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Update: Outside Spending Tops $2 Million, Grows Negative

Samantha Oltman | February 19, 2013

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The latest independent expenditure (IE) committee numbers posted on the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission website show an eye-popping $2.2 million in spending by outside groups thus far.

That number is sure to grow in the next two weeks before the March 5 primary election date.

The messaging has already gone negative in the more contentious races in District 2 (East LA) and District 4 (Hollywood to the Westside), and given past experience, it’s possible that the mailers and advertisements will become even more negative in upcoming days.

District 2: This is a key school board race, as the teachers union is determined to oust incumbent school board President Monica Garcia, who has been a major supporter of reform efforts.

But in an unorthodox approach, the political arm of the teacher’s union has spent $20,500 sending out a mailer with the headline, “Anyone but Monica Garcia” (view here), featuring all three UTLA-endorsed challengers (Robert Skeels, Annamarie Montanez, and Abelardo Diaz) rather than identifying any particular candidate it supports.

That isn’t even the negative spending: according to City Ethics, UTLA-PACE has spent an additional $88,700 to oppose Garcia with unspecified negative messaging.

The groups spending in support of Garcia have stepped up: the Coalition for School Reform has almost doubled its spending last week to $412,600; SEIU Local 99 has spent $98,500; and the LA County Federation of Labor has spent $44,300 on her behalf.

Candidate Isabel Vazquez, who has not been endorsed by the teachers union or the Coalition, hasn’t received any outside spending at this point.

District 4: This Westside race between incumbent School Board member Steve Zimmer and his challenger Kate Anderson is also a contentious race. According to City Ethics, UTLA-PACE has spent $207,000 to help Zimmer win his reelection bid, and it has spent an additional $125,000 to directly oppose Anderson.

Zimmer is also getting support from SEIU Local 99, which has spent $119,700, and the LA County Federation of Labor, which has spent $46,100 on his behalf.

While Anderson may not have union backing, she’s been getting serious support from the Coalition for School Reform, which has spent a total of $501,000 to boost her race.

District 6: Perhaps because all three candidates are endorsed UTLA, this race has not gone negative, and only one candidate, Antonio Sanchez, has benefited from IE money.

To support Sanchez’s bid, the Coalition has spent $487,000; SEIU Local 99 has spent $91,500; and the LA County Federation has thrown in $44,300 on his behalf. Sanchez and his two opponents, Monica Cano and Maria Ratliff, have all been endorsed by UTLA, but so far, the City Ethics website has not reported any spending on their behalf.

Previous posts: UTLA-PACE Attacks District 4 Challenger Anderson; East LA Forum: District 2 Candidates, Issue By Issue; Here Come the Misleading / Attack Mailers

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