Attorney Terry B. Friedman picked up key endorsements for the Assembly seat being vacated by Gray Davis and Santa Monica Republican David M. Shell abandoned plans to seek a rematch with Assemblyman Tom Hayden as the June 3 primary campaigns on the Westside took shape last week.
More than 50 candidates qualified for 12 county, state and federal posts that are up for grabs this year. Roughly half of the incumbents are unopposed in the primary. Davis, who is leaving his 43rd Assembly District seat to run for state controller, is the only incumbent not seeking reelection.
Davis' district straddles the Westside and affluent parts of the San Fernando Valley. The predominantly Democratic district is one of the Assembly's most prestigious and is known as an excellent fund-raising base.
A Democratic free-for-all was expected in the wake of Davis' decision to run for controller. But several candidates who had considered entering the primary dropped out before Wednesday's filing deadline. They included Steve Saltzman, a former aide to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, Alan Viterbi, a West Hollywood city councilman, and Jack McGrath, a Studio City real estate broker.
Friedman, director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, has been called the front-runner in the 43rd District because he received endorsements from prominent Westside-area politicians, including Reps. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who run their own powerful political organization.
The 36-year-old Friedman, a political novice, has taken a leave of absence from Bet Tzedek, a Fairfax legal services agency that provides free legal advice to the poor, the elderly and the disabled. He said his campaign is "off to a very good start."
"I have worked hard for the last five days and I will continue to work hard for the remainder of the campaign," Friedman said. "It is hard to say at this point how we'll come out . . . but I'm proud of our support."
Friedman's Democratic opponents are Rosemary Woodlock, a Woodland Hills attorney, and Bruce Margolin, a lawyer who is Southern California coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Two candidates qualified for the GOP primary. They are Marc Philip Schuyler, a business executive, and Lou Steeg, who is retired. John Honigsfeld, the Peace and Freedom Party candidate, has no opposition.
The 44th District, which includes Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu, is represented by Hayden, whose Democratic primary opponent is Alex Cota, a businessman who challenged him in 1984.
Hayden said he will run on his "record of achievement" in Sacramento and the district. He refused to speculate on his chances for reelection, but said he would be "as active as I have to be" in the race. Cota called Hayden a "left-wing extremist" who "squandered" $2 million on his first Assembly race.
Rematch Falls Through
A possible rematch between Hayden and Shell, his foe in the 1984 general election, fell through when Shell pulled out of this year's GOP primary. Shell, an attorney, surprised many people when he filed for the race last month without consulting the local Republican party leadership.
In their last race, Shell was hurt by revelations that he had been sentenced to prison on drug charges while serving in the Air Force. He responded with a bitter denunciation of Hayden, whom he called "Mr. Sleaze."
Shell said he wanted to run again, but was forced to drop out because of job obligations. He said he may still work for Hayden's defeat. "I have taken a case that will require that I be out of the county a lot during the next 12 months," Shell said. "But I still think Hayden can be beaten."
Shell has thrown his support to Gloria J. Stout, a Pacific Palisades businesswoman who has been active in Republican Party politics for several years. Stout will face economist William Mundell in the GOP primary.
Other candidates for the seat are Neil Donner, a teacher who is running as a Libertarian, and writer Carol Berman, a Peace and Freedom Party candidate. Assemblyman Burt M. Margolin, who represents the 45th District, is unopposed in the primary. Margolin's district includes the Hollywood and West Hollywood areas.
The two Republican candidates are Gerald Broderson and Jana Olson. Both are in private business. Donald Meyer, a courier, is the Libertarian candidate. Sylvia F. Kushner is the Peace and Freedom nominee.
In the 49th Assembly District, which takes in Culver City, Venice and Marina del Rey, incumbent Gwen Moore has no Democratic primary opposition. Allan L. Feldman, a contractor, and Eric Givens, a commissioner, face off in the GOP primary. The Peace and Freedom Party candidate is Susan M. Gong.
There are three state Senate races on the Westside.
State Sen. Gary K. Hart, whose 18th District includes Malibu and Topanga, has no Democratic opposition. DeWayne Holmdahl, a supervisor, is the lone GOP candidate. J. C. Wood, who is retired, is the Libertarian nominee.
State Sen. Herschel Rosenthal is unopposed in the 22nd District Democratic primary. The area includes Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Beverly Hills. His three challengers also face no primary opposition. They are Republican Daniel Ward Sias, a businessman, Libertarian Joseph A. Russell, an engineer, and Peace and Freedom Party nominee Abby Kirk, a medical transcriber.
In the 28th District, which includes parts of Culver City, Venice and Marina del Rey, state Sen. Diane Watson faces no Democratic party opposition. The lone Republican candidate is Armand Vaquer, a businessman.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund D. Edelman faces nominal opposition in the open 3rd District race. The three other candidates are Venus De Milo, a clerical worker, Seth E. Galinsky, a laborer, and Khalil Khalil, an engineer.
The most interesting congressional race is in the 27th District, which includes Santa Monica, Venice and Hermosa Beach. Rep. Mel Levine is unopposed in the primary. But the Republican contenders include Rob Scribner, who unsuccessfully challenged Levine in a heated 1984 campaign.
In that race, Scribner called Levine an "ultra liberal" who was soft on communism. Scribner, a part-time pastor of the Foursquare Gospel Church, also accused Levine of ridiculing Scribner's religious beliefs. Levine, who beat Scribner 116,933 to 88,896, called the charges outrageous and offensive.
In a recent interview, Levine said he considers Scribner an "extremist." Levine said he is unconcerned about a possible rematch later this year.
Scribner, a Pacific Palisades financial adviser, said he is much better prepared for Levine this year.
"At this time last year, I didn't know much about politics or Mel Levine," Scribner said. "I was just learning." To face Levine in November, Scribner must beat Alvin Froehlich, a construction salesman, in the June GOP primary. The other people in the race are Peace and Freedom nominee Thomas O'Connor Jr., an accountant, and Libertarian candidate Larry Leathers, an insurance executive.
In the 23rd Congressional District, which includes Beverly Hills and Malibu, Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson faces two Democratic primary foes. They are Eric C. Jacobson, a student, and William J. Kurdi, a teacher.
Three other contenders for the seat are unopposed in the primaries. They are Republican George Woolverton, a businessman, Libertarian Taylor Rhodes, a marketing executive, and Peace and Freedom candidate Tom Hopke, a counselor.
In District 24, the Hollywood-Fairfax area, Waxman, a Democrat, faces no primary opposition. The two other candidates in the race are Libertarian George Abrahams and Peace and Freedom nominee James Green.
Rep. Julian C. Dixon faces one foe in the Democratic primary for District 28, which includes Culver City. His opponent is Jose Alcoset, an analyst. There is a three-way Republican primary. The candidates are George Adams, an engineer, Lionel Allen, an insurance executive, and Aileen Cline, a contractor. The Libertarian candidate is Howard Johnson, an attorney.