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Donald Knabe's Campaign Funds

February 25, 1996

Re "Dana's Heir Apparent Joins Top Ranks of Fund-Raisers," Feb. 12: Local groups acting in the public interest don't stand a chance to influence decisions of the county Board of Supervisors against their well-heeled donors, as the Friends of Marina del Rey regrettably learned. We appeared at every county and Coastal Commission so-called public hearing for the land use plan for Marina del Rey only to find the skids greased all along the way.

Supervisorial candidate Don Knabe's statement, " . . . I don't know what they expect from me," reeks of deceit and is sickening. They expect exactly what they're getting, the opportunity to rip off the county and the taxpayers behind the scenes.

The court is the only recourse citizen groups have and we are challenging the high-rise development in the Marina that was approved by the Board of Supervisors. Even on this course we find that the financially strapped county has hired an outside, high-priced lobbying law firm to defend the action of the supervisors instead of using county counsel.

Until the public seriously demands campaign finance reform we can expect that it will be business as usual and special favors for the big contributors.

IYLENE WEISS, President

Friends of Marina del Rey

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* The bought-and paid-for nature of California's political system is illustrated most clearly by the ability of Knabe to raise millions on the mere assumption that he is the most likely winner. Big-money donors can't be blamed; anyone not coughing up a donation before an election is likely to not have a receptive ear should the candidate be elected. It's California's non-regulation of campaign financing that must be changed.

Such a change has been qualified for the November ballot. I recommend to your consideration the California Political Reform Act, conceived, circulated and qualified by California Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.

JOHN MARTIN GALLAGHER

Lawndale

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