Assemblyman Curtis Tucker (D-Inglewood) has fired a double-barreled campaign barrage at the Assembly candidacy of Inglewood City Councilman Daniel Tabor.
A Tucker mailer sent to more than 40,000 households in the 50th Assembly District last week reprints a 1986 letter to a community newspaper by Tabor criticizing presidential candidate Jesse Jackson for ignoring Los Angeles black groups when Jackson brought his 1986 national boycott of the CBS network to Southern California.
Tucker also called for an investigation of Tabor's previously undisclosed "business relationship" with Aaron Joshua. Joshua owns a night club in Tabor's district that has been the target of complaints about noise and parking problems, and Tabor has been criticized for publicly supporting the club in its dealings with the city.
"I'm going to crush Danny Tabor," said Tucker, a seven-term incumbent and chairman of the Assembly Health Committee. "I'm going to end his political career."
Tabor responded: "He has no record to stand on. If I were a 14-year assemblyman, I'd be telling constituents what I've done."
The Tucker campaign supplied The Times with a copy of a document showing that in March, 1986, Tabor registered as a partner with Aaron Joshua in a business called "The Progressive Group." Joshua filed the document--called a fictitious business name statement--with the Los Angeles County clerk.
In an interview this week, Tabor said the document concerned a plan for a management consulting business that had nothing to do with the night club and never got off the ground.
The night club, called Joshua's, opened late last year, and neighbors have complained since of parking and noise problems. A criminal complaint by the City of Inglewood against Joshua's for code violations is pending, along with a complaint by the state Alcohol and Beverage Commission for failure to notify the ABC of a change in use of the building.
Tucker said that during City Council and Planning Commission discussions of the night club and its problems, Tabor--who was elected to the council in 1981--should have revealed his business relationship with Joshua and refrained from participating.
"He never revealed his relationship with the Joshuas," said Tucker, who pointed out that the document lists The Progressive Group's address as the same as that of the night club. The club is owned by Joshua and his father, Elmo, through a separate corporation, Pleasure Bowl Inc.
Tabor, who describes Joshua as a longtime friend, reacted angrily to Tucker's charge that his 1985 Planning Commission testimony on behalf of Joshua or his participation this year in council votes had been improper.
The partnership with Joshua, said Tabor, was an idea for a management consulting business involving Tabor, Joshua and Jeffrey Turner, an accountant. He said that the three planned to provide consulting services for small businesses but that because of other commitments the idea never went beyond filing the fictitious business name statement. The document lists the address of the night club because Joshua's office is there, Tabor said.
"I have no relationship or obligation to Aaron (Joshua) or his family," Tabor said. "We didn't act on (the business venture). We never opened a bank account. We haven't discussed the idea since May, 1986. We orally dissolved it."
Tabor said he did not list the venture on his statements of economic interest because the idea had been abandoned.
City Atty. Howard Rosten said Tabor doesn't have a conflict of interest because the business partnership with Joshua is unrelated to the night club and because council decisions regarding the parking problems did not financially benefit Tabor.
"Whatever they were doing, it's not Joshua's," Rosten said. "Voting to create a parking district around Joshua's does not constitute a conflict. There has to be a foreseeable effect on the source of income of the elected official."
State Fair Political Practices Commission spokeswoman Jeanette Turvill said her agency has used the Nord Act of 1983 to cite conflict of interest by public officials who participate in city actions that affect business partners. But she said Tabor's case did not appear to be a conflict because Tabor says the partnership did not develop.
Tabor's first public statements on behalf of Joshua's were in 1985, before the three friends registered as "The Progressive Group." At the time, Tabor told the Planning Commission that he supported Joshua's proposal to convert a closed bowling alley into a night club.
Shortly thereafter, he also tried unsuccessfully to have the City Council change a parking ordinance so that Joshua's could provide parking more than 300 feet from the club for patrons.
Tabor drew fire this year from some constituents during council discussions of parking and nuisance problems. In February, he voted along with other council members to create a special parking permit district for residents in the club area.
While the charges concerning Joshua's capitalize on an issue in Tabor's home district, the Jackson mailer is aimed at Tabor's potential base in the wider black community--particularly among young blacks he wants to attract by portraying his candidacy as part of a generational struggle for black leadership, said Tucker campaign consultant Parke Skelton.
The hit piece coincides with vast enthusiasm for Jackson's campaign in the black community and puts Tabor on the defensive on a point that should benefit him. He ran as a Jackson delegate in the 1984 California presidential primary.
Tucker's mailer says Tabor "viciously and publicly" attacked Jackson in the 1986 letter. It reprints the letter, highlighting Tabor's statement: "We will not be silent when anyone pimps or grandstands on our people's legitimate needs."
The letter takes issue with Jackson for ignoring negotiations between CBS and local black groups--including the African Collective, of which Tabor is a member. According to the letter, Jackson declared that the Los Angeles negotiations for minority hiring had failed and called for a nationwide boycott of the network. It says Jackson "exploited" local groups in pursuit of his own agenda.
Tucker chuckled: "That letter speaks for itself. All I did was put the letter out. People are sending us money because they read that letter."
Tabor said Tucker's use of the letter is insulting to black constituents because it assumes that they will automatically condemn Tabor for criticizing Jackson without reading the letter or finding out more about Tabor.
"Jackson came to Los Angeles at a time we were making progress in negotiations," Tabor said. "We felt what he did was disrespectful. The letter says, 'Jesse, you were wrong this time.' It was a difference of opinion."
He described Tucker's recent attack on him as "typical of elected officials who are more interested in keeping power than in accurately representing their constituents on the issues."
Along with the anti-Tabor piece, Tucker's mailing includes a letter of support for Tucker from Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), the national and state chairpersons for the Jackson campaign. The endorsement is written on a letterhead bearing Jackson's picture and the Jackson campaign titles of Brown and Waters.
"Tucker is a Johnny-come-lately to the Jackson campaign," Tabor said. "I endorsed Jackson and was a Jackson delegate in 1984. The assemblyman supported Mondale."
Tucker is chairman of the 27th Congressional District campaign for Jackson. Tabor, who is on the district campaign steering committee, described Tucker as "a figurehead."
Tucker shot back: "I have more name recognition than Danny Tabor in the state of California, which is why I'm chairman. And I've never attacked Jesse Jackson."