A clandestine political organization formed in 1981 to defeat three Burbank City Council candidates has been revived--with Councilwoman Mary Lou Howard the target this time.
In 1981,the three candidates--incumbent James Richman and challengers Frank Pawluc and Mark MacCarley--targeted by the organization, Burbank United for Municipal Pride (BUMP), all lost. This year, "BUMP 1987" is opposing Howard's bid for reelection in the upcoming municipal election.
Only scant details about the resurrected BUMP, which has not been heard from since 1981, were contained in a campaign financial statement filed this week in the Burbank city clerk's office--merely the group's goal of defeating Howard and the name of its treasurer, Doug Wassel.
Not yet revealed is how many people are in BUMP, who heads BUMP, which candidates BUMP may be supporting and how much money is in its coffers.
"I know nothing, I know less than nothing, I know nothing at all," Wassel, 27, said Wednesday. "The committee will issue a statement at the appropriate time. But I don't know anything."
Echoes Former Treasurer
In proclaiming his ignorance, Wassel, who works in his family's heating business, used words similar to those used in 1981 by then BUMP treasurer Floran Frank, the only acknowledged member of the organization at its inception.
Frank on Wednesday denied any involvement with the new BUMP but said that former City Atty. William B. Rudell, who frequently clashed with Howard, asked her to be BUMP's treasurer.
Rudell, who joined a Los Angeles law firm after being forced to resign in 1985 by an administration headed by Howard, tersely denied any affiliation with the new BUMP.
But Rudell will soon be related to the group's treasurer. Wassel said his mother is engaged to the former city attorney.
When questioned about the future relationship between him and Wassel, Rudell said, "So what if he's my future stepson? He's free, white and over 21, and he can do what he pleases. If he lives in the city and his kids go to Burbank schools, he has as much right to do what he wants as anybody does."
Wassel echoed Rudell's comment. "My mother being engaged to Bill Rudell has nothing to do with my involvement with BUMP," he said.
Wassel would not say why he is participating in the group.
1981 Group Ran as Team
In 1981, the three candidates opposed by BUMP were running as a team and all opposed the planned Towncenter regional shopping mall.
Days before the election, BUMP members mailed to voters brochures alleging personal misconduct by Richman. One of the brochures said that Richman had once been arrested and booked on a felony wife-beating complaint.
Richman acknowledged the arrest, but said it was based on false accusations by a woman he hardly knew who became mad when he asked her to leave a party at his house. The case was dropped the next day, he said.
Howard said Wednesday that she believes Rudell is behind the new BUMP.
"He never comes up front, he just puts someone else out in front and uses their name," she said. "I don't know what to expect, but I expect the worst."