Mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti both sent out fundraising appeals in response to the formation of a Super PAC supporting former radio host Kevin James.
"At any moment, we could see an unprecedented avalanche of negative campaign ads paid for by anonymous outsiders attacking Wendy and dividing Angelenos against each other," wrote Rose Kapolczynski, Greuel's consultant.
Garcetti's pitch struck a similar note:
"Eric Garcetti is the biggest threat to everything these Super PACs support... It's no surprise that Eric is a target."
Greuel asked for contributions of $35. Garcetti asked for $50, $75 or $100.
Political consultant Fred Davis formed the Better Way L.A. committee to back James' candidacy. In an interview, he said he had raised $500,000 and hoped to raise at least $4 million.
"The goal would be higher than that," Davis said. "L.A. is a pricey place to run races."
Davis is perhaps best known for this outside-the-box spot on behalf of Senate candidate Carly Fiorina:
He's also the guy behind the "I'm not a witch" ad in the Delaware Senate race:
Davis promised to be no less creative when it comes time to produce ads for Kevin James.
"The reason our clients often win is they attract attention," Davis said. "Will you see the world's most dull and boring ad campaign? I don't think so."
Davis said the money raised by the Super PAC will be disclosed.
"I've seen these whackjob emails about me and the Super PAC saying it's anonymous dollars. It's not," he said. "You list every penny. There are enormous penalties for not being clear and transparent. Any donors will be listed."
However, a separate committee, Fix It L.A., will be set up to run "issue" spots which don't explicitly advocate for James' election. Donors to that committee will be able to remain anonymous.
"If someone has 50 grand and they want to help Kevin James, but they really don't want their name associated with it, for heaven only knows what reason, am I gonna turn it away?" Davis asked. "No. We do need their help."
Davis said the other campaigns will likely outspend him, given that unions will be running their own independent expenditure efforts. In the 2005 mayoral campaign independent groups -- mostly unions -- spent about $3.7 million backing James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa.
"Things have changed," Davis said. "The unions can come in at any rate -- $10 million, $5 million."
James accused Greuel and Garcetti of "hypocrisy" for complaining about special interest money.
"I'm sure they're going to be beneficiaries of large independent expenditures themselves," James said. "The knock on me is always, 'The James campaign is struggling with fundraising.' I continue to struggle with fundraising. This does potentially level the field."