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Westside Watch

Harman Hopes to Cash In on Her Fund-Raising Edge

October 27, 1994

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Rolling Hills) still has a hefty war chest with less than two weeks left in the campaign for reelection in the 36th Congressional District, which includes Venice, Marina del Rey, Westchester and Playa del Rey.

Harman has $365,234 in cash compared with Republican challenger Susan Brooks' $68,065, according to the latest campaign statements, which cover Oct. 1 to Oct. 19. In that period, Harman spent $206,358 to Brooks' $54,943. A large portion of what Harman has left is expected to go toward TV advertising.

And both campaigns stepped up their fund-raising efforts. Harman raised $101,920 and Brooks, a Rancho Palos Verdes council member, collected $52,835.

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BABBITT AT BALLONA: Yet another Friend of Jane came to stump for her last week: Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

As skaters whizzed by in Venice, he praised Harman's environmental record and her persistence at lobbying him about the Ballona Wetlands, set to be restored as part of the Playa Vista development project.

"Ballona Wetlands is something she's been after me (about) for some time," he said after a speech at the Fig Tree Cafe.

Later in the morning, he joined Harman at the wetlands and pledged to speed up the Ballona restoration project, promising to set up a system of parallel processing of government permits.

Babbitt is the highest-ranking Clinton administration official to campaign for Harman. He predicted that the anti-Clinton tide will recede come Election Day.

"I think the Saturday night tear-on-the-town against the political system is giving rise to kind of a more reflective Sunday morning," he said. "People are saying, 'Wait a minute, it's the only system we have.' "

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SIGN WARS: You would expect a race for high school student body president to have its juvenile moments. But congressional politics is supposed to be highbrow, right?

Don't believe it.

Witness, the behavior this week at the Cal Lutheran University debate between Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Woodland Hills) and his GOP challenger, Richard Sybert. The pair are competing in a tough race for the 24th Congressional District, which includes Malibu.

Sybert enthusiasts fired the first shots by taping signs advertising their champion in a neat row across the rear wall of the CLU auditorium, where numerous other candidates in local races had set up booths of their own.

When late-arriving Beilenson supporters saw the Sybert signs, they began slapping up their own signs on the same wall but in a space not claimed by Sybert's placards.

But the Beilenson people failed to see that debate sponsors had put up a sign nearby saying that the rear of the auditorium was reserved for "special interest groups" to set up informational booths.

By plastering the congressman's posters just above the "special interest groups" sign, Beilenson-ites created the impression there was an alliance between their campaign and special interests. The irony: Beilenson prides himself on not taking special interest money.

Realizing their mistake, the sheepish Beilenson team moved their signs beneath the existing row of head-high Sybert signs. "We're on top," a youthful Sybert partisan exulted. More glares and flushed faces.

Finally, a debate organizer pronounced the rear wall area off-limits to all candidate signs. Within minutes, the partisans had dutifully pulled down their respective signs and scattered like so many chastised children.

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