Mayor Fred Hunter on Monday accused his election challenger, Councilman Tom Daly, of having a conflict of interest by accepting donations from the developers Daly represents as an executive for a building trade association.
The accusation, which Daly denied, came after each candidate declared in documents filed Monday with the city clerk that he had raised more than $29,000 in campaign contributions during the past three months.
Hunter, who is seeking a third two-year term as mayor, raised $37,909 between July 1 and Sept. 30, with contributions in excess of $500 coming from the political action committees of the four city employee unions, as well as $5,000 from the Los Angeles Rams. He also raised more than $4,375 from developers.
Hunter did not begin accepting donations until after Aug. 1, after saying for months that he was not planning to seek any donations during this campaign.
Hunter, who was not available for comment Monday afternoon, said in a prepared statement released by his campaign office: "Is it proper for Tom Daly to raise tens of thousands of dollars from the same builders that pay his salary? With his . . . paycheck on the line, how can Mr. Daly objectively vote on any (construction) project as a councilman?"
Hunter, a personal injury attorney, said in the statement that he had to begin raising campaign contributions "in self-defense."
"Daly has been systematically fund-raising and spending money for the past year in preparation for this campaign," Hunter said. "I am convinced he is not going to spend his war chest talking about my many accomplishments as mayor."
Daly, who is also seeking reelection to the City Council, raised $29,874 during the past three months and has raised $52,898 since Jan. 1. Campaign finance reports show that he has raised $109,000 in the past four years.
An administrator for the Building Industry Assn., Daly has received more than $10,000 from builders and contractors during the past three months, according to campaign finance reports. He denied Monday that these contributions or his job represents a conflict of interest with his council duties.
"I wish Mr. Hunter had stuck to the issues rather than resort to personal attacks," Daly said. "He's making up this issue so he won't have to talk about real issues . . . like how two years ago he promised he would not vote to raise taxes and then at the first opportunity did so."
The city last year imposed a 2% utility users tax to balance its budget. Hunter supported it while Daly opposed it.
Meanwhile, Councilman William D. Ehrle, who is seeking reelection, reported raising no money during the past three months but had $28,454 on hand from previous donations. He has spent $41,185 on his campaign since Jan. 1, according to finance reports.
Of Daly and Ehrle's nine council challengers, only Planning Commissioner Bob Zemel, who finished third in 1988's council race, Frank Feldhaus, who finished fifth in the council race two years ago, and former Gang/Drug Task Force Chairman Keith Olesen reported raising more than $3,000.
Zemel, a local real estate broker, has raised $3,034 in contributions; Feldhaus, a telephone service manager, has received $5,327 in contributions; and Olesen, a computer components salesman, has raised $4,835, according to campaign finance reports.
None of the other candidates--Fares Batarseh, Todd Kaudy, Phil Knypstra, Manuel Ontiveros, Ed Skinner and Frank Turner--reported receiving more than $500 in contributions.