Saying that he wants to improve the city he has served for more than 30 years, Los Angeles City Councilman Marvin Braude vowed Tuesday to donate $426,000 from his salary over the next five years to fund improvement projects in his San Fernando Valley and Westside district.
The donations, however, are predicated on Braude being reelected for another term next year, when he faces a strong challenge from his former chief of staff, Cynthia Miscikowski, and former mayoral aide Georgia Mercer, among others.
Still, Braude, who says he can afford to give away part of his salary because of an extensive personal financial portfolio, shrugged off suggestions that the donation was a campaign gimmick.
"I think I would do the same thing with or without an election," he said.
Miscikowski is not so sure. She said that if altruistic sentiments were truly behind the donation, Braude would have given up his salary much earlier in his career.
"Clearly, I think it's a transparent political gimmick," she said.
Braude's donation will come gradually, starting with a $23,000 contribution this year to benefit Valley and Westside police divisions, to pay for new trees in the Sepulveda Basin and other projects.
By 2000, Braude plans to donate his entire $100,000 salary plus an additional $30,000.