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California

Rival to Westside Councilman Paul Koretz raises nearly $113,000

Attorney Jesse Max Creed
Attorney Jesse Max Creed is running against Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz in the March 7 municipal election.
(Creed for Council 2017)

A Westside lawyer has raised nearly $113,000 for his bid for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, signaling he plans to mount a serious challenge to two-term incumbent Councilman Paul Koretz.

Attorney Jesse Max Creed, running in a district that stretches from Palms and West Los Angeles to Encino, said he raised the money from more than 400 donors over six weeks. The fundraising report, which was prepared by his campaign for the reporting period that ended June 30, shows the race will be competitive, Creed said.

“This money is a way of saying that I’ve been going out to the community, getting a lot of grassroots support,” said Creed, who works in the law firm Munger, Tolles and Olson.

Koretz has not yet filed his fundraising paperwork, which is due next week to the city’s Ethics Commission. But his campaign consultant, Parke Skelton, said the councilman raised about $190,000 between April and June.

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Skelton said Creed, while successful at raising donations, hasn’t shown any real support in the district. “Paul is very popular, and he hasn’t talked to anyone in the district who’s a leader of any community organization who’s supporting Jesse Creed,” Skelton said.

“I don’t think Paul’s in any huge trouble because of this guy,” he added.

The election will be held March 7. Under city law, council candidates cannot accept more than $700 from each donor during each election cycle.

Creed’s campaign consultant, Maclen Zilber, portrayed his client’s fundraising total as being similar to the sum raised in 2003 by Antonio Villaraigosa, then a former state lawmaker running for an Eastside council seat. In that race, Villaraigosa took in more than $120,000 during his first fundraising period, then went on to unseat incumbent Councilman Nick Pacheco.

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Koretz, a former state assemblyman, won his council seat in 2009 and sailed to re-election four years later. He is now seeking a third and final term. Because the city is set to rework its election schedule at the end of the decade, the winner of the March 7 contest will serve 5½ years, not the usual four.

While Koretz’s individual donor information is not yet available, Creed’s report shows that a significant amount of his funding came from figures in the entertainment industry, including executives with NBC Entertainment, RCA Records, Creative Artists Agency and concert promoter Live Nation. 

Actresses Courteney Cox and Renee Zellweger both gave $700, as did Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of “Saturday Night Live.”

Other $700 donors include former Santa Monica City Councilman Bobby Shriver, who ran unsuccessfully for Los Angeles county supervisor in 2014, and Nick Melvoin, who is currently seeking to unseat Los Angles Unified School District board member Steve Zimmer.

Melvoin, running in a school board district that includes parts of Hollywood and the Westside, raised nearly $125,000 during the fundraising period that ended June 30. Zimmer took in $7,304 during the same time frame.

david.zahniser@latimes.com

Twitter: @DavidZahniser

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