Friedman Ranks First in 1988 Assembly Office Expenses With $332,552

Times Staff Writer

Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Los Angeles) spent $332,552--more than any of the Assembly’s 79 other members--on his office expenses during the 1988 legislative session, according to figures released by the Assembly.

Friedman’s total was 19% higher than the Assembly average of $279,192 for the 12 months ending last Nov. 30. It was $10,270 ahead of the $322,282 accounted for by the second-ranking spender, former Assemblyman Bill Leonard (R-Big Bear).

“I have no problem with anyone examining the way every penny was spent because it was spent prudently,” Friedman said. “There’s no excessive salaries. There’s no frivolous expenditures. . . . “


Among the reasons cited by Friedman for his top ranking are the cost of renting his Sherman Oaks office, the cost of mailing newsletters to his Westside and San Fernando Valley constituents and a bookkeeping delay that caused some 1987 expenses to be paid in 1988.

43rd District

Friedman’s 43rd District includes Beverly Hills, part of West Hollywood, Bel-Air, Brentwood and part of Westwood in West Los Angeles and Studio City, Encino and Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley.

The figures, released last Friday, are compiled annually and released by the Assembly Rules Committee. The totals include staff salaries, travel, cars, district office expenses, newsletters, postage, telephones, furniture, equipment, supplies, subscriptions and photocopying.

The totals do not include staff and other costs connected with committee assignments. Some Assembly members who head committees have additional staff and expenses connected to their extra duties. Friedman, who is not a committee chairman, is a two-term lawmaker who easily won reelection last November.

In reviewing his expenses, Friedman said his office rent is higher than rents in other parts of the state. He paid $20,833 a year for his Ventura Boulevard office, compared to the average annual local office rent of $15,863 for the Assembly’s 80 members.

“There ought to be an allowance for the prevailing rent in a particular district,” Friedman said. “The fact is that it costs more to rent an office space in Sherman Oaks than it does in Norwalk.”


Other Costs

Also included in the expenses is the cost of newsletters--$63,490 for Friedman. Karin Caves, a spokeswoman for Friedman, said $15,800 in newsletter costs incurred in late 1987 were not paid by the state controller until 1988.

In addition, Caves said Friedman’s newsletter budget was higher than that of most other members because it was pegged to the number of registered voters per household. Friedman, with 103,568 households, is among the Assembly members with the most registered voters, she said.

But that expense has ended. Mass mailings by elected officials at public expense, including newsletters, were prohibited last June when voters adopted Proposition 73, which is being challenged in the courts.

The totals for the four other Westside Assembly members, all Democrats, were: Tom Hayden of Santa Monica, $295,477; Mike Roos of Los Angeles, $294,401; Gwen Moore of Los Angeles, $291,687; and Burt Margolin of Los Angeles, $277,030.