LONG BEACH — A month before the official start of the campaign, Mayor Ernie Kell was sitting on a war chest of more than $170,000 for his drive to become the city's first elected mayor, while Councilwoman Jan Hall had spent all but about $20,000 of her mayoral contributions.
According to finance reports filed this week, Hall had spent nearly $99,000, contrasted with Kell's $70,600, through the end of 1987. About half of Hall's expenditures went to a prestigious political firm, which left the Hall campaign last week.
Although Kell spent less, he raised a lot more: $237,185, to Hall's $145,642. Kell has said he plans to spend about $400,000 before the April 12 primary. Hall has set a more modest goal of about $300,000.
Up to nine candidates are expected to enter the mayor's race by today's filing deadline, but only Kell, Hall, Luanne Pryor and E. W. (Bud) Huber Jr. were required to submit finance reports because they raised or spent campaign funds last year.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday February 11, 1988 Home Edition Long Beach Part 10 Page 4 Column 1 Zones Desk 3 inches; 94 words Type of Material: Correction
Due to an error in a campaign statement filed with the Long Beach city clerk, The Times incorrectly reported Feb. 4 that the Long Beach School Employees Federal Credit Union had donated $100 to the mayoral campaign of Ernie Kell. Jeffrey Adler, a Kell campaign spokesman, said a contribution was made by an individual who wrote a check on an account held by the credit union but the donation was incorrectly listed as a credit union contribution. Adler said the campaign statement will be amended to reflect the correct information. A spokesman for the Long Beach School Employees Federal Credit Union said the organization has not contributed to any of the candidates for mayor.
Pryor said she had raised $15,006 and spent $5,204. Huber said he raised $3,201 and had no cash on hand.
The figures, covering the period from July 1 to the end of the year, give a preview of the financial side of a campaign that has already seen Kell and Hall each raise more money than any other candidate spent in any other Long Beach campaign. (Hall and challenger Jim Serles held the record, each shelling out about $125,000 in the 3rd District council seat in 1986.)
Kell's report shows that he raised $80,000 of his $237,185 during the last six months of 1987. The 5th District councilman was appointed by the City Council as mayor in 1984.
Hall, the only other elected official in the race, collected all but $350 of her $145,642 during the same period. When $17,000 in pledges and $9,381 of in-kind contributions are deducted, her cash total stood at $119,261.
Hall had spent more than $48,000 for her advisers, the Westwood-based Dolphin Group, which departed the campaign last week. By contrast, Kell reported spending about $15,800 for his advisers, the Sacramento-based Directions firm.
Both Hall and Fred Karger, executive vice president for the Dolphin Group, denied that the firm left the campaign because of sagging finances.
Hall said that fund raising is "right on target" and that "we have put in place a tremendous organization." The departure of the Dolphin Group, which handled Gov. George Deukmejian's successful campaign for state attorney general in 1978 and his first gubernatorial drive in 1982, marks the start of the second phase of the campaign, she said.
Karger agreed. "We've spent the last eight months getting a strong organization established (with) volunteers throughout the city," he said, "and now that it's organized to a tremendous extent, the volunteers can start implementing the campaign and get the vote out."
Hall said she has hired Robert Gouty of Covina as an adviser for the new stage in her campaign. Gouty assisted Hall in his first unsuccessful campaign for City Council in 1972.
Hall said she will boost her finances with a $30-a-plate luncheon to start the campaign Friday at the Golden Sails hotel, with actor Patrick Duffy as special guest. She said she expects to raise about $20,000 from that event and will hold a fund-raising dinner in March.
The shortage of ready cash in Hall's campaign at the end of December left her only about $10,000 ahead of Pryor, a public relations executive and the only other prospective mayoral candidate who has conducted significant fund-raising.
Pryor, conducting an uphill campaign against the two better-known rivals, reported $9,891 left in her fund at the end of last year. She said a $50-a-head fund-raiser last week reaped about $4,000 more.
Despite advocating campaign finance reform and a vowing to limit total contributions to $100,000 and donate the remainder to the homeless, Pryor has received the largest single campaign contribution of any candidate.
She acknowledged that the $5,000 contribution she received from Tracey Claus, vice president of a Huntington Park chicken processing plant, and his wife, Jane, would violate a campaign reform measure submitted to the City Council by Common Cause.
Pryor added, however, that the contribution does not conflict with her stand, because there are no political strings attached. She said the Clauses are longtime friends.
"When I took this donation, I thought it was a terrific gift," she said. "Had it been a special-interest group, I would have refused."
Kell showed strong financial support from unions and city appointees. Hall received some major contributions from contacts that she made as board president of the Southern California Rapid Transit District.
Both candidates received heavy contributions from developers. Many contributors spread money between both camps--but generally gave the edge to Kell.