Candidates for the April 8 City Council race in Culver City spent a record amount, while campaign spending in Beverly Hills was down from the record 1984 level, according to the latest statements filed in each city.
The seven contestants in the Culver City race for two council seats spent $76,234, compared to the approximately $61,600 spent by five candidates for three seats in 1984.
The increase was attributed to the highly publicized battle between former Councilman A. Ronald Perkins and challenger Andrew Weissman, who both lost, said City Clerk Pauline C. Dolce.
In Beverly Hills, six candidates for two council seats spent more than $225,000, or about $37 on each of the approximately 6,000 votes cast. In 1984, when three incumbents faced five challengers, more than $380,000 was spent.
This year's race, which had only one incumbent up for reelection, may prove that candidates in Beverly Hills do not have to spend large sums to wage strong campaigns, City Clerk Jean Ushijima said.
"It's hard to say whether this will establish a precedent . . . (but) it's an indication that there can be different kinds of campaigns run in the city," she said.
Most of the money raised by candidates in both cities went toward mailers and newspaper advertisements.
The biggest spender in Culver City was Weissman, who paid out $23,799 to finish third behind winners Jozelle Smith and Councilman Richard M. Alexander.
Weissman said his biggest expense was for campaign letters and postage, which he said were necessary to establish name recognition in the community.
"If you're going to challenge effectively, (high spending) is necessary," he said. "You can run a purely bare-bones, grass-roots campaign, but I don't think it will be effective in so far as challenging an incumbent."
Perkins, against whom Weissman waged what some observers said was the city's most divisite campaign in decades, spent $20,106. Both topped the previous record of $18,458 spent by Councilman Richard R. Brundo in 1984.
Smith and Alexander each won four-year terms in the $400-a-month jobs. About 5,100 of the city's 20,000 registered voters went to the polls.
Smith, waging her first council campaign, reported spending $17,562. Alexander, who won a fourth term, reported $13,470. Of the losing candidates, Richard Nielsen spent $597, while Lisa Tracy and Fred Ellis each reported their $350 filing fee as their sole expenses.
None of the Culver City candidates reported any outstanding debts.
City Clerk Dolce said that contributions were less important to Smith, who got a boost from voter sentiment in favor of electing a woman and became the first female council member in 30 years. Smith also benefited from the political associations of her father, former Councilman Joe Lawless, Dolce said.
In Beverly Hills, challenger Maxwell Salter was the biggest spender, using more than $97,000 to win his first term on the council. Salter said his biggest expenses were direct mail, newspaper advertising and signs.
"I wish that we could get together and restrict the funds that are . . . being spent," he said. "I just think it is outlandish the amount you have to spend versus the number of people who vote."
Former Mayor Annabelle Heiferman, who lost her bid for a second term, spent nearly $81,000.
Neither candidate topped the record of $108,000 spent in 1984 by Mayor Charlotte Spadaro, who won a second term then.
Heiferman received the largest amount of contributions with $121,000, which included almost $28,000 that she loaned to her own campaign.
Challenger Salter reported receiving $109,000 in contributions with a debt of $5,000. He and Robert Tanenbaum won four-year terms on the council, for which members receive about $300 a month.
Tanenbaum spent $55,285 to win his first term on the council. Rose Norton, who lost but finished ahead of fourth-place Heiferman, spent only $22,423.
Candidates M. Cynthia Rose and Eugene Quash, who finished fifth and sixth respectively, were not required by the city to file reports because they pledged to spend less than $500 during the election, Ushijima said.