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ELECTION PERSPECTIVE: LOOKING AHEAD : Top Spenders Win L.B. Council Race

April 14, 1988|ROXANA KOPETMAN | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — The biggest spenders vying for the City Council were the biggest winners this week--leaving losing candidates to grumble that dollars were the deciding factor in the election.

In District 8, the spending battle is expected to continue, with two out of seven candidates meeting in a June 7 runoff.

With Councilmen Tom Clark in District 4 and Wallace Edgerton in District 2 easily winning reelection, the District 8 newcomer will be the only alteration to the council and its loosely knit voting blocs.

Clark and Edgerton had the most money to spend and still ended the campaign with money in the bank. Clark spent more than $27,000 as of March 31, outspending his closest opponent by almost 7 to 1. Edgerton's campaign cost about $9,000; his opponent said he spent less than $1,000.

In District 8, the only race without an incumbent, front-runners Jeffrey A. Kellogg led Pat Schauer but failed to get the majority necessary to avoid a runoff. The district, in the northern part of the city, is a potpourri of neighborhoods, from middle-class neighborhoods to the expensive Virginia Country Club to the Carmelitos housing project.

To reach the district's estimated 42,600 residents, Kellogg, an oil-drilling company executive, reported spending $26,058. Schauer, owner of a marketing management company and a city planning commissioner, reported spending $14,637.

"You can't combat that. No matter how hard you work," said Michael W. Fisher, a losing District 8 candidate. Fisher said he couldn't afford to mail flyers so he hand-delivered 35,000. His posters weren't professionally done but "made by hand," he said. Fisher reported spending $771.

Another District 8 candidate, Randall J. Morris, said money "talks quite loudly. If for no other reason, the flyers that go out get the candidates' names out." Morris said he spent less than $10 on his campaign.

Schauer and Kellogg could not say Wednesday how much they expect the runoff to cost them.

Schauer emphasizes her list of political activities and community involvement and says she's the most qualified to represent District 8. Kellogg acknowledges that he doesn't have the same experience, but what he lacks in community involvement he says he makes up in enthusiasm and broad-based support. He said he walked his entire district twice.

On the single most important issue in the district--expansion of the airport--both candidates say the same: they oppose airport growth.

Neither candidate could say what the strategy will be to prepare for the runoff. Kellogg said he plans to continue an "upbeat, positive campaign." Schauer said "it's a new game," and she and her consultants will have to decide how best to tackle it. Both Kellogg and Schauer tout themselves as independents, but there is speculation in City Hall about where they will align themselves.

There are two loosely knit coalitions on the City Council that are summed up by those who vote with Mayor Ernie Kell and those who will vote with Councilwoman Jan Hall. Kell's coalition usually carries the most votes. Kell and Hall are running against each other for mayor.

Schauer is supported by retiring Councilman Edd Tuttle, who is a strong Kell supporter, and Councilman Ray Grabinski, who often votes with Kell. Kellogg is supported by Vice Mayor Warren Harwood, who is a strong Kell supporter, and Councilman Wallace Edgerton, who is sometimes aligned with Kell, but who also has the backing of supporters from the opposing Hall camp.

Clark, a councilman for 22 years, said that if Kellogg wins, "you'll have a council that's much less dominated by a particular power structure.

"You're going to have an interesting configuration on the council. You'll have more loose alliances, assuming Jeff Kellogg is elected."

Harwood said neither Schauer nor Kellogg would be part of any coalition, but both could "work with Kell."

"I don't see any philosophical differences," Harwood said. "There's nothing to impair either of them from working with the majority."

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