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CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS / PROPOSITIONS : Opponents of Prop. 187 Face Funding Shortfall : Foes say they need at least $3 million, have raised $820,996. Some would-be donors will focus instead on fighting measure in court if it becomes law.

October 07, 1994|DAN MORAIN and PAUL FELDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

SACRAMENTO — As business and labor pour millions into other initiatives, the campaign to defeat anti-illegal immigration Proposition 187--probably the most controversial on the ballot--is falling far short of its ambitious fund-raising goals, campaign finance reports show.

Less than five weeks before voters go to the polls on Nov. 8, the anti-Proposition 187 campaign reported raising $820,996 between July and September, and showed a campaign debt of $125,000.

Political consultants working to beat Proposition 187 say they need $3 million to $5 million to mount an effective television and radio campaign against the measure aimed at illegal immigration.

"These figures aren't the final story. If they were, that would be bad news," said Scott Macdonald, the anti-187 spokesman. "We need a lot more money raised to pay for television and radio advertising."

Among the most explosive initiatives ever in California, Proposition 187 would require public schools, hospitals and social workers to report people they suspect of being illegal immigrants to law enforcement officials for deportation.

The measure would cut state funds that reach illegal immigrants or their children, and require schools to expel children who cannot prove they are in the country legally.

Although Proposition 187 leads in the polls, the effort backing the initiative, heavy on volunteer help, trails in cash raised, receiving $124,000 in the past three months, and $406,400 for the year. The campaign has a debt of $276,800.

The California Republican Party is the largest monetary supporter of Proposition 187, giving a total of $106,000. Assemblyman Richard Mountjoy (R-Arcadia) has given $43,000.

Three groups have given six-figure donations to defeat the measure: The California Teachers Assn., $321,000; the State Council of Service Employees, $139,000, and Univision, a chain of Spanish language television stations, $100,000.

Foes such as the California Medical Assn., traditionally among the largest campaign donors in the state, are giving little cash to fight it. The reason, said Steven Thompson, chief lobbyist for the medical association, is that Proposition 187 has a substantial lead in polls.

"We thought we'd be involved in substantial costs litigating the measure after the election," Thompson said, noting that opponents hope to have the measure declared invalid by the courts, if it passes at the polls.

Finance reports filed Wednesday and Thursday for other initiatives show millions are being spent to kill an initiative to create a government-run health care system, and to promote a tobacco-sponsored initiative to repeal existing smoking bans.

Campaign finance reports for other measures show:

* Supporters of Proposition 184, the "three strikes" sentencing law, raised $141,000 in the past three months, boosting the total beyond $1 million since the campaign began. Rep. Mike Huffington (R-Santa Barbara), seeking to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has given $350,000 to the effort.

Opponents of "three strikes" raised $13,855.

* Supporters of Proposition 185, which would add a 4-cent gasoline tax to fund rail projects, raised $102,633, pushing the total to $1.102 million. Southern Pacific is the largest donor, at $362,000, plus a loan of $87,000.

The opponents' report was not available at the secretary of state's office Thursday--though the deadline for filing was Wednesday. Past reports show Arco, Chevron, and Union Oil gave a combined $90,500 to defeat it earlier this year.

* Supporters of Proposition 186, to provide lifelong health care to Californians, raised $1 million between July and September, for a total of $1.9 million since last year. The campaign has a debt of $15,000. The California Teachers Assn. gave $301,000 to the Proposition 186 campaign. Other labor unions and senior citizens groups also gave heavily.

Opponents raised $5 million between July and September, and had $1.3 million in cash. Several insurance companies and associations, and hospital corporations gave six-figure donations.

* Proposition 188, the tobacco industry initiative, received $5.3 million between July and September. Largely funded by Philip Morris, the nation's largest cigarette maker, the campaign effort has $1.14 million in cash, and no debt.

Opponents of measure raised $208,000 in the past three months, for a total of $256,000. The American Cancer Society, the American Lung Assn., and the American Heart Assn. have given a combined $111,000.

Times staff writer Gebe Martinez contributed to this article.

* PROP. 187 OPPONENTS: Spanish-language media are fighting the initiative. B1

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