SACRAMENTO — In the final weeks before the Nov. 4 election, the three-member conservative majority on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors loaned $36,500 to the successful 54th Assembly District campaign of Republican Paul Zeltner.
The final campaign statements for the 1986 election filed last week with the secretary of state's office also show that committees controlled by Supervisors Deane Dana, Michael Antonovich and Pete Schabarum loaned or contributed to Zeltner's campaign roughly $60,000--more than one-third of his total receipts.
Zeltner's campaign reported that the interest-free loans remain unpaid. But Zeltner, a former Lakewood city councilman, has scheduled his first Sacramento fund-raiser Thursday to begin to erase the debt and build up reserves in anticipation of facing a stiff Democratic challenge in 1988.
Loans Have 'No Strings' Attached
In an interview last week, Zeltner said that there are "no strings" attached to the contributions from the supervisors and they have not pressured him to repay the loans. "I'm told that, compared to other people, I'm not in that bad shape. Others have deficits of $100,000," Zeltner said.
Zeltner estimated that he has received pledges totaling at least $20,000 from lobbyists and others who plan to attend his $500-a-person fund-raising breakfast at a restaurant across from the Capitol.
In the heated Nov. 4 election, Zeltner handily beat a Democrat, Edward K. Waters, in the heavily Democratic district that covers Bellflower, Compton, Lakewood, Paramount and parts of East Long Beach and Willowbrook.
Waters, who emerged from a heavily contested Democratic primary, reported that his campaign spent about $820,000, compared to $170,000 for Zeltner, who faced no primary opposition.
In the primary, Waters' campaign spent about $490,000, compared to $17,000 for Zeltner. In the general election, Waters reported spending about $330,000, compared to about $153,000 for Zeltner, according to their reports.
Zeltner said that ordinarily a well-financed candidate like Waters' is "going to walk away with the seat," but he speculated that people were "turned off" by the Waters campaign.
Waters, a political newcomer, was heavily supported by his mother, Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and her political mentor, Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco).
In the last weeks of the campaign, Waters complained about Zeltner's use of his Lakewood city credit card for expenses while on city business. Yet both Democratic and Republican campaign consultants say that the attacks failed to lift Waters' support among voters in pre-election polls above 46%--the same percentage he captured on election night.
Waters could not be reached for comment. Assemblywoman Waters, whose campaign committee contributed $250,700 to her son's campaign, declined to discuss the election.
However, Assembly Majority Leader Thomas M. Hannigan (D-Fairfield), at a breakfast session last Wednesday with The Times Sacramento Bureau, said, "Maxine would be the first to admit that we erred on her son's candidacy and that will not occur in 1988."
With family members campaigning for office, Hannigan noted that "it's very difficult" to make decisions in "an objective way . . . without making some mistakes."
Ed Waters' campaign, too, is $75,000 in debt--primarily because of outstanding loans from at least seven Democratic Assembly members. His campaign treasurer said that the bulk of those funds must be repaid, probably by Assemblywoman Waters' campaign treasury.
Major contributors to the Waters campaign included the Democratic State Central Committee, $21,500; California Teachers Assn., $8,000, and Sen. Ralph Dills, $5,000.
After the $250,700 from Assemblywoman Waters, the largest single contribution was $160,000 for salaries, travel and printing from the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee.
Among the major expenses listed by the Waters campaign was nearly $39,000 for postage; $18,000 for CAL Central Press of Sacramento for campaign literature, and $10,000 for Pacific Direct Mail Services Inc. of Commerce for campaign literature.
Zeltner also listed heavy expenses for postage and mailings, including $25,700 for postage; nearly $18,000 for Team Four Mail Marketing Services of Commerce for election mailers, and $11,000 for the political consulting firm of Allan Hoffenblum.
The supervisorial contributions to Zeltner's election included $39,600 in loans from Dana's campaign committee; $10,000 in loans from the Alliance For Representative Government, a committee controlled by Schabarum, and $10,700 in loans and donations from Antonovich's committee.
Zeltner received many of his contributions from individuals and businesses in and around the 54th District, including Irving Moskowitz, a Long Beach physician, who gave $2,000; Watson Land Co. in Carson, $1,900, and John Morrison, owner of the Pastime Bar and Grill in Paramount, $1,000.
In the final month of the campaign, the Assembly Republican Political Action Committee channeled $200,000 or more to several other GOP candidates in the Los Angeles area. However, Assembly Republicans chipped in merely $5,000 to the Zeltner campaign.
Hoffenblum, Zeltner's campaign consultant, said that the GOP Assembly leadership is now "working hard with Paul to pay off the deficits."