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Greuel Outpaces Cardenas in Bid for Donations

Politics: DreamWorks executive has a sizable edge over the assemblyman in the contest for the 2nd District council seat.


Despite tapping deep-pockets backers he knows from Sacramento, Assemblyman Tony Cardenas trails DreamWorks SKG executive Wendy Greuel in fund-raising in the contest for the 2nd District seat on the Los Angeles City Council, according to papers filed Thursday.

The contest is shaping up to be one that might be billed as Hollywood versus Sacramento, with Greuel receiving significant financial help from the entertainment industry and Cardenas (D-Panorama City) enjoying support from interests in Sacramento.

For the period ending Oct. 27, Greuel reported raising $206,000 in contributions and receiving $79,000 in city matching funds. Her contributors come from her two decades of government and private sector work in Los Angeles, going back to Greuel's service as an aide to Mayor Tom Bradley.

With nearly six weeks to go before the Dec. 11 special election, Greuel's total of $285,000 raised puts her close to the $330,000 limit on expenditures in the race for candidates who accept matching funds.

Cardenas reported raising $168,000 in contributions and $35,000 in city matching funds for a total of $203,000. He predicted that he would hit the $330,000 limit at the same time Greuel does, adding that he did not spend as much time fund-raising in recent months because he was busy as chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee in Sacramento.

"It's not bad for a month's worth of fund-raising," he said of his total.

A third candidate, Van Nuys businessman James Cordaro, raised less than $10,000, including a $4,000 loan he made to his campaign.

The candidates are competing to fill an east San Fernando Valley seat vacated Oct. 1 when longtime Councilman Joel Wachs quit to head an arts foundation in New York City.

Both Greuel and Cardenas had big help in fund-raising.

Big Money From Hollywood's Big Names

Entertainment moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, the founders of DreamWorks, hosted a fund-raiser for Greuel earlier this month at Universal Studios that brought in $50,000. The three executives were among 25 DreamWorks employees who contributed to Greuel.

In all, Greuel received more than 100 contributions from entertainment industry people and businesses, including Paramount Pictures Group, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros.' political action committee, MGM and UA Service Co., the Motion Picture Assn. of America's local PAC, association President Jack Valenti, the Recording Industry Assn. PAC and the Fox Group.

Contributors also included Ron Mayer, president of Universal Studios; Edgar Bronfman, executive of Vivendi Universal; director/producer Rob Reiner; and singer Barbra Streisand.

"People with the entertainment industry who believe in public service have stepped up to the plate to help me," Greuel said. "The entertainment industry is an economic engine for the Valley and the city."

She also received contributions from people she met in her days as an aide to Bradley and as an official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Those who gave to her include former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. She also received support from Valley civic leaders including City Controller Laura Chick, school board member Marlene Canter and Police Commissioner Bert Boeckmann.

The campaign disclosure report also shows many contributions from teachers, attorneys, housing activists and others not in the limelight.

"I believe it demonstrates the real essence of my campaign, the diverse community support from people all over the city," Greuel said, charging that Cardenas is more reliant on special interests for his campaign.

He disputed the claim, saying many average citizens who have not contributed to campaigns before gave to his committee. Only one of his fund-raisers was held in Sacramento, he said.

"I have been an independent assemblyman, and I will be an independent city councilman," he said.

Council President Backing Lawmaker

In addition to tapping his own Sacramento contacts--more than 30 of his contributors come from the Sacramento area, including state legislators, the California Cable Television Assn. and the California Trucking Assn.--Cardenas has benefited from fund-raising help from Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, who has aggressively sought donations from City Hall interests.

Cardenas also received contributions from Indian gaming interests, including the San Manuel Tribal Administration, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians.

Local contributors included Anheuser Busch Cos. in Van Nuys, Bell Cab and City Hall lobbyist Maureen Kindel.

Greuel said she is watching closely to see how Cardenas spends funds from a committee set up for his aborted run for secretary of state.

Since he announced July 27 that he was abandoning the statewide race to run for the council, his secretary of state committee has spent more than $160,000 on fund-raising, donations to civic groups, polling, surveys and campaign consultants. A spokesman said all the polling and consulting payments were settling bills for services rendered before he ended the campaign.

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