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By Jill Stewart
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One More Time, Rocky
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo won another four years at the city’s second highest electoral post and spent election night hitting the other candidates’ parties. At Jim Hahn’s Conga Room bash, Delgadillo had fun being coy about speculation that he will run for state attorney general next year.
“Are you going to be city attorney for the next four years?” he was asked.
“I’m going to protect the residents of the city of Los Angeles, and I’m going to work on that every day,” he said.
“For four years?”
“As long as it takes,” he said. “I’m going to work to protect the residents of the city of Los Angeles.”
“Are you going to serve out your term?”
“I’m going to, again, protect the residents of the city of Los Angeles for as long as I can,” he said. “And as long as I’m doing a good job. And as long as they’ll have me.”
Wheels of Democracy
A fleet of stretch limos are lined up outside the campaign headquarters of Peter Torres. The longshot candidate for City Council in the 9th District spent his last $2,000 on these fancy wheels to lure would-be voters who need a ride to the polls. However, reality requires an adjustment. “Most people won’t be home until after 5 p.m.,” says Torres, sheepish but looking sharp in his navy-blue suit, light-blue shirt and gold tie. “We’re going to re-assess.”
He sends back all of the limos except the one that will drive slowly behind him for the next nine hours, as he knocks on doors from Watts to South-Central to Little Tokyo and Bunker Hill. “We can bring them back tonight and try again,” he says gamely.
The 38-year-old Torres did not sleep last night. He’s lost 10 pounds. He remains calm — even when he later discovers that someone has ripped the central phone line to his campaign headquarters from the circuit box out on San Pedro Avenue.
He climbs into the limo, which heads south on San Pedro. Behind the wheel is Samuel “Cashdro” Lee, an aspiring record producer who bears a striking resemblance to former Minnesota Twins slugger Kirby Puckett. Pedestrians gawk at the limo, with its “Torres for City Council” signs in Spanish. A senior lead officer in Newton Division, Torres gets cell-phone calls from his friends in the LAPD who have spotted him.
At Torres’ instruction, Lee stops at 24th Street, 32nd Street, 85th Street, 92nd Street and 93rd Street. Each time, Torres jumps out and, clutching a list of registered voters, begins to knock on doors, walking numerous blocks as Lee keeps the motor running. Silvia Rodriguez says she would like to shower first but ends up accepting Torres’ offer of a ride to the nearby poll on South Maple Avenue. On 92nd Street, a Latino tells Torres that he already voted for Eddie Reyes, the other challenger, because he looked younger in his photo. An elderly woman with a Jan Perry sign on her lawn tells Torres she is impressed by his shoe-leather approach to campaigning. She will vote for him, she says, and he can take the Perry sign off her lawn if he wants.
Lee is not registered to vote in Los Angeles, but he too likes what he sees. A former member of the East Coast Crips from the Aliso Village projects in Boyle Heights, he went straight long ago. He’s seen his share of politicians in the rearview mirror of his limo. This is the first time he’s been hired to follow someone door-to-door. By now, Torres has pulled a block and a half ahead. Lee, parked under a shade tree on 93rd, gazes at the candidate and says: “A man on a mission.”