By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Then there is City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who already has grabbed the distinction of being the first citywide elected Latino official in the modern era. Delgadillo has his eye on the Mayor's Office — and he may not wait until 2009.
Labor, too, is watching the 14th District closely. Latinos were supposed to lead a labor coalition into power in City Hall, but things got complicated. The question now is not only Which Latinos — Valley versus Eastside, golden boys versus old school — but also Which labor.
Hahn was elected with the backing of city-employee unions like the police, the firefighters, the blue-collar workers and the bureaucrats — and the opposition of nearly every labor group outside of City Hall. Contreras, meanwhile, invested a lot in Villa-raigosa and isn't about to give up on him.
"We don't need a councilman to play it safe," Contreras says. "Or conservative. We need council members like Antonio Villaraigosa who are willing to back an agenda for a progressive Los Angeles."
Because of the Torres mailers, though, observers are also watching the race to get a sense of how future campaigning might look. The question will be, Did the mailers work?
Art Snyder, the scandal-tainted but still-beloved former 14th District councilman, sought to connect the Torres mailers' anti-"gringo" references to a legacy of Eastside racial hatred marked by the Sleepy Lagoon murders and the Zoot Suit Riots.
"Pacheco has dumped a political garbage can over the people of the 14th District as the opening gun of his campaign to try to blind us to the real issues," Snyder told a gathering of the League of United Latin American Citizens. "And he promises Antonio that this is just the beginning. When I saw what has been done to this point, I decided that this may be the beginning for Pacheco's campaign, but as far as I am concerned it is the end for him. For you see, once this kind of campaign is shown to be successful in an area, it will be repeated again and again until it is defeated."
Snyder could have a point. The outcome of the 14th Council District race could end up having at least as much influence on future campaign tactics as it does on City Hall power shifts or the future shape of Latino leadership.
"If it works," political analyst Ayon says, "you get one set of lessons out of this. If it doesn't, you get another — it will effectively bury those tactics for the foreseeable future."
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