CAMPAIGN TALK : A weekly window on the California elections.

3 days left to register to vote before the May 7 dealine. 36 days left until the June 5 primary election Reporter shopping: At long last, Democrats Dianne Feinstein and John K. Van de Kamp have agreed upon their Los Angeles debate--May 20 at 4:30 p.m. on KCBS. Insiders note, however, that negotiations between the two campaign staffs involved efforts at “reporter shopping.” The campaigns weighed offers from rival stations as to which outlets might insist on including their own aggressive reporters. The agreement signed by the candidates reserves for themselves and KCBS to pick the panel. The process left a couple of television journalists feeling blacklisted and others worrying that they might be perceived as handpicked stooges if they participate.

KCBS News Director Michael Singer said, “My interest in this situation is to get what I consider the best qualified reporters in this town.”

In a separate development, the campaigns changed channels for their May 13 debate in San Francisco. The new agreement calls for the debate to air on KRON-TV at 8 p.m. This in place of an afternoon session on KPIX.

Political shadings: Wesley Sanders Jr., the treasurer in Compton, is running a serious but largely unheralded campaign for state treasurer against a candidate with name recognition and political connections that Sanders can only dream about. His opponent in the Democratic primary is Kathleen Brown, daughter and sister of former governors. “I am not a rich man,” Sanders said in a recent speech, “and although I come from a good family, they are not known across the state.”


Then Sanders, who is black, closed his speech with this: “If you insist on voting for a Brown for treasurer, vote for me. There is nobody running for office who is any browner than me.”

Assembly update: Lynwood City Councilwoman Evelyn Wells walked away with the California Democratic Council’s endorsement for her bid in the crowded 48th Assembly District primary. Wells was tough to beat: She serves as the council’s controller.

The endorsement will compete with the official party imprimatur bestowed on Marguerite Archie-Hudson, another of the four Democrats running for the nomination. Archie-Hudson also has won the moneyed nods of Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) and Assemblywoman Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), who is giving up her seat to run for Congress.

Meanwhile, candidate Rod Wright has been organizing a swelling church-based grass-roots effort. And Los Angeles City Councilman Robert Farrell has hired San Francisco-based campaign consultant Clint Reilly, who was running Dianne Feinstein’s gubernatorial campaign until a celebrated tiff last summer.

Looking ahead: Cathy Calfo, executive director of the California Democratic Party and right-hand woman to Chairman Edmund G. Brown Jr., is on her way out.


Here are the biggest spenders among nonpartisan special-interest political action committees and corporations, based on figures from the June 7, 1988, California primary election. 1. Insurers PACS: $946,000 2. California Trial Lawyers PAC: $873,246 3. California Medical PAC: $827,625 4. California Real Estate PAC: $463,832 5. California Correctional Peace Officers PAC: $438,086 6. California Teachers Assn./Assn. for Better Citizenship: $423,355 7. Atlantic Richfield Co.: $375,521 8. Beer Wholesale Community Affairs Fund: $374,370 9. G-Tech Corp.: $367,000 10. Bankers Responsible Government Committee: $317,500 Source: California Fair Political Practices Commission Compiled by Times editorial researcher Michael Meyers SOUNDINGS

From William Endicott in the Sacramento Bee, commenting on Willie Brown’s opposition to Proposition 119, the redistricting initiative supported by the League of Women Voters:

“It’s understandable that Assembly Speaker Willie Brown is at odds with the League of Women Voters. The league believes in good government.”

Dianne Feinstein, candidate for governor, grousing to water quality officials when pressed to explain her stand on the Peripheral Canal:

“Everything that happens in public life is (meant) to lock you into a position.” EXIT LINE

“These campaigns have become a black box. On one side you put in dollar bills, and on the other side you run out videotape.”

--Darry Sragow, manager of Dianne Feinstein’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor.