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SECESSION BILLFOLDS PAPER-THIN.

Byline: Harrison Sheppard Staff Writer

As Mayor James Hahn launched his television campaign Tuesday to defeat secession, campaign finance reports released by pro-secessionists showed just how deep the money divide is between the two sides.

The reports showed a San Fernando Valley Independence Committee that is vastly outgunned, raising only $547,000 to Hahn's $4.8 million.

But it was the size of the individual contributions that showed the greatest difference.

Hahn's committee received donations of $100,000 or more from a dozen people or companies, totaling $1.9 million. In fact, Hahn could have relied on those dozen entities alone and outraised not only the Valley committee but likely all 121 Valley candidates for city council and mayor.

By contrast, the top dozen contributions to support Valley secession totaled only $321,000, with only a single contributor, longtime secession backer David W. Fleming, giving at the six-figure mark with a $100,000 donation.

In addition to Hahn's funds, separate committees headed by elected city officials and others raised more than $430,000 to fight secession.

But the independent committees formed to support the secession cause have raised only about $11,000 - although the individual candidates for Valley offices have raised more than $500,000 for their own campaigns.

The additional campaign finance information was released as Hahn took the offensive over the airwaves Tuesday, launching ads on broadcast and cable television. Hahn has already committed $1 million to a television advertising blitz and has an additional $3.3 million in cash on hand that he is expected to use on more TV and radio ads, mailings and other outreach.

The first TV ad, a 15-second spot, uses gambling images to depict the risk that opponents claim secession represents. The ad shows disembodied hands playing roulette and craps, while a male voiceover states: ``Secession - it's a risk that's not worth taking. Secession is a roll of the dice that can mean disaster relief won't be there when you need it. Secession - don't take a chance. Vote no on F and H. It's too big a gamble.''

Hahn consultant Kam Kuwata declined to say how many stations the ad aired on, citing strategic reasons, but said it was on broadcast and cable. He said he is continuing to take the other side seriously despite the enormous gap in fund raising.

``Until they cry uncle and throw in the towel, don't you have to take them seriously?'' Kuwata said. ``They keep talking about how they're going to turn this around, and I have to take an opponent seriously until Election Day.''

The pro-secession side began airing television ads earlier this week - but on a much more limited basis on cable television in the Valley - and has very few funds left to run a substantial campaign. Of the $547,000 raised so far this year, $426,000 has already been spent.

Richard Katz, chairman of the Valley Independence Committee, said he hopes the secession campaign will still be competitive, despite the funding shortfall, by relying on volunteers and the candidates. Secessionists had once predicted they would raise at least $4 million, but now it is clear they will not approach that mark.

``We're expecting to raise several hundred thousand dollars more between now and the end of the campaign,'' Katz said. ``We've said all along we will be able to run a campaign we believe will be competitive from our perspective. We will heavily rely on volunteers and the other candidates out there also. The combination of all those factors we believe will be productive for us.''

Hollywood secessionists, despite representing a much smaller area, have pulled ahead of the Valley in fund raising because of contributions from Hollywood Independence Committee head and council candidate Gene LaPietra. He has contributed more than $500,000 to the Hollywood effort and has committed to spending at least $700,000 more, according to campaign manager Geoffrey Garfield.

That makes LaPietra the single biggest contributor in the race on either side. But after LaPietra, the big spenders are all on Hahn's side.

Including the money raised by Hollywood secessionists, as well as Valley and Hollywood candidates, secessionists have a combined $1.8 million.

Additionally, the secession effort has just opened a citywide front. Valley attorney Bob Scott has formed a group called The Alliance for a New L.A., which raised $10,000 from a single contribution by Valley developer Sanford Paris.

Scott said the Alliance, which has rented an office in Westchester, includes secession supporters from San Pedro, Westchester and Hollywood, as well as Valley activists such as the Rev. Zedar Broadous, head of the Valley branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and former Economic Alliance Chairman Bill Allen.

``We're basically going to be delivering a citywide message, providing resources and information to people around the city about the implications of cityhood and reorganization,'' Scott said. `

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TOP VALLEY SECESSION DONORS

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Oct 9, 2002
Words:826
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