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
The race on the Eastside between Councilman Jose Huizar and embittered council aide Alvin Parra went negative early and often, with Parra portraying Huizar as a lazy cuss who grew bored with the job less than a year after he was elected. Huizar, in turn, described Parra as a three-time loser with nothing to offer the electorate except trash talk.
Parra did manage to rattle Huizar’s cage, forcing the councilman to hustle on such issues as a recycling facility in Boyle Heights, open space in El Sereno and development fights in Mount Washington. Huizar, a land-use lawyer known for bragging about his planning degree from Princeton University, didn’t help himself by doing illegal construction work at his El Sereno home — a screw-up from 2003 that came back to haunt him in this year’s campaign.
But the outcome was never in doubt, thanks to Huizar’s 5-1 fund-raising advantage. Huizar used his campaign bankroll of more than $300,000, amassed in large part by developers and lobbyists who will need his vote on the council’s powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee, and blew Parra out of the water on Election Day.
A similar narrative played out in the Northeast San Fernando Valley, where Alarcón handily defeated Monica Rodriguez, an executive with the California Association of Realtors. A veteran politician in the San Fernando Valley, Alarcón secured 54 percent of the vote despite a steady drumbeat of criticism over his decision to run for council just days after he won a seat in the state Assembly.
Still, victory did not come without humiliating moments. Asked to appear on the Telemundo newsmagazine En Contexto, Alarcón answered questions while sitting under a huge graphic displaying the word “¿Oportunista?”
Rodriguez hammered on Alarcón for hopping from campaign to campaign, highlighting his bids for Los Angeles mayor, state Senate and state Assembly by plastering his mug on a frog. She also produced the most blisteringly negative mailer of the 2007 election — one that linked Alarcón’s lack of commitment to his Assembly district to infidelity in his romantic life. The piece zeroed in on Alarcón’s penchant for spending campaign money on his current girlfriend, past girlfriend and ex-wife.
Privately, most council members groaned at the thought of Alarcón returning to City Hall. But in the face of the political machine assembled by Villaraigosa and Speaker Fabian Núñez, no one wanted to step out and endorse Rodriguez, leaving her to be crushed by Alarcón’s well-funded campaign. And so now the council has Alarcón to contend with once again, quite probably until 2013. Unless, of course, the voters relax term limits yet again, letting him stay even longer.
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