For Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, it was a setting and a crowd far removed from the grass roots of her council district.
At the posh City Club high atop the Wells Fargo Center downtown, well-heeled developers and City Hall lobbyists paid $500 apiece one evening last week to sip wine and nosh on hors d'oeuvres with the councilwoman.
In two short hours, Galanter collected an estimated $100,000 for next year's reelection campaign, far more than she has ever raised at a single event. It was a far cry from the $50-a-person sock hop at the Loyola Marymount University gym that was her most-recent major fund-raising event in the district.
Galanter called the high-rise fund-raising reception "an effort to broaden my coalition."
As the lights of the city glittered 54 floors below, Galanter, who ran 2 1/2 years ago as an outsider, was now very much the insider.
"This is my first big established . . . fund-raiser admitting that I am an incumbent and planning to stay that way," she said in brief remarks.
Speaking to the well-dressed crowd, Galanter noted that many in attendance had been absent when she waged her underdog 1987 campaign against longtime incumbent Pat Russell.
"I am really pleased to have people in this room who three years ago never thought they would be able to speak to me," Galanter said. "I hope they have discovered that not only can they speak to me, but sometimes I even listen to them, and occasionally I even agree with them."
The veteran planner and activist, who successfully branded Russell as a friend of developers in the last campaign, took time out Wednesday to briefly discuss the opportunities that exist for developers who want to work with communities in her district.
Galanter said government works best when "we . . . are assisting communities and special interests of various kinds . . . to resolve problems, come up with solutions and then carry them out."
Council President John Ferraro introduced Galanter at the cocktail reception, noting that she had arrived at City Hall in 1987 regarded by insiders as "somebody who was going to stop everything that ever existed in the city of Los Angeles. Well, you can't do that," he said. "You've got to work with the community, and she has done that very, very well."
Galanter acknowledged in an interview that some voters in her diverse 6th District, which stretches from the beaches of Venice and Playa del Rey to the Crenshaw area, might criticize her fund raising now that she is an incumbent.
"There is a certain Cinderella quality to being the outsider, and you give that up when you are elected," she said.
Assemblyman Tom Hayden may be without Jane Fonda, but he's not without Hollywood.
The latest campaign contribution report filed late last month with the secretary of state's office shows that the entertainment industry remains a major source of funds for the Santa Monica Democrat's reelection campaign.
"His fund-raising base remains much as it has been in previous years," said Bill Schulz, Hayden's political director.
Producer Steven Bochco, who created "L.A. Law" and "Hill Street Blues," contributed $750, as did his wife, actress Barbara Bosson.
Fox Inc. Executive Barry Diller and producer/director Sydney Pollack each contributed $1,000.
Actors Ed Begley Jr. and Jeff Bridges gave $500 each. Singers Sheena Easton and Olivia Newton-John donated $200 apiece. Actresses Susan Anspach, Susan Clark, Cynthia Gibb and Daphne Zuniga contributed $100 apiece.
Hayden also received $1,000 contributions from prominent architect Frank Gehry and developer Jerome Snyder. Westside restaurateur Michael McCarty and advertising mogul Jay Chiat donated $500 apiece.
Organized labor continued to be a major contributor to Hayden's bid for a fifth term in the Assembly. The state AFL-CIO contributed $6,000 last year.
The largest donor was Hayden himself, who gave $43,582 to his campaign.
In all, Hayden raised just under $120,000 last year for the Assembly, but he spent most of it on staff and other expenses, leaving $19,334 in cash on hand at the end of December.
All incumbent Westside legislators whose terms are up this year will seek reelection against relatively unknown challengers.
The Los Angeles County registrar-recorder said the following officeholders and challengers declared an intent to run for office by Wednesday's deadline. The declaration is only the first step in winning a place on the June primary ballot.
22nd Senate District: Sen. Herschel Rosenthal (D-Los Angeles) will face another Democrat, William Graysen of Los Angeles. Republican Michael Schrager and Peace and Freedom candidate Margery Hinds also plan to challenge the two-term lawmaker.
28th Senate District: Sen. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles) is being challenged by a fellow Democrat, Kevin L. Zondervan of Hawthorne. Peace and Freedom candidate Ivan William Kasimoff of Los Angeles also plans to run against the three-term legislator.