, a Democratic public interest lawyer who is given the best chance of succeeding Gray Davis in the 43rd District. Friedman, a Westwood resident, has taken in about $150,000, and will have two more fund-raisers this week.
Friedman's major money-making event was a $250-a-plate banquet at Chasen's earlier this month. More than 200 people attended the ritzy dinner and cocktail party, enriching the Friedman campaign chest by about $75,000. Friedman, who is backed by the Berman-Waxman organization, a powerful political group headed by Reps. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), said he expects to spend $250,000 on the primary.
Most of the money will go to pay for costly direct mail, but Friedman also sent about 65,000 "Friedman for Assembly" potholders to voters recently.
"I'm extremely pleased," Friedman said. "It has been very gratifying how friends and people I've worked with have come through with contributions."
The 43rd District takes in several affluent communities on the Westside and the San Fernando Valley, including Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Encino, Sherman Oaks and Studio City. It is considered a prime fund-raising base, but Friedman's two primary opponents have yet to take advantage of it.
One of them, Bruce Margolin, a West Hollywood attorney, is reporting about $500 in campaign funds, most of it from his own pocket. Margolin said he only recently sent out a fund-raising appeal. He said he expects to receive about $10,000 to $15,000 in contributions before the primary, and estimated that he will spend a total of about $25,000 on the campaign. Rather than paying for costly direct mail, Margolin said he will advertise on radio and cable television.
Rosemary D. Woodlock, the third candidate in the Democratic primary, refused to reveal how much she will be reporting, but said it is "not much." Woodlock said she has solicited contributions individually from friends and supporters and expects to send a mailer to voters sometime soon. Woodlock, a Woodland Hills attorney, said she has no plans for a formal fund-raiser.
On the Republican slate, Marc Philip Schuyler of Tarzana said he has received about $2,200. His opponent, Lou Steeg, a Sherman Oaks resident who is backed by arch-conservative Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., said he had no contributions.
More Money Expected
In the 44th Assembly District, which extends from Malibu to Century City, Assemblyman Tom Hayden leads the pack with about $67,000 in his campaign chest. He said he expects to reach $100,000 by the end of next month.
Hayden collected $27,000 at a recent fund-raiser at a Venice art gallery. On sale there were $3,000-a-piece silk-screen prints of Hayden's wife, actress Jane Fonda. The prints were donated by artist Andy Warhol. Buyers included Ethel Kennedy, widow of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
Hayden, who faces nominal opposition in the primary, is expected to earn an additional $50,000 from a Sacramento fund-raiser next month. Fonda and actress Morgan Fairchild are the featured attractions at the $500-a-person event.
"I have a fund-raiser in Sacramento every year," Hayden said. "You reach two groups there. The community of lobbyists who contribute small amounts of money to everyone . . . and the people who work and live in Sacramento."
Hayden's primary opponent is J. Alex Cota, a Rancho Park businessman who spent $64,000 against Hayden in 1984. Cota said he is reporting about $4,000 in campaign funds so far this year, all of it his own money. Cota said he expects to spend at least $12,000 on campaign mailers in the coming weeks.
Two Republican Candidates
The two 44th District candidates in a tight GOP primary are Bill Mundell, a Santa Monica economist, and Gloria J. Stout, a Pacific Palisades camera store owner. Mundell reported about $15,000 in contributions. Stout said she has raised about $8,000. Both candidates said they expect to send out mailers.