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Political Briefing

Mercer, Miscikowski Mail Makes Much of Gated Community-Gate

May 23, 1997|NANCY HILL-HOLTZMAN and TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and HUGO MARTIN | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

With their few joint appearances behind them, candidates vying to represent the 11th City Council District have, for the most part, disappeared from public view this week as they wage their campaigns through the mail and door-to-door.

Fund-raising was also a high priority as both Tarzana resident Georgia Mercer and Brentwood resident Cindy Miscikowksi held major events this week.

Mercer's Monday night fund-raiser in Bel-Air was hosted by the mayor's significant other, Nancy Daly, while Miscikowski's event was Thursday at a San Fernando Valley hotel.

And no, Mayor Richard Riordan, Mercer's former boss, did not attend the event at Daly's house. He's staying neutral in the race.

Campaign fund-raising reports are due today. Miscikowski's consultant, Rick Taylor, said their report, which was not available Thursday, would show $123,011 raised between the April 8 primary and the cutoff date last weekend. That sum includes matching funds from the city. Miscikowski will report $75,227 in the bank for the final push, Taylor said.

The runoff election is June 3.

Mercer's report showed $170,792, including matching funds raised, with $84,574 in the bank.

Crossing in the mail this week were mailers from each campaign with their spin on the ongoing issue of Miscikowski's unique gated community and what it means.

Miscikowski's mailer defended the gates as an example of empowering a community to get what it needed from City Hall. She says she played no role in getting special favors for herself and her neighbors.

The City Council voted to deed public streets to the neighbors and allow them to gate their community as a preemptive strike against traffic from the as-yet-unopened Getty Museum.

A Mercer mailer to Valley voters this week attacked the gates again. It features an Encino woman who said she tried to get gates in her own neighborhood, but Miscikowski allegedly told her the council would never go for it.

Consultants for both campaigns report that things look good for their clients.

Mercer is not taking her 900-vote primary lead for granted, and Miscikowski has gotten more aggressive in attacking the front-runner.

But it was a remark in another Mercer mailer that had Taylor up in arms and on the phone to his lawyer Thursday.

The piece, signed by former Police Protective League President Danny Staggs, "alerted" voters that Miscikowski's consultant, who was not identified, had lied two years ago about Councilman Mike Feuer.

"It's a sign of desperation," said Taylor, who is threatening to sue Mercer, Staggs and Mercer consultant Larry Levine.

Levine's response: "Well, that's just Rick at the end of a campaign."

MTA Backlash

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's recent broadside against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on the television show "Life & Times" has elicited some harsh dissenting responses during the past week.

Yaroslavsky appeared on the show to accuse the MTA of suffering a "total breakdown in discipline [and a] total breakdown in management." Later, he called the agency "too corrupt" and said it would be his "pleasure" to lead a fight to repeal the sales taxes that helped fund the MTA if the agency "didn't clean up their act."

Finally, Yaroslavsky cast aspersions on fellow MTA board members Richard Alatorre (an L.A. City Council member) and John Fasana (a City Council member from Duarte), as well as state Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles).

In response, Polanco penned a letter to the show, pointing out that Yaroslavsky is himself a member of the MTA board--which oversees the agency he criticized as "too corrupt."

"Throughout the interview, Mr. Yaroslavsky talked about the MTA as if he had no responsibility for its failings," Polanco wrote. "He distanced himself from the scandals as if he has no role. . . . Mr. Yaroslavsky is a member of the MTA board. The issues referenced during the 'Life & Times' interview have taken place on Mr. Yaroslavsky's watch."

Yaroslavsky's "performance . . . was that of a cornered political animal," according to Polanco.

Further, Polanco's letter stated that "inexplicably, over several months Mr. Yaroslavsky has established a pattern of making irresponsible allegations against Latino lawmakers. In February, he accused Congress members Lucille Roybal-Allard, Xavier Becerra and Esteban Torres of 'blackmail' when they advocated more funding for rail in transit dependent communities in the San Gabriel Valley. In March, he accused Supervisor [Gloria] Molina, Assembly members [Antonio] Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles), [Martin] Gallegos (D-Irwindale) and [Martha] Escutia (D-Huntington Park); and Senators [Charles] Calderon (D-Montebello), [Hilda] Solis (D-El Monte) and myself of 'blackmail' when we advocated that the new County-USC hospital have sufficient beds to adequately serve the community."

Yaroslavsky's camp declined to comment on the controversy he sparked.

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