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Another Bradley Fund-Raising Group Formed

Times Staff Writer

While planning unprecedented hoopla for his inauguration as mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley has quietly formed a new fund-raising committee that is designed to further his political career.

Bradley, a Democrat who is to be sworn in for his fourth term Monday, is considering another run for governor. He lost to Republican George Deukmejian in 1982.

Earlier this month Bradley formed a committee called BRAD PAC, created, according to its registration papers, “to further the political career of Tom Bradley and support candidates, ballot measures and/or referendums compatible with the political philosophy of Tom Bradley.”

The committee, the 67-year-old mayor said Wednesday, is a mechanism that will make it “very helpful to help determine the reaction of people, their level of support.”

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Bradley said Wednesday that he is still “exploring the question” of whether he should run for statewide office or national office.

During his mayoral reelection campaign this spring, Bradley repeatedly asserted that he was not planning to run for governor.

Some of those closest to him, however, do not take the denials seriously.

“I have to assume he’s going to run for governor,” said one longtime Bradley associate. “He’s taking all the preliminary steps one would take.”

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The inaugural celebrations, far more elaborate than in past years, will include a formal ball Saturday night and culminate in a City Hall lawn party expected to attract hundreds next week.

Plans for the high-profile festivities have further fueled the “is he or isn’t he running” questions around City Hall, in much the same way that political observers wondered aloud in 1981 before Bradley announced his decision to run for governor.

Bradley already has an approximate surplus of $453,400 from his successful reelection campaign and is expected to add to that at Saturday’s $250-per-person black-tie inauguration ball, to be held at the Crocker Center Atrium downtown. In a departure from the more typical hotel fund-raising dinner, the catered affair will include an orchestra and dancing.

On Monday, Bradley will begin his inaugural activities at Van Nuys Civic Center Mall, joined by some City Council members and other supporters from the San Fernando Valley. Bradley will be formally sworn in for his fourth and what most believe will be his last mayoral term at noon on the 1st Street steps of City Hall in a public ceremony. After the ceremony, he will go to San Pedro for a reception at the Cabrillo Marine Museum.

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“We’re going all out this time,” said Bradley press deputy Ali Webb. “He worked hard during the campaign to bring the city together, and he wants everybody to know we’re all one city.”

Invitation-Only Lawn Party

The inauguration parties will culminate Monday evening in a $10-per-person invitation-only party featuring ethnic foods in front of City Hall. The ticket price “should just about cover the cost, and the rest will be handled by the city,” Webb said.

While subordinates have been planning parties, Bradley has been meeting regularly with state Democratic leaders to explore the possibility of another bid for the state’s highest office.

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Bradley’s main political operative, Deputy Mayor Tom Houston, said formation of the new committee is not tantamount to a declaration of candidacy. Houston dismissed the new committee as “an administrative matter, not very significant.”

He said that the committee was formed to avoid any possibility of confusion because of a new city campaign contribution law that takes effect Monday. The new law limits the amount individuals can contribute to city office-seekers.

The law has no effect on officials running for statewide office. So even if Bradley had decided to run for governor, he would not have needed to form a new political action committee to do so, Houston said. However, Bradley and City Hall sources familiar with fund raising and indicated that the setup of the new committee more likely points to the mayor’s desire to put a convenient mechanism in place in case he wants to set up a separate fund for a gubernatorial race.


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