By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
This demonization, Hayden argues, is what laid the groundwork for Rampart. Indeed, the reason we think it’s particularly important to have Hayden on the council is that he will not be intimidated by various phobias that keep otherwise decent elected officials from even scrutinizing the kind of war-on-gangs programs that have led us to the Rampart debacle. If Los Angeles is ever to establish real civilian control over its police, and develop a crime-reduction program for the inner city in which the police are to become something other, and better, than an occupying army, it’s going to take Tom Hayden on the City Council to push for those changes.
Not to mention, as the city moves to establish neighborhood councils, we can’t imagine anyone we’d rather have shepherd them along than the original theorist, and still leading proponent, of participatory democracy. Tom Hayden is our clear choice for City Council.
7th DISTRICT — NO ENDORSEMENT
two years ago, at the tender age of 26, Alex Padilla was elected to represent this fast-changing, long-neglected Northeast Valley district on the City Council. Increasingly, the 7th is home to a sizable chunk of the city’s burgeoning Latino working class; indeed, more people are crammed into fewer housing units there than anywhere else in town. On some district issues — air pollution and youth facilities, to name two — Padilla has done fine work, often out of public view.
As a city legislator, however, Padilla has yet to demonstrate he’s more than a pretty face. For too long, he placed himself under the protection and tutelage of totemic city father figures — Mayor Riordan and now-ailing and absent council President John Ferraro. Often, he’s gone along with their program, and it was a bit eerie to see the one council member who’s young enough and nonwhite enough to fit the LAPD’s demographic profile for harassment nonetheless dragging his feet on the consent decree because his elders didn’t like it. We don’t object if Padilla seeks out mentors; but Riordan, Ferraro and the Democratic Leadership Council (to which Padilla belongs) are hardly the folks you’d go to if you really wanted to help the 7th District. (Riordan’s contribution to the debate on affordable housing, let us recall, is to deny that it’s a problem.) Nonetheless, Padilla is a well-intentioned young legislator, and we have reason to hope he’ll grow into the job.
9th DISTRICT — JAN PERRY
The 9th comes in two parts: upscale downtown (the office towers of Figueroa Corridor, Staples Center, the Civic Center) and downscale everything else (South-Central). Six candidates are vying to succeed the term-limited Rita Walters, among them Ted Hayes, the colorful and often thoughtful homeless advocate, whom we can’t easily envision functioning on the City Council (though the council’s distinct culture is certainly no less strange than that of the homeless).
Of the three leading candidates for this position, probably the most reliably progressive is Assemblyman Carl Washington of Compton. In his years in Sacramento, Washington has amassed a decent voting record, and if that was all that was required in this job, we’d endorse him forthwith. Problem is, Washington has also emerged unmistakably as one of the legislature’s dimmest bulbs, who once actually traded a vote on-mike during a committee meeting.
Woody Fleming has served for the last few years as a member of the city’s Board of Public Works; before that, he was a district aide to Walters and a longtime political operative for some of the city’s largest unions. Fleming is something of a living, breathing museum piece of labor’s ancien régime, its 40-year nap — a deal maker of no discernible vision or organizing prowess. This aspiring representative of one of the most crime-ridden and transit-dependent communities in the country is no friend of gun control (“Our little old ladies want their guns,” he says) or police reform, and opposes the Bus Riders Union lawsuit to make the MTA buy more buses. He attacked the third major candidate, Jan Perry, for “being married to a white man.” On the other hand, he assured the Weekly, “When the doors are shut and the deals are cut, I’ll get my share for the 9th.” The 9th would be better served if the doors were kept open — and if Fleming were nowhere near the room.
Jan Perry served as Rita Walters’ chief of staff, and last year she coordinated the city’s census outreach project. In the early ’90s, she was a planning deputy for Councilman Mike Woo. Her roots in African-American politics run deep (her father worked with the Stokes brothers building black political power in Cleveland), but she’s consistently practiced a non-racialist politics — indeed, she was one of relatively few local African-American politicos who actively opposed the immigrant-bashing Proposition 187. We do not mean to damn by faint praise when we say she’s heads-and-shoulders smarter than her opponents for this seat. We do have a hesitation, however: Though Perry espouses mainstream liberal positions, she was no fan of the living-wage ordinance when it was still before council; her closeness to the Central City Association and the Chamber of Commerce makes us wonder where she’ll come down on getting guarantees of living-wage jobs on pending downtown projects. Similarly, while she supports an expanded affordable-housing trust fund, she expresses some antipathy to levying fees on the developers of those projects to pay for such housing. In the end, however, we think it will be easier to improve Jan Perry’s politics than Carl Washington’s intelligence. For this reason, we’re supporting Perry for the 9th District seat.