Hahn Leads Rivals in Cash Contest

*The mayor reports $2.4 million on hand in the last quarter of 2004. Hertzberg and Villaraigosa trail the incumbent by $800,000.

By Jeffrey L. Rabin and Patrick McGreevy, Times Staff Writers

As the Los Angeles mayor's race intensifies, incumbent James K. Hahn is in a commanding financial position, with $2.4 million available to pay for his reelection campaign, far more than his two best-financed challengers, Bob Hertzberg and Antonio Villaraigosa.

Hahn had $800,000 more cash than either Hertzberg or Villaraigosa, according to campaign contribution reports for the last three months of 2004, filed Monday with the city Ethics Commission.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks and state Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Sun Valley) trailed the others by a wide margin.

Parks, whose campaign recently lost its most seasoned advisors amid fundraising difficulties, reported having $459,296 available at the end of December. Alarcon had $417,446.

The campaign finance reports provide an important indicator of whether the candidates can mount a viable television advertising campaign in the eight weeks leading up to the March 8 election. Advertising in Los Angeles costs about $300,000 per week.

Raphael Sonenshein, a Cal State Fullerton political scientist, said the race has split into two tiers, with Hahn, Hertzberg and Villaraigosa vying for the two slots in a likely May runoff.

"The fundraising is pretty much fulfilling the expectations," he said, noting that many political observers had expected them to be able to raise the most money. Hertzberg and Villaraigosa are both former Assembly speakers and accomplished fundraisers.

Parks and Alarcon, Sonenshein said, will still be able to influence the election results, but lack the resources to reach voters citywide.

Bill Wardlaw, Hahn's campaign chairman, said that none of the other candidates would now be able to catch the mayor. "No one will have the resources that we have," he said.

But Hertzberg campaign consultant John Shallman dismissed that claim. "The fundraising gap is going to be much closer as we get down to the final days before the primary," he said.

Ace Smith, Villaraigosa's campaign consultant, expressed confidence that his candidate's fundraising pace, which surpassed both Hahn's and Hertzberg's during the last three months of 2004, will continue. In that period, Villaraigosa raised $658, 023 while Hertzberg raised $473,165 and Hahn $472,283.

"I believe no amount of money will be enough for Hahn to buy his way out of the corruption mess he's in," Smith said, referring to the local and federal probes into possible links between city contracting and campaign contributions.

Although other factors contribute to how candidates fare, money is a major one. In the April 2001 election, Villaraigosa and Hahn were among the top fundraisers. Both advanced to a June runoff.

The current mayoral candidates were able to accept contributions of more than the $1,000 limit because Parks and Walter Moore, a Westchester attorney who is also running, made large loans to their campaigns. That allowed the other candidates to collect donations up to $7,000 per person.

Hahn's major contributors included philanthropist and activist Pam Mullin, who gave $7,000. She has been president of the Los Angeles Police Foundation and a director of the Los Angeles Library Foundation.

Thomas Girardi, an attorney, gave $5,000, as did Erika Girardi, an actress. David Lira, another attorney at the firm Girardi and Keese, gave $6,000, as did his wife, Jaquelyn.

Hahn also received $5,000 each from Abdul Jinnah, chairman of All American Distributing, and Maherunissa Jinnah, manager of Beverly Cellular. Both are from Northridge.

Hope Warschaw, a philanthropist and Democratic political strategist, gave $5,000, and San Fernando Valley car dealer and former city police commissioner Bert Boeckmann gave $3,500.

John Emerson, an investment banker and aide to President Clinton and onetime chief of staff for Hahn, gave $2,000.

Villaraigosa, a councilman who represents the Eastside, received $7,000 each from developer C. Richard Jones and his wife, Elaine. He collected $6,500 from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, whose co-owner, Peter Zen, is a former Hahn supporter and commissioner. Zen opposes the city's plan to subsidize a convention center hotel.

Villaraigosa received $6,000 each from real estate developer Aner Iglesias, Maywood Club Tow and Culver City architect Alejandro Ortiz.

Ramin Delijani of the Delson Investment Co. in Beverly Hills contributed $5,500 to Villaraigosa. Contributing $5,000 each were the campaign committee of Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez and Eugene LaPietra, the Hollywood nightclub owner who helped bankroll the unsuccessful Hollywood secession campaign in 2002.

Hertzberg, a Sherman Oaks attorney, received $6,000 from real estate businessman Jeffrey Burum of Temple City and New York investor Norman Hsu of Components Limited. Hertzberg also received $5,000 from real estate developer Geoff Palmer, whose firm allegedly lacked a permit when it tore down the Giese House, the last 19th century house on Bunker Hill.

He also collected $5,000 from Michael Chang of Main Wholesale Mart, who supported Hahn in 2001; Michael Agron, a physician from Arcadia; and Stanley Zimmerman of Home Budget Loans, a mortgage lender in Los Angeles.

Hertzberg collected $2,500 from Gary Winnick, the former chairman of Global Crossing. Victor Sampson, a former Hahn appointee to the city Police Permit Review Panel, gave $2,450.

Alarcon, who is chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, received $7,000 checks from the California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery PAC and from the Utility Workers Union of America, which represents employees of Southern California Gas Co.

The lawmaker received $6,000 from Mother's Nutritional Center of South Gate; $4,500 from Agoura Hills restaurateur Alfredo Gonzalez; $3,700 from the Cargo PAC of California; and $3,500 each from the California Trucking Assn. Truck Unit PAC and state Sen. Martha Escutia's campaign committee.

In the 11th Council District race, the only council contest without an incumbent on the ballot, two of the three candidates reported reaching the maximum $330,000 in contributions and matching funds they are allowed to spend.

Bill Rosendahl, a university professor and journalist, and Flora Gil Krisiloff, a former planning commissioner, both raised the maximum. The third candidate, attorney and city commissioner Angela J. Reddock, reported raising $44,000.

The incumbent, Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, is barred by term limits from running again.

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