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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK : Cable TV Stations to Cover Santa Monica Races


Century Cable TV subscribers in Santa Monica will have a choice of channels for following city election returns Tuesday night.

Santa Monica CityTV Channel 16 will broadcast live from the City Hall Council Chambers beginning at 8 p.m., and will remain on the air until all local races are decided.

CityTV's coverage, anchored by Sandy Jacobson and Kerry Kerwin, will also include live and taped interviews with candidates and with supporters and opponents of the 10 ballot propositions in Santa Monica.

KSMC-TV Channel 30, Santa Monica College's cable television station, will also begin its coverage at 8 p.m. from its campus studio.

KSMC's coverage, anchored by Alec Murdock with analysis by Robert Stern, will feature live remote reports from candidates' headquarters and commentary.

Retiring City Councilman William H. Jennings has sent out a campaign mailer extolling his role as a co-founder of the tenants' group Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights and the need to defend the rights of tenants.

But rather than endorse the tenants group's candidates, Tony Vazquez and Kelly Olsen, Jennings asks voters to support the slate of Christine Reed, Robert T. Holbrook and Donna Alvarez.

"They will provide active leadership to defend existing tenant programs and preserve the goals upon which SMRR was founded," Jennings said in the letter, which was made to look as if it was written on official city stationery, but in fact was printed and mailed at the expense of the committees of the three candidates.

Jennings, who broke away from the tenants group shortly after being elected in 1979 because he said its leadership was telling him how to vote on the City Council, defended his letter, saying the group is losing credibility and has other interests besides rent control.

SMRR leaders said their candidates still offer renters the best hope of protecting affordable housing and tenants' interests.

While his SMRR running mate Kelly Olsen has been able to raise only $5,394 as of Oct. 20, Tony Vazquez has found a previously untapped source of contributors: the Latino community. As of Oct. 20, Vazquez had raised $23,500, much of that from Latinos in Santa Monica and elsewhere on the Westside.

"I'm even surprised," Vazquez said. "I expected $10 or $20 from some people, but many were writing checks for $100 and more."

Both candidates, however, benefit from the tenants group's $216,000 war chest, which has been used for campaign mailers endorsing its candidates for all local races, as well as some propositions.

Three candidates who have formed an alliance to oppose the SMRR candidates also have been successful at raising money. Christine Reed, the only incumbent in the council campaign, raised $65,928, retired businesswoman Donna Alvarez raised $53,862 and Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District board member Robert T. Holbrook raised $52,988.

Two self-described slow-growth candidates had moderate success raising money. Communications specialists Sharon Gilpin raised $15,508 and attorney Kathleen Schwallie raised $17,708, including a $5,000 loan she made to her campaign.

Jean Gebman, an engineer, raised $3,689. Teacher Larry Jon Hobbs filed a statement indicating that he did not plan to raise or spend more than $1,000 in the campaign.

While Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights has raised more than $200,000 for its candidates and causes, backers of one ballot measure opposed by the tenants group have been equally successful at campaign fund raising.

A landlords' alliance, the Yes on Proposition U Committee, has raised $207,050 in donations. Proposition U would accomplish the landlords' long-held dream of lifting rent controls whenever a rental unit is voluntarily vacated. The tenants group is pushing for passage of Proposition W, which would allow rent increases to specific "threshold levels" that would still be well below open-market rates.

Fund raising in the fight over whether the city attorney should be elected by the voters instead of appointed by the City Council is fairly close.

The Yes on Prop. Y Committee, campaigning for an elected city attorney, has reported raising $23,412. An opposing committee, the Santa Monica Progressive Precinct Network, raised $36,851, including $6,550 raised by attorneys in the city attorney's office.

Early in the campaign, Yes on Prop. Y Committee spokeswoman Leslie Dutton went after City Atty. Robert M. Myers, calling him a "convicted and habitual criminal" because of several arrests in connection with protests over nuclear testing and U.S. aid to El Salvador.

Myers has remained relatively quiet in response, but now SMRR, which opposes Proposition Y, has fired back in a campaign mailer calling Dutton a "demagogue" and "Santa Monica's answer to Jesse Helms."

Dutton's response: "They must be desperate to start calling people names."

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