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Torres Leads Molina in Fund Raising : Politics: Labor contributes 25% of state senator's 1st District campaign donations. Women's groups back his opponent.

February 14, 1991|RICHARD SIMON and JILL STEWART and HECTOR TOBAR | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Qureshey, president of AST Research, a large computer firm, refused comment. But Torres supporter Zane Alsabery said he asked Qureshey, a fellow Muslim, to make the loan after learning that Torres testified before an education committee about inaccurate portrayals of Muslims in schoolbooks.

"The textbook said that Muslims pray by rubbing their noses in the dirt and patting their hands on the ground," said Alsabery, an Agoura Hills executive recruiter.

Gertrude Marshall, a retired restaurant owner from Arcadia, donated $15,000 to Torres on the recommendation of her lawyer, Riordan. "We like (retiring Supervisor) Pete Schabarum. We thought he (Torres) would be the next best guy."

Molina's biggest contribution was $15,000 from Stanley Hirsh, a longtime friend and contributor who owns the Mercantile Center downtown.

"I'm one of her ardent admirers," he said. "There's nothing that she could do to help me."

Molina has refused contributions from landfill operators because garbage dumps are controversial in the district. Torres said he also has refused some contributions, but campaign aides would not identify the would-be donors.

The most striking difference between the two campaigns is the amount of money flowing from unions to Torres.

Correll said his union chose Torres over Molina because of his strong support of labor issues in the state Legislature and his pledge to fight any further private contracting of jobs held by county workers. Molina also opposes contracting.

Bill Robertson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, said Molina "has not been a bad labor vote, but we have not had a decent dialogue with Gloria."

Molina has been a critic of Robertson's second in command, James Wood, board chairman of the city's embattled Community Redevelopment Agency. Molina has accused Wood of using public funds to finance skyscrapers while affordable housing and other pressing needs received less attention.

Torres said he is "very independent" and that labor supports him "because of what I've stood for--to raise the minimum wage . . . to protect health and safety of workers."

Union leader Correll added, "It kind of blows me away that (Molina) asked us for our endorsement and now is saying that we're special interests."

Molina said, "Unions are a special interest just like lawyers and women, but it's the size of this special interest that is unbelievable, because it can be very controlling."

Among Molina's biggest contributions was $7,000 from the Engineers & Architects Assn., which represents 8,000 city employees.

The Los Angeles County Firefighters Local 1014 was Torres' biggest contributor, providing $35,000, followed by Service Employees International Union Local 660, which donated $32,828.

The Northern California Pipe Trades District Council in Burlingame, which donated $2,000, has backed Torres since the early 1980s, when he co-sponsored a bill to ban plastic pipe in home sewers.

Unions argued that plastic could break, but it was also widely known that unions feared plastic might last longer than metal--and not need replacement. Torres' bill was defeated.

"My attitude has always been that whoever supports you, you support them," said Tom Hunter, business manager of the pipe trade union. "I'm sure that (Molina) is a fine person, and if she wins she'll probably make a good supervisor. But that's really not the point from our perspective."

Molina's largest contribution from women was $10,000 from Peg Yorkin, a television producer and chairwoman of the Fund for the Feminist Majority. Yorkin called Molina "a feminist, a very strong woman. In fact, we gave her the . . . Feminist of the Year award."

She also received $10,000 from the Women's Political Committee; $5,000 from Women For, a California women's political activist group, and $3,500 from the National Women's Political Caucus' Westside chapter.

Molina has raised $20,750 from developers and lobbyists in Central City West, a partially blighted 465-acre tract of land west of the Harbor Freeway in her council district. The supervisors have no say over the developments, which require approval by the City Council.

Molina has played a central role in hammering out a compromise between developers and community groups, which included construction of additional housing.

"None of it was contingent on any kind of fund raising for me," she said.

Ken Spiker, a lobbyist for PC Crown Hill, a landowner in Central City West, said he and the firm gave $7,000 to Molina's supervisorial race because, "We get straight answers back from Gloria."

Lobbyist Steve Afriat raised $6,500 for Molina's supervisorial campaign and represented a Central City West developer. "The developers got what they wanted, but it was a result of significant concessions (by them)," he said.

Both candidates have received money from firms whose contracts and projects need Board of Supervisors' approval.

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