Cuomo's Due inTown to Pick Up a Pot Full of Pledges

Times Staff Writer

Money might be tight for some Democrats, but New York Gov. Mario Cuomo is set to pick up pledges of $500,000 in Beverly Hills on Sunday.

The intimate and unannounced reception hosted by Mark Nathanson at his home will include such heavy hitters as Max Palevsky, TV producer Aaron Spelling ("Dynasty" and "Love Boat"), attorneys Frank Rothman and Greg Bautzer, investor Charles W. Knapp and Jody Evans, the long-time fund-raiser for former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. The commitment by those attending, Nathanson said, will be to give or raise at least $25,000 each over the next two years.

Speaking Engagements

Cuomo, whose keynote speech electrified the Democratic National Convention last summer, is constantly mentioned as presidential material. He is in California for two speeches over the weekend--graduation at Stanford University on Sunday morning and a dinner the preceding night, benefiting the George Moscone scholarship fund at Hastings Law School.

Orchestrating his visit are Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi--supported by Cuomo in her losing bid for Democratic national chairman--and Nathanson, a senior v.p. at Spelling Productions and a consultant on investments for people in the entertainment industry.

Even on the lucrative Westside, it is extraordinary to pick up $500,000 in pledges at a reception for 20 people--especially if the event has been kept unpublicized.

The event has become interesting in other ways. It was unclear at first if the reception that Pelosi described in a phone interview Wednesday night was the same meeting that Nathanson was hosting. She said that the reception here was a "little meeting" and that nothing political was coming out of Cuomo's trip to the state. On the other hand, Nathanson was clear that those coming were pledging monetary support and wanted to get in early on a possible presidential candidacy. When queried about Nathanson's statement, Pelosi then said that those coming would "commit to give or raise a floor of $25,000 a head over the next two years."

'Looking Beyond New York'

Pelosi said that Cuomo "has me convinced that he is not a candidate for President." Nathanson, on the other hand, said that people were "looking beyond New York." He said he had been swamped with calls for his reception, "126 calls, aside from the people I have asked." He has kept the event small, but he added, "Hopefully, we'll let a few more people come. They can't wait to give money."

But this is a surprise to Martin Steadman, Cuomo's press secretary. "My people in the governor's office told me that they made clear to Nancy Pelosi that it was not to be a campaign fund-raising trip. The governor said he would be glad to meet with people, but he was not soliciting funds."

Pelosi had offered no reason as to why commitments were for money given or raised over a two-year-period--even though the gubernatorial election in New York will be held in November, 1986. That's just 17 months from now. When asked why such support was coming for someone she insisted only wanted to be governor of New York--support especially crucial to home state Sen. Alan Cranston--Pelosi answered "with major contributors, it's a donor's-choice world. We are not asking anybody to abandon our local responsibilities."

Frequently in two interviews Pelosi used the term we, which, when asked, she explained meant the Speaker and herself. She, her husband Paul and Brown are hosting a small reception before the Moscone dinner. No money commitments are necessary to attend that reception, she said, but "I will be helping him (Cuomo) raise some money in Northern California for sure."

Movie producer Irwin Winkler will host a non-fund-raising dinner for Cuomo before he takes the red-eye flight back to New York on Sunday night.

Pelosi insisted that the governor was not particularly interested in returning to California. Nathanson, however, said that a fund-raising event for Cuomo would be held in the next several months at the home of Westside socialite Sandra Moss.

Nathanson said he was not sure how the checks would be made out.

And let's remember, if money were contributed for a presidential campaign, each donor would be limited by federal law to $1,000--but there is no limit as to how much money rainmakers, like the heavy hitters coming to this reception, could help shower down on a candidate by raising $1,000 each from a lot of friends and fulfilling early pledges. And, if past presidential history is a guide, a lot of early support can go to an "exploratory political action committee," and the federal contribution limit on pacs is $5,000.

KUDOS--Next Thursday, the Motion Picture and Television Fund honors with its Silver Medallion Award of Honor Edie Wasserman and Howard W. Koch at a benefit luncheon at Chasen's. In a quick phone conversation, Wasserman was clear about the importance of the current $50-million fund-raising effort. "We take care of our own, which is our creed anyhow." And, despite people's misconceptions, the "our own" means many, many industry types besides actors residing at the Motion Picture and Television Country Home and Hospital in Calabasas. More than 80% of the residents are non-actors, she said--studio grips, wardrobe women, technicians. Now there is a 300-person waiting list to get into the residences--the lodge, the hospital, the cottages. The fund also takes care of its own financially--as in the last strike when more than $2 million was spent for people's rent, food, necessities. The annual fund budget--$20 million. And for working hard this last decade to help raise that money, Wasserman and Koch get their recognition.

POLI SIGH--Sen. Alan Cranston picked up $140,000 Wednesday night at the Georgetown home of Averill and Pamela Harriman. The home sits exactly 100 for dinner, so some 40 who paid $1,000 each did not eat. Darry Sragow, Cranston's campaign manager, said the debt for Cranston's presidential campaign--separate from his fund-raising efforts for his Senate reelection--will probably be settled for $300,000 in cash. . . . It's not clear if the latest D.C. political-junkie teapot tempest will affect the Cranston or the Rose Elizabeth Bird campaign. D.C.'s buzzing about the shake-up in Cambridge Associates, the polling company of Patrick Caddell. Caddell had formed a new company this spring with organization-man David Doak and speech writer Robert Shrum. He turned Cambridge over to Paul Maslim. Maslim--a key figure with Caddell for many years--resigned Wednesday and is expected to announce a new polling firm within a few days. Some in-know sources say he will join pollster Harrison Hickman. Cambridge has been doing early polling for both Cranston and Bird. What is clear, according to Cranston aide Sragow, is that the new firm of Caddell, Doak and Shrum would provide "a broad range of consulting services to the campaign," including directing production of media.

SAFE BEACHES--When author Iris Rainer Dart attended a book party for her novel "Beaches" in Beverly Hills last week, she played it safe. Dart, the wife of Stephen Dart, is pregnant and due any day, so she had her ob/gyn Dr. Fred Pasternak on hand just in case. Also at the party was Bette Midler. (She'll play one of the central roles in the film to be made by Disney that chronicles a 30-year friendship between two women.)

OK--Until they got very close to the electronic traffic sign, northbound drivers on the Hollywood Freeway at dusk Wednesday read this message: "THIS IS A TES . . . "

BRIDAL NOTES--Friends say that attorney Frank Rothman and U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer will tie the knot shortly. . . . Dyan Cannon, just back from her European honeymoon with Stan Fimberg, will host the opening of a show by artist Artis Lane at the Hill Youngblood Gallery onThursday. The show's theme is women--and it includes some interesting renderings of the lady of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty. Lane is a hot artist in L.A.'s entertainment community, and has done portraits of Cannon, her daughter Jennifer Grant, her ex-husband Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and a bust of Irene Dunne for St. John's Hospital.

PAPA PERIOD--If he was out, Ernest Hemingway is certainly back in. The finally published, heavily edited book by Hemingway, "The Dangerous Summer," is out this week. And two Hemingway-connected film crews will shoot at the running of the bulls at Pamploma in early July. One will be shooting for the Hemingway miniseries to be shown next year, starring Treat Williams. And one is for the latest in the PBS documentary series put together by Robert Squier, whose "Melville" was shown last month. Upcoming in the series that began with "Faulkner" is the documentary on F. Scott Fitzgerald. And Squier said lots of his political cronies--he is a political-media maven--want to take a leave and sign on for that one.

LAKERMANIA--When The American Diabetes Assn. got approached by a sports marketing company with an offer to help them raise money by selling "Celtic Busters" T-shirts, nobody knew how the idea would take off. So far, 10,000 of the shirts have been sold--with $6 of the $10 cost going to the ADA. And a new shirt will be out soon, Celtic Busters for sure, but with the added line that the Lakers are the 1985 World Champs.

UPCOMING--The Fourth Annual Ronald Reagan Dinner will be held by the Citizens for the Republic, the national political action committee founded by President Reagan, at the Century Plaza next Friday night. The PAC is "dedicated to the election of pro-Reagan Republicans" to Congress. The $250-a-head audience will hear Donald T. Regan, chief of staff to the President. . . . Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird will speak Saturday at the annual "Let's Get Together" lunch of the Women's Political Committee at 385 North.

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