REDONDO BEACH — Money is an issue, in more ways than one, in the city treasurer's race.
On March 3, voters will elect a city treasurer who will be responsible for keeping track of the city's income and investing its funds.
Both Alice DeLong, who has been city treasurer for the past 12 years, and one of her opponents, William A. MacAlpin, have expressed fears that the third candidate, Bruce Unruh, has a war chest that was built up with unspent funds raised for his father. His father, state Treasurer Jesse Unruh, had more than $1.5 million in campaign funds after his reelection in November.
Bruce Unruh would not discuss contributions, but his campaign statements through mid-January show no contributions from his father's campaign fund. The statements show he has raised nearly $6,000, mostly from executives in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Huntington Beach, New York, San Jose and Hawthorne. None of the contributors listed Redondo Beach addresses.
DeLong and MacAlpin are worried that the money will give Unruh an advantage that will be difficult to overcome.
DeLong, 52, said she expects to spend about $2,500--probably her own money, she said--during the campaign. MacAlpin, 50, said he expects to spend about $10,000, including about $5,000 of his own money.
Unruh, 39, who was finance director for his father's reelection campaign, will not say how much he plans to spend, but acknowledged: "I think they're probably right; I'm going to spend some money."
His campaign manager, Rick Taylor--of the Winner, Taylor & Associates Inc. election consulting firm of Los Angeles--interjected, "That's a strategy decision that we don't give away." Unruh was the only one of 10 Redondo Beach candidates to have his campaign manager present during interviews with The Times.
Of Unruh's fund-raising, MacAlpin said, "My personal opinion is that Big Daddy's buying him a job." But, he added, "I think money is an important factor in any election, but not the most important factor. I don't think voters in Redondo Beach are going to be impressed by someone who spends 1 1/2 times what the job pays to get the job."
The job currently pays $37,800 a year and will pay $48,000 after the election. The term of office is four years.
DeLong, who led an unsuccessful petition drive last fall to place a campaign-contribution limitation measure on the ballot, said campaign spending can be crucial.
"The last election, the people who spent the most money won and I'm sure that could happen again unless the people are informed. And how you get people informed is through (campaign) literature and that's expensive."
Doerr Spent Less
The only successful candidate in the 1985 municipal elections who spent less money than an opponent was Mayor Barbara J. Doerr, who was outspent by Jerry Goddard $20,253 TO $8,553.
DeLong was an unsuccessful District 1 City Council candidate in that election. She was outspent $14,513 to $2,296 by Councilman John Chapman.
MacAlpin questions whether DeLong still wants the treasurer's position, citing her council race and aborted resignation.
DeLong resigned in January, 1986, as city treasurer, explaining that family responsibilities were demanding too much of her time. Two weeks later, she withdrew her resignation, saying that she feared the City Council would appoint a longtime political foe, former mayor Dave Hayward, to the remaining year of her term.
Not Expected to Run
MacAlpin, Unruh and several city officials said they thought that when DeLong rescinded her resignation she only intended to serve the remainder of her term, not run for reelection.
DeLong acknowledged some indecision in the past two years. "I haven't been that wishy-washy in all the years I've been here," she said. The family responsibilities that led her to submit her resignation last year "aren't as overwhelming as they appeared at that time," she said.
She said she never neglected her city work and has put in a lot of overtime during the past 12 years, even when three close family members died.
DeLong said an $850 monthly raise the City Council recently gave to the treasurer and city clerk--effective after the March 3 election--influenced her decision to run for reelection. She said she deserves a raise because she worked at the job full time for many years, even though the pay was at a part-time rate until recent years.
MacAlpin and Unruh had other criticisms of DeLong. MacAlpin said she invests too much money in certificates of deposits and said he can show how she lost $800,000 to $1 million in potential interest during the last three years. He said some of the money should have been put in higher-yielding, long-term government-protected accounts.