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Our Choices in the June 8 L.A. City Elections 

For the Weekly's handy one-page tear-out Voter Guide, see the inside back cover of next week's issue.

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Certain endorsements are accompanied by this logo, which denotes that our choice is a lesser evil or one of life's gloomier compromises.

MEMBER, LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL

District No. 7 -- Corinne Sánchez

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Alex Padilla, just 26, has something that any young candidate would die for: the unified support of the L.A. labor movement. With that, he was almost able to win this race outright in the April primary, falling just short of 50 percent of the vote in his bid to fill the seat vacated by Richard Alarcón, who's gone on to the greater glory of the state Senate. An MIT graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering, Padilla returned to the district to manage successful field campaigns for Alarcón and for Assembly members Tony Cardenas and Gil Cedillo. It's no disgrace, in one's mid-20s, to have spent one's entire career as a campaign techie, but neither is it an adequate apprenticeship for the City Council. There's no contesting Padilla's fundamental decency or his commitment to working people and union causes -- but his understandably brief résumé and his issue positions, or lack thereof, suggest he's not yet ready for prime time.

Attorney Corinne Sánchez, who got just enough votes in the primary to push Padilla into a runoff, combines the best of a movement past (she's been endorsed by the United Farm Workers) and an activist present. For over 20 years, she's been president of El Proyecto del Barrio, a community clinic that is widely respected for offering some of the best general health-care, drug-rehabilitation and AIDS programs in L.A. She'd bring to the council a healthy skepticism toward developers, a clear feminist perspective and a commitment to cross-racial coalitions -- three qualities the city can never have enough of. She has our clear support.

 

District No. 10 -- Madison Shockley

Longtime 10th District incumbent Nate Holden is our ranking civic disgrace. No other local legislator has taken so many positions so plainly at odds with the interests of his constituents -- from his last-ditch defense of Daryl Gates, to his lonesome-end opposition to city slum-abatement efforts. Like Art Snyder, he is a master pothole filler, but no other council member has so delayed and derailed the council's business with pointless and often venomous speeches. Above all, no other high-ranking L.A. civic leader has played the race card so deliberately and demagogically. Whether he's berating a city-contract worker for testifying in Spanish during a hearing on the living wage, or accusing council colleagues Mike Feuer and Laura Chick of being "like Westside Ku Klux Klan" for calling for Mike Hernandez's resignation, Holden seeks to exploit whatever xenophobia he can stir up, to the sole end of keeping himself in power. He's playing a dangerous game.

Madison Shockley, the pastor at the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, is an activist-cleric in the tradition of a James Lawson, a Leonard Beerman, a William Sloane Coffin -- that is, in the best tradition of American progressivism. Educated at Harvard and the Union Theological Seminary, Shockley's been convening multiracial dialogues at his church since the early '90s, discussions after which a number of national organizations have modeled their own programs. He's been particularly active in fostering discourses and building coalitions between L.A.'s black, Korean, Latino and Jewish communities. Shockley is the candidate of Coalition L.A., a multiracial network of activists from precincts across the district, and to whom he's pledged to be accountable. He's also been one of the few contestants for any office this spring who's offered detailed and innovative programs in housing, parks and economic revitalization. We support his candidacy with great enthusiasm.

District No. 14 -- Victor Griego

With the decision of longtime power broker Richard Alatorre not to seek re-election for his council seat this spring, the dam broke in Eastside politics. Fully 13 candidates competed in the April primary -- and lamentably, if not surprisingly, the two candidates who made it into the runoff were the two candidates with the most money.

The candidate who ran first was Assistant District Attorney Nick Pacheco, who served diligently for 18 of the past 24 months on the Elected City Charter Reform Commission. Up until last December, he was an unpredictable vote in commission deliberations; since then, as he sought (successfully) the mayor's support for his council bid, he transformed himself into the mayor's unwavering ally. His abrupt conversion to All Things Riordan raises serious questions about his suitability to represent the 14th.

The candidate who ran second was longtime labor-community-organizer-turned-political-consultant Victor Griego, who boasts the longest résumé of anyone on the ballot. At various times over the past two decades, Griego has played a key role on campaigns for the United Farm Workers, for Southwest Voter Registration, for progressive union leaders Maria Elena Durazo and Gil Cedillo, and against NAFTA. Most notably, he headed up UNO's successful 1987 campaign to raise the California minimum wage. More problematically, he has handled such candidates of dubious merit as Vicki Castro and Alatorre himself. He is a deal maker par excellence in a district that has known more than its share of deal makers.

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