The political clout LAANE brings to the table is not really its own. It belongs chiefly to the L.A. County Federation of Labor, whose election-day batting average is so high that local elected officials flout its agenda — which very much includes LAANE’s agenda — on virtual penalty of political death. It would be an overstatement to say that the Fed provides the muscle and LAANE the brain for working-class Los Angeles — Fed leader Miguel Contreras is an innovative strategist and Janis-Aparicio is no mean organizer — but it wouldn’t be wrong exactly, either.
A trip through the city’s corridors of power these days provides a clear indication of the effect LAANE has had over the past decade. “The debate is different now,” says Janis-Aparicio. “Decision-makers talk about poverty and the lack of affordable housing, in City Council meetings, at commissions, even at the Chamber of Commerce.” In a city of chutes, LAANE has assembled some ladders.