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Status Quo the Likely Winner in Westside's Primary Races

May 22, 1988|ALAN CITRON | Times Staff Writer

People who like the status quo in Westside politics should love the June 7 primary elections.

With the exception of Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Los Angeles), all Democratic incumbents in legislative or congressional races are unchallenged or facing nominal opposition, while most of the Republicans are unknowns.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday May 29, 1988 Home Edition Westside Part 9 Page 2 Column 1 Zones Desk 2 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
Tom Franklin, a candidate in the Republican primary for the 43rd Assembly District, favors a bill to allow police to electronically monitor calls made by suspected drug dealers. His view was misstated in a story in the May 22 Westside section.
Please see related letter on Page 4.

Political observers say there is little room for newcomers this year because the incumbents seeking reelection are well-entrenched. Kam Kuwata, a veteran Democratic campaign consultant based on the Westside, said the entire slate of officeholders should have clear sailing through November.

'Have to Have a Lot of Money'

"People are fairly satisfied with who is representing them," Kuwata said. "And as elections become an increasingly specialized art form, (challengers) have less of a desire to venture out and take risks. You can no longer say you are running an insurgent campaign. You have to have a lot of money."

The only Westside race that has sparked real interest during the otherwise lackluster political season is the contest that pits Beilenson against Val Marmillion for the Democratic berth in the 23rd Congressional District, which includes West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Malibu.

Beilenson, a Harvard-educated lawyer known for his liberal stances in Congress, is the favored candidate. But Marmillion, a businessman and political consultant, has made inroads with an aggressive and well-financed campaign.

In recent appearances before 23rd District voters, Marmillion has ripped Beilenson's record, charging that the congressman has lost touch with his liberal constituents and that he lacks a strong vision for the future.

Marmillion, 38, of West Hollywood has oriented his campaign toward the elderly, feminists, gays, veterans, the disabled and labor groups, promising to support programs that meet their needs instead of military spending. He has raised about $80,000, and has mailed a detailed issue booklet to voters.

Friend to Constituents

Beilenson, 55, counters that during his 12 years in Congress he has been a friend to the groups Marmillion claims to represent. He also has been an outspoken critic of deficit spending for many years and advocates raising the tax rate from 28% to 38.5% for people earning more than $150,000 a year.

Beilenson is a strong environmentalist and is largely credited with creating the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. He has said that he will raise and spend as much as it takes to answer Marmillion's charges.

The other 23rd District candidates are unchallenged in the primary. They are businessman Jim Salomon, Republican; businessman John Vernon, Libertarian, and computer programmer John Honigsfeld of the Peace and Freedom party.

In the 24th Congressional District, which includes the Hollywood-Fairfax area, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) is unchallenged in the primary. The Republican race, however, has attracted three candidates.

Sol Annenberg, 52, a political analyst who lives in the Wilshire District, said his major concerns are crime, drugs and gangs. Annenberg said he would use federal resources to battle those problems and would encourage gang members to join nonviolent social groups such as the Boy Scouts. He would appoint commissions to seek solutions to the drug epidemic.

John N. Cowles, 38, a manufacturing executive from Hancock Park, said he opposes Waxman's liberal positions. Cowles calls himself a fiscal conservative who would steer away from expensive programs.

"Government is not here to find the answer to every woe we might have in society," he said.

Dean DeGruccio, 25, is a law student who lives in Studio City. DeGruccio said his major interest is in advocating a light-rail transit system instead of the Metro Rail subway, which he says is too expensive. DeGruccio said he would also work for higher standards of education.

The other two candidates, who face no primary opposition, are bulk-mailing consultant George Abrahams, a Libertarian, and union organizer James Green of the Peace and Freedom party.

No Opposition

No one is facing primary opposition in the race for the 26th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Hollywood Hills. The candidates are Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) and commercial actor and businessman G. C. "Brodie" Broderson, a Republican.

In the 27th District race, Rep. Mel Levine (D-Santa Monica) faces nominal competition from Ralph Cole, a 38-year-old graduate student and founder of a group called Socially Responsible Singles.

Cole contends that Democrats such as Levine, who represents an area including Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista and Venice, are not doing enough to support the liberal agenda.

Cole, who has raised a little more than $1,000 in campaign funds, said he would put more federal money into health care, strengthen environmental programs, build more low-cost housing and legalize drugs on an experimental basis.

He said that he considers his quixotic campaign a symbolic quest.

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