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Davis Leads Fund-Raising Drive

The governor has collected $2.4 million this month to fight the recall effort; opposition groups have garnered $418,000.

August 27, 2003|Jeffrey L. Rabin and Doug Smith | Times Staff Writers

Labor unions, entertainment industry figures, developers and an array of other interests with a stake in what happens in Sacramento are lining up behind Gov. Gray Davis as he battles the effort to bounce him from office.

Since the recall measure was placed on the ballot, the governor's anti-recall receipts have eclipsed all fund-raising by those supporting his ouster.

Davis' two committees collected more than $2.4 million in contributions of $1,000 or more so far this month, according to reports filed with the secretary of state.

Fund-raising by pro-recall groups has slowed markedly since late July, when the question qualified for the Oct. 7 ballot. Only $418,000 has been reported by pro-recall groups in August.

Davis -- known as a champion fund-raiser -- has been drawing large checks from stalwart supporters, particularly in organized labor, which pumped millions of dollars into his election campaigns.

The Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees have given $250,000 each in recent days.

Labor leaders meeting Tuesday in Manhattan Beach reiterated their opposition to the recall effort, while backing Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante as their choice should Davis lose his job. Dean Tipps, head of the SEIU, which represents 500,000 members in California, explained organized labor's generosity. "Labor spends money," he said. "We want to make sure turnout is not skewed against working people."

The state Building and Construction Trades Council of California has provided $155,619 in August to fight the recall. The union representing California Highway Patrolmen donated $25,000.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which is locked in contract talks with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has sent $20,000 to the Davis committees this month. The governor recently called for a 60-day cooling off period to head off a strike by MTA mechanics.

State law generally limits contributions to gubernatorial candidates to $21,200, but Davis is not a candidate on the recall ballot and is not subject to any caps.

The governor's anti-recall effort this month received $100,000 checks from financier R. Allen Stanford and from his Houston-based Stanford Financial Group.

Norman Pattiz, chairman of broadcaster Westwood One Inc., also sent $100,000.

So did Beverly Hills-based developer Casden Properties. An identical sum came from Robert Gumbiner of Long Beach, a collector of Latin American art and the founder of the health maintenance organization FHP International Corp.

Two companies with large timber holdings in California, Sierra Pacific Industries of Redding and Simpson Investments of Seattle, each gave $25,000 to Davis' anti-recall effort this month. Both companies supported Republican Dan Lungren for governor in 1998 but switched sides once Democrat Davis was elected.

The anti-recall effort received $25,000 from the Newport Beach law firm of Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson, which represented Davis in a major lawsuit against the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

In addition to seeking donations to his anti-recall committees, Californians Against the Costly Recall of the Governor and Taxpayers Against the Governor's Recall, Davis has been raising money for his old reelection committee.

"A lot of donors who donated to the governor in the past are accustomed to giving to the Gray Davis Committee," said campaign spokesman Gabriel Sanchez. "The limits do not apply" to those gifts.

During August, the Gov. Gray Davis Committee received $100,000 from the state's second-largest workers' compensation carrier, Zenith Insurance of Woodland Hills. The committee collected the same amount from the Sacramento development firm of Angelo Tsakopoulos, a longtime donor to Democrats.

Entertainment mogul Haim Saban and Hollywood producer Steven Bing both gave $100,000 to the governor earlier this year.

Supporters of the recall have their own committees, which are not subject to contribution limits. Two Orange County businessmen -- Newport Beach home-builder William Lyon and Paul Folino, chief executive of Costa Mesa-based Emulex, a supplier of computer network equipment -- have given nearly $200,000 to the Total Recall Committee established by GOP gubernatorial contender Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Folino donated almost $100,000 to that committee. No donations from Schwarzenegger to the committee have been reported to the state.

Folino said he contributed the maximum $21,200 to Schwarzenegger's campaign for governor and wanted to do more toward the recall effort.

"I felt strongly enough about my support for Arnold that I wanted

The recall committee Rescue California received $50,000 this month from Schwarzenegger, who is also raising money separately for his gubernatorial effort.

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