CARSON — City Council candidate Michael I. Mitoma has racked up more than $26,000 in contributions and loans, placing him far in front of the rest of the field in campaign finances, according to the latest reports.
Eight candidates are running in Tuesday's special election for the seat vacated by Walter J. (Jake) Egan, who was removed from the five-member council in October after his sentencing on political corruption charges involving mail fraud and extortion.
With the council divided into two bitterly opposed equal factions, the election could shift what has been a stalemate on key issues to dominance by one of the sides.
Mitoma is backed by council members Kay Calas and Vera Robles DeWitt. Aaron Carter, ranked second in contributions and loans with $7,406, is backed by Mayor Sylvia Muise and Mayor Pro Tem Tom Mills.
Independent Roye Love is third with $3,906 in loans and contributions. Love, who is running as an independent, received $1,000 in the latest filing period, mostly in contributions of less than $100. His largest contribution was $100 from Carson residents Albert and Sylvia Campbell.
Peters Receives $100
The only other candidate to report any contributions in the latest filing period was Charles W. Peters, who said he received $100.
Mitoma, who lent his campaign more than $14,000 to start it off, added no more of his personal money in the latest filing period, which began Jan. 18 and ended Feb. 14. He listed contributions of $11,652 from 28 supporters, including $3,400 from the attorney and four directors of Pacific Business Bank, where he is president.
In addition, Mitoma received $3,350 from real estate interests, including $750 from Watson Land Co., one of the city's largest developers, and another $750 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee.
Carson business interests contributed another $2,400. Mitoma also received a $250 contribution from the Teamsters Local 42.
The candidate is holding a $99 benefit tonight to which members of the city's employee union, which has endorsed him, have been invited. Mitoma said the benefit was priced at $99 because state law requires the disclosure of the identities of all who contribute $100 or more. Several city employees told him they feared retribution if their identities became known, he said.
Donation From Claremont
Carter received eight contributions in the latest filing period, including a $1,000 donation from Claremont resident Hans Austad and another $1,000 contribution from Long Beach attorney Debra Jentsch. A $300 contribution was made by a Compton trash collection company, Murcole Inc. Carter lent his campaign $1,000, bringing his total loan to his campaign to $2,000.
Financial assistance for Carter may be on the way. Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd (D-Hawthorne) told several who attended Carson's annual anniversary dinner last week that he intended to contribute up to $8,000 to get out the vote for Carter.