From San Pedro to Woodland Hills, candidates for five open seats on the Los Angeles City Council walked precincts Friday, topped off campaign war chests and plotted the last big push for votes in Tuesday's election.
A final round of campaign finance reports before the election showed $1.79 million has been spent by the 10 candidates in the five runoff elections that will fill a third of the seats on the council.
With so many close races, political strategists cited the importance of fund-raising to pay for mail, phone banks and other get-out-the-vote efforts.
"This is the two-minute warning," said John Shallman, a political consultant not involved in any of the campaigns. "The candidates have to do everything and anything they can to ensure their voters are identified and get out to vote."
Reports with the city Ethics Commission for the period ending Wednesday showed most candidates are competitively funded for the final push, but no candidate came close to the $275,000 spending limit set for those receiving city matching funds.
The biggest fund-raising gap was in the 15th District, which stretches from San Pedro to Watts. Former charter reform Commissioner Janice Hahn spent twice as much as former legislative deputy Hector Cepeda. Hahn reported raising $107,870 compared with $63,509 by Cepeda.
With the help of matching funds received by both candidates, Hahn was able to spend $164,727 and end the period with $18,481 in the bank, while Cepeda has spent $82,843, ending the period with $21,833 in his campaign account.
Ray Pok, a campaign spokesman for Cepeda, said fund-raising is more difficult because his candidate's name is not as well known--Hahn is the sister of mayoral candidate James Hahn and the daughter of former county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn.
"We can't match her resources. It has forced us to be a grass-roots campaign," Pok said.
In the west San Fernando Valley's 3rd Council District, police union director Dennis Zine outspent former council deputy Judith Hirshberg. Each candidate reported providing their own campaigns with $8,000 loans during the last reporting period, May 20 to May 30.
Hirshberg raised $116,4777, compared with $113,561 by Zine. With both candidates also receiving matching funds, Hirshberg reported spending $153,883, ending the period with $20,344 in her campaign account. Zine reported spending $171,038, with $17,615 left in his account.
Hirshberg was planning to walk precincts in Encino on Sunday with current 3rd District Councilwoman Laura Chick, who in April won election as city controller.
Zine, meanwhile, spent $10,000 for 200 cable television commercials to run this weekend highlighting his opposition to the Ahmanson Ranch development, a hot-button issue in the district.
In the hotly contested 5th Council District, former state Sen. Tom Hayden eclipsed former federal prosecutor Jack Weiss in spending, though Weiss saved more money for the final push.
The district extends from Westwood to Sherman Oaks and Valley Glen.
With the help of a $170,000 personal loan from himself, Hayden's campaign brought in $246,269 and spent $244,464 as of May 30, ending the period with $19,391 in his account.
In comparison, Weiss raised $233,992 and spent $223,607, ending the period with $81,557 in the bank.
In addition to a flurry of mail, Hayden and Weiss were both planning appearances at weekend events, including an open house at the Studio City Golf and Tennis Center.
On Friday, Hayden filed a complaint with the city Ethics Commission alleging that the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles failed to meet deadlines for disclosing an independent expenditure campaign it was conducting with anti-Hayden and pro-Weiss radio advertisements. The ads began running early in the week, but the association filed its disclosures Friday after Hayden had lodged his complaint.
In the Central City's 9th Council District, former council aide Jan Perry kept her fund-raising lead over Assemblyman Carl Washington (D-Paramount). Perry has raised $150,044, and with the help of matching funds spent $208,017 as of Wednesday, with $37,000 left. Washington has raised $109,165, and with matching funds spent $161,497, ending the filing period with $7,107 in the bank.
Perry and Washington both said Friday that they will fan out with dozens of volunteers this weekend.
Former City Councilman Mike Woo was the fund-raising leader in the 13th District over college professor Eric Garcetti, who nevertheless spent more. The district includes parts of Hollywood, Echo Park and Silver Lake.
Woo reported raising $196,525 compared with Garcetti's $156,754. Both candidates also received matching funds. Between that and accrued expenses, Garcetti spent $232,972, to end the period with $57,551 in his account. Woo spent $160,379, ending the period with $57,158 in the bank.