The self-financed Garfield obviously has the huge edge in media buys -- including the recent TV ad volley in which she tried to offset the Police Protective League‘s LaBonge endorsement by flaunting her backing by the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs -- whose members patrol no part of Los Angeles except community colleges.
Contrary to her first interview with this newspaper, Garfield now opposes the controversial three-day workweek proposed by the LAPD’s Police Protective League. (LaBonge supports trying out some form of a compressed workweek.) She also told me she approves the city‘s living-wage philosophy, but expressed reservations about expanding it in an earlier interview with the Weekly’s editorial board. Her endorsement by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (who, as councilwoman, championed the L.A. living wage) may moot out this ambiguity.
Garfield‘s trump-card endorsement by the County Federation of Labor (most of her professional career has been spent representing local unions) upset any hope that this runoff might help to heal the split between the Fed and the city’s “uniformed” unions, which was created by the Hahn-Villaraigosa mayoral campaign.
The latest polls show Garfield behind, but moving up, with 35 percent of prospective voters versus 39 percent for LaBonge. Garfield has nearly doubled her numbers since the primary, while LaBonge has pulled ahead only 7 percent, despite his runner-up endorsements.
Being the standard-bearer of the old guard may not be for LaBonge the asset it was for Big John Ferraro: Even some former Ferraro supporters could feel it‘s time for a serious change. LaBonge has tried to expand Ferraro’s base by cornering some major environmental endorsements: the Sierra Club and Lewis MacAdams of Friends of the Los Angeles River, who says LaBonge even taught him things about that oppressed stream -- in which LaBonge swam as a child. “He even got Tom Bradley interested in saving the river,” MacAdams recalls.
But otherwise, LaBonge is part of the old city. And being the most familiar and friendly face on the block may no longer, in an age of urban distrust and transition, be the key to winning close local elections.