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$160,000 Raised for Hollywood City Campaign


Hollywood secession leaders said Tuesday that they raised nearly $160,000 at their first fund-raising meeting, mostly from within their own ranks.

Some of the money has been pledged and not yet received, they said.

Still, their announcement was the first sign of a significant cash infusion to the secession campaigns in Hollywood or the San Fernando Valley.

Mayor James K. Hahn, who has vowed to raise $5 million to fight secession, raised $200,000 in a single dinner last month.

Gene La Pietra, president and founder of Hollywood VOTE, anted up $70,000 after agreeing to match other contributions. The millionaire nightclub owner, who wants to be mayor of an independent Hollywood, said he already has contributed well over $500,000 to the secession effort.

Most of the other donations to the recently formed Hollywood Independence Committee came from Hollywood VOTE board members.

Ferris Wehbe, a board member and former president of Hollywood VOTE who owns a private school, contributed $23,000. Ed Dilkes, another board member and the city manager of Bradbury, gave $20,000, as did board member Jeff Luster, a commercial real estate developer.

"It was incredible," Wehbe said. "It was the best meeting we've ever had. People really dug deep into their pockets and gave."

Other donors include board members Jim Meinel and Leo Sorzano, who each gave $5,000, and board members Jeff Zarrinnam and Doug Clary , who each gave $2,500.

Sharon Jimenez, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood secession campaign, gave $3,000.

The secession group Valley VOTE has declined to release fund-raising information.

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