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Big Sums Raised in Council Races

Financial disclosures show Parks, Cardenas and LaBonge have big funding edges. Law firm's contributions questioned in 12th.

January 24, 2003|Patrick McGreevy and Tina Daunt | Times Staff Writers

Several Los Angeles City Council races have generated large sums of money, as well as some controversy, according to new disclosure reports filed Thursday.

Campaign finance reports indicate that former Police Chief Bernard C. Parks, former Assemblyman Tony Cardenas and Councilman Tom LaBonge continue to hold huge fund-raising leads over opponents in the 8th, 6th and 4th districts, respectively.

The election will be March 4.

In the 14th Council District, former Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa still lags in fundraising behind incumbent Councilman Nick Pacheco. Villaraigosa had raised $247,000 in contributions and city matching funds as of Jan. 18, compared with $454,000 taken in by Pacheco.

In the 10th District, council aide Deron E. Williams held the lead, having raised $254,000 in contributions and matching funds, compared with $225,000 by Martin Ludlow. Other candidates in the race raised smaller amounts.

Citywide, Parks continues to be the fund-raising leader, having taken in a total of $398,000, without any matching funds.

Greig Smith, an aide to Councilman Hal Bernson, continued to hold a fund-raising lead over the six other candidates in the 12th District race. However, Smith came under attack Thursday from one opponent, former Assemblywoman Paula Boland, for accepting contributions from a law firm that is registered as a lobbyist for the operator of Sunshine Canyon Landfill.

Smith reported Thursday that he had raised $283,000 in contributions and matching funds as of Jan. 18, compared with $44,000 by Boland and $109,000 by businessman Robert Vinson.

While Smith and Boland have both come out against expansion of the controversial landfill, Smith criticized Boland for accepting contributions from landfill operator Browning Ferris Industries several years ago when she ran for state senate.

On Thursday, Boland raised questions about Smith's having taken $1,500 in contributions from the law firm of Weston, Benshoof, Rochefort and two of the firm's partners, when the company is registered as a lobbyist for BFI.

"It certainly should raise questions with those who live up there near the landfill and those who think it is as awful as I do," Boland said.

Smith's campaign denied there is a conflict, saying that the law firm provides legal representation for BFI, not as its lobbyist with City Council members, and that the firm has many other clients, including the owners of Staples Center.

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