More than a decade after he lead the fight on Chicago's streets against the forces of the machine controlled by the late mayor Richard J. Daley, Tom Hayden has emerged as the boss of what some here believe is the fastest rising political organization in the state.
In the pass few months, his Campaign for Economic democracy [Ced] has swept the candidates into office in such communities at berkeley, Oakland and Santa Monica. CED has also successfully spearheaded drives for rent-control legislation in at least three cities, including Los Angeles.
At the same time, Hayden, who helped found the militant Students for a Democratic Society in 962, has used the power for what his aides describe as "the radical machine" to become one of California Gov. Edmund G. [Jerry] Brown Jr.'s most important political allies.
This liaison has led many liberals and leftists in the state to doubt the sincerity of Ced's political thrust, but Hayden's aides insist that alliances with establishment figures such as Brown are necessary in the struggle to turn their 5,500-member organization into an effective political machine.
"When you talk about machines, you think of Mayor Daley, about having the power to [pick up] people's garbage. Well, we don't have that power, but we'd like to get there." said Fred Branfman, a leading Hayden strategist. "we would like to help people with their needs, to make sure they get their Social Security checks -- that's what it's all about."
In their drive to build this machine, Hayden and CED are alarming a wide range of people in the state, from disgruntled leftists and liberals to business leaders. These people see the CED as Hayden's personal political device, ready to work on his expected run for the Senate in 1982 and perhaps for Brown's expected presidential campaign against President carter.
"We don't have to follow him like he's some sort of Caesar," said David Roberti, a leading liberal and state Senate majority leader. "He's not the only liberal thin happening in this state. There are hundreds of groups who have been working hard on issues and resent the hell out of what he's doing."
Roberti and other liberal activists fear that Hayden and his wife, actress Jane Fonda, have been able to capture unmerited media attention to the exclusion of of other groups working on such issues as rent control, nuclear power and solar energy. In the style of Brown, they claim, Hayden's operation is largely a media hype, winning precious television time and newspaper headiness while others are doing the head, day-to-day work.
"He's taking credit for things like the solar power movement in California, and that's just horse manure, said Mark Vandervelden, Sacramento lobbyist for the environmentalist Friends for the Earth. "he took what was already a moving this and, by flapping his arms and taking louder than anyone else, he took all the credit."
Hayden has achieved the role of a leading advocate of solar power, a highly popular political issue in California, by allying himself with Brown on solar programs. Brown has strongly supported CED-backed solar bills before the legislature, appointed Hayden to the state's SolarCal Council, and made him a state representative on Western Sun, a 13-state solar organization backed by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The close relationship between the governor and Hayden began in 1973, when Brown, then California secretary of state, helped lobby against a bill in the legisalture that would have denounced Fonda as a traitor because of her antiwar activities. Recently, Brown appointed Fonda to the California Arts Council and placed Hayden on the Southwest Regional Border Commission.
For all its obvious benefits, Hayden's alliance with Brown is seen as the randest opportunism by many of his longtime liberal and leftist friends.
Roberti and others point to the CED's failure to denounce forthrightly Brown's proposal for a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget as a sure sign that the California governor has totally coopted the onetime radical firebrand.
Hayden defends his relationship with Brown as a practical method of promoting his own issues. "the people who attack us for that alliance are just a bunch of '50s liberals," Hayden said in an interview in his casually elegant office in downtown Los Angeles. "If your talk about CED's credibility, it's higher [now] than a year ago, when I adopted the strategy of working closely with Brown."
While still officially uncommitted on the 1980 presidential race, Hayden is clearly anxious to lead his troops into battle against Carter, who, he claims, is "lying to the American people" about the oil crisis and the safety of nuclear power.
He acknowledges that may within CED prefer Sen. Edward M. Kennedy [D-Mass.] as the Democratic alternative to Carter, but says that if Brown continues to move to the left on such issues as energy CED could end up in the governor's camp.
Such a prospect delights the strategists planning Brown's expected 1980 White House bid. "hayden can be very helpful to us, no question about that," said Gray Davis, Brown's chief of staff. "He has the horses, the troops and a lot of energy."
The thickening connection between Brown and Hayden worries some California business leaders who fear that a Brown presidency might fall under the influence of Hayden's quasi-socialist ideology.
"When I see Brown getting into alliances with people like Hayden, it scares the hell out of me," said one top executive for a major Los Angeles based oil company. "If he shares Hayden's beliefs, we're in big trouble. But who knows? Brown is such a chameleon you never know what color he is now."
Whatever their attitudes toward Hayden's politics, business leaders, in the face of CED's recent election victories, no longer dismiss him as some sort of annoying, but ineffective, radical kook. They fear that, using his ample connections with state and local politicians, Hayden is building up a network of patronage-type jobs for CED supporters, a classic throwback to the Daley-style political machines.
"They have all these people working on campaigns who are getting funds from federal programs and stuff," alleges Ed Hulac, president of the 80,000-member California Apartment House Owners Association.
"He is formed a very effective organization that moves around the state like commandos. It's tough for us to cope with them."
Reports have circulated widely that some funds from the federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act [CETA] program are going to CED members and their allies working in political campaigns.
When confronted with satements by former CETA workers that one local program was serving as a "taxfree political front" for CED-backed candidates and rent-control initiatives in Santa Monica, Hayden denied any direct CED involvement, but admitted that he has "a lot of nightmares about this kind of thing."
"A lot of people on the left have been in opposition to the law for so long, taking drugs, opposing the government, that they do tend to take an outlaw-type mentality," he said.
Despite munting criticism against CED, Hayden believes that time is working in the organization's favor. He maintains that the public is growing increasingly restive about soaring rents, high oil prices, gas lines, nuclear power and big business' control of government -- issues at the care of "CED's organizing strategy.
"If you're for rent control, you don't have to be a lefty anymore, Hayden said, pointing to a recent Field Poll showing a statewide majority in favor of rent control. "populism is populism -- it's a question of water it's populism against the poor or the government . . . or against large corporations and their friends in power."
It is on the growth of such a political trend, Hayden insists, that his political future and that of CED rests. If people consider some of his actions to be little more than crass opportunism, he says, it really doesn't matter as long as the right issues are brought to the political forefront.
"I am not going to worry about all these people who are always paranoid and suspicious about power, because I'm not going to worry about all these people who are always paranoid and suspicious about power, because I'm not," Hayden says. "I know in the long run that if people care about these issues, they'll come to me." CAPTION: Picture, California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., Left, Tom Hayden and his wife, actress June Fonda, at antinuclear protest here in may. By Frand Johnston -- The Washington Post