Englander candidacy gets a boost from independent expenditure committee

Candidates vying to replace Michael D. Antonovich at a debate Wednesday in Pasadena.

Candidates vying to replace Michael D. Antonovich at a debate Wednesday in Pasadena.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

More than $200,000 has poured into an independent expenditure committee set up to support the candidacy of Los Angeles Councilman Mitch Englander in his bid for a county supervisorial seat.

Englander is leading the pack in fundraising in the race for the seat being vacated by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

His campaign fundraising committee has raised about $1.2 million, including about $292,000 since January. A separate committee set up to raise money for legal expenses — which is allowed under county campaign finance rules — has pulled in almost $12,000.

The next highest fundraiser, Antonovich’s chief of staff, Kathryn Barger, has raised just over $1 million in her campaign committee, including about $187,000 in the latest round of fundraising, and an additional $30,500 in her attorney fees fund.


Following Barger, prosecutor Elan Carr’s campaign has raised about $893,500, about $169.000 of it this year. Carr edged out State Sen. Bob Huff, who has raised about $880,000, with $139,000 of it coming in the latest filing period. Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian has raised about $463,000, $156,000 of it since January.

Entrepreneur Darrell Park has raised $64,600. Three other candidates reported nominal amounts or did not report any contributions.

But Englander’s run also got a significant boost from an outside committee set up to support his campaign, which has raised $238,500 since the beginning of the year from a collection of construction trade unions, developers and other groups.

Independent expenditure committees are not controlled by the candidates they support and are not supposed to coordinate with them. They are also not subject to the fundraising limits that apply to candidate-controlled committees, which generally limit contributors to $1,500 per election cycle for county campaigns.


The largest contributors to the committee set up to support Englander came from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 and from fitness studio owner Janet Crown, who both gave $50,000.

Crown did not respond to a request for comment. An assistant to IBEW Local 11 President Dick Reed said he was “not available and not interested” in commenting on a story.

An additional $30,000 came to the committee from Southern California Pipe Trades District Council 16 and $25,000 from Shawn Evenhaim, chief executive of real estate development company California Home Builders.

The committee collected $10,000 from Clear Channel, an outdoor advertising company seeking new rules in L.A. to allow some of its billboards to be converted to digital formats. Englander sits on the council committee that’s currently reviewing the city’s proposed sign legislation.


An additional $10,000 came from Isaac Larian, chief executive of MGA Entertainment, which recently won City Council approval for a major residential and business development project on 24 acres in Englander’s district. The site previously housed a Los Angeles Times printing facility.

Englander’s campaign did not respond to requests for comments.

The only other candidate in the race who got support from an independent expenditure committee was Carr. An outside committee raised a total of $8,500 for his bid with contributions from executives with homebuilding company MDC Holdings and fire protection contractor Cooper River Holdings and from the pharmaceutical firm the Torrance Company.

An outside group has also pumped money into opposing one candidate in the race.


Philanthropist and political activist Howard F. Ahmanson has launched an anti-Huff campaign, which has included sending out mailers criticizing his votes in Sacramento and setting up a website with the moniker “Enough Huff.”

Huff’s campaign responded with a website of their own entitled “Not Enough Huff.”

T.J. Fuentes, a spokesman for Ahmanson, said he had launched the campaign because he was offended by Huff’s support of redevelopment agencies and opposition to dissolving redevelopment in 2011.

He declined to say how much Ahmanson had spent. The anti-Huff campaign was not reflected in the most recent campaign finance disclosures on file with the state from Ahmanson’s donor committee.


In a race for a second open county seat, which is being vacated by Supervisor Don Knabe, U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn held a strong fundraising lead. Hahn has raised about $952,000 to date, including $305,000 in the most recent period.

Steve Napolitano, an aide to Knabe and former Manhattan Beach councilman, has raised a total of $565,500, including $271,000 of his own money. By rejecting spending limits, Napolitano also removed the contribution limits for his competitors.

Hahn got several large donations after that, including $25,000 from Susan Bloomfield, wife of Manhattan Beach businessman Bill Bloomfield; and $10,000 each from developer Rick Caruso and from the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

A third candidate, Whittier school board member Ralph Pacheco, has not reported raising any funds.


Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.

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