By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
In an odd way, Hahn himself is not really integral to his appeal to voters. His campaign rests on two pillars: public affection for his father, the late, legendary County Supervisor Kenny Hahn; and public anxiety over Villaraigosa, which was negligible to begin with, but which Hahn’s campaign has been determined to stoke by any means necessary. Accordingly, Hahn’s commercials accuse Villaraigosa of being soft on crime, a charge that’s based on deliberately misconstruing votes Villaraigosa cast in the Legislature.
There is one constituency in the city to which Hahn himself actually matters. The lobbyists and deal-makers of the ancien régime back Hahn, attorney George Kieffer has noted approvingly, because he would “not surprise them with his viewpoint or behavior.” In a Hahn City Hall, the operatives of the permanent government will renew their lease on power. Be still, our beating hearts.
Villaraigosa, by contrast, personifies the advent of a new urban political order in America — though in many ways the new order looks a lot like the one that emerged a century ago in New York and other Eastern cities. In the early years of the last century, before the coming of an activist federal government, New York — home, as L.A. is now, to a huge wave of immigrants, to poverty, sweatshops and overcrowding — passed laws banning child labor, setting workplace conditions, establishing minimum wages. Widely derided at the time, these measures later became the basis for much of the New Deal.
Now it’s Los Angeles that is the immigrants’ mecca, that has the greatest number of working poor and medically uninsured of any American city. And, as in the years before the New Deal, the federal government is once again supremely uninterested in the living conditions of the urban poor. Like his forebears in the last century, then, Antonio Villaraigosa is posing a variant of Hillel’s first question: If we are not for ourselves, who shall be for us? He knows that, at times, solutions must begin at home, that a local experiment like the living-wage ordinance can produce a better city, and in time prod a state and a nation to follow suit.
Across America today, progressives are looking to Los Angeles — in the hope that Villaraigosa can be elected, that a new Los Angeles can address the injustices that Washington only worsens or ignores, and in time prod a nation to follow suit. The June 5 election is shaping up as extremely close. But it’s an even-money bet that we can make some history here on that day — the kind of history that people look back on decades later and say, “That was the day we said all of us govern here. That was the day we laid claim to our city.”
CITY ATTORNEY — MIKE FEUER
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Feuer is not simply the best-qualified candidate for city attorney in this year’s election. So far as we can figure, he’s the best-qualified candidate for city attorney in the city’s history.
A Harvard Law grad, Feuer first made a name for himself running the Bet Tzedek Legal Services Agency, which became under his leadership the number-one nemesis of L.A.’s slumlords. In 1995, Feuer was elected to succeed Zev Yaroslavsky as the council member from the 5th District. There, he strengthened the city’s Ethics Commission, authored landmark gun-control measures, and led the fight to enforce the laws restricting the size and placement of billboards — one reason why the billboard industry is so lavishly funding his opponent’s campaign. His record of support for police reform long antedates the department’s Rampart follies.
His opponent, deputy mayor Rocky Delgadillo, has led a storybook life, going from East L.A.’s Franklin High to Harvard, the Canadian Football League, Columbia Law, and the law firm of O’Melveny and Myers. One of the original crew at Rebuild L.A., he went to work for Mayor Riordan in 1994, eventually serving as deputy mayor for economic development. Delgadillo has made schools the centerpiece of his campaign for office, though he has virtually nothing to say about what a city attorney can do that actually would impact the schools.
It was clear to us early on that this choice was a slam-dunk for Feuer, but now a Weeklyinvestigation into Delgadillo’s record (see the special report by Howard Blume and Dave Perera elsewhere in this issue) suggests to us that Delgadillo is ethically unfit to hold the city-attorney position at all. The report documents that Delgadillo’s economic-development office essentially inflated the number of jobs it helped create, and engaged in a pattern of backroom dealmaking that directly benefited well-connected developers, but not necessarily the public interest. The report further documents that corporate donors to the Genesis LA project, which Delgadillo spearheaded, have been rewarded with favored positions in Genesis-backed shopping centers. And it documents that a number of the developers to whom Delgadillo gave preferential treatment have been friends or backers of the mayor. One veteran city official calls Delgadillo “a walking conflict of interest” because of his close ties to companies with business before — or litigation against — the city. We believe that Rocky Delgadillo lacks the basic ethical sensitivity that is the entry-level requirement for city attorney.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city