By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Candidate Simon, a Beverlywood Homeowner Association member, takes a more rebellious tack with regard to Westside politics, saying, “There are some very vocal homeowner groups that exercise a lot of influence. I’m not sure who they represent.”
Simon plays up her ability to resist developers, wants more cops and is opposed to Villaraigosa’s one-way Pico Boulevard plan. Of Weiss, she says, “We’ve had someone for the past eight years who was more interested in policy than ensuring the quality of life.”
Simon has lost three political races before, and has done a lot of civic work. She was on the city’s Planning Commission for five years, gaining firsthand knowledge of all those variances, zoning changes and development approvals that so infuriate residents in Council District 5.
Another angle the candidates are mining is the fact that the district’s Jewish population is so influential. “I can’t remember a time when someone who wasn’t Jewish represented this district,” says Sue Burnside, an L.A.-based political consultant. So all the candidates display their Jewish street-cred.
Bleich, a former aide to Weiss, is an Orthodox Jew who was L.A. director of the American Israeli Political Action Committee. Simon’s got pictures of herself reading at temple. Koretz is the son of a Holocaust survivor. Galperin, an openly gay candidate married to a rabbi, was a “Super Sunday” phone volunteer for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles.
Unlike his competitors, fiscal reform at City Hall is lawyer Galperin’s top priority. “We’ve got people who owe” the city $1.1 billion, he says. “We’re failing to collect. Imagine the income we could be bringing in if we actually enforced our own laws.”
Schwartz is the only Valley resident in the race. He did not callL.A. Weekly back, but the entertainment attorney is promising Valley residents that he’ll create a district director focused just on the Valley, and that he’ll try to revitalize L.A. film production.
Amidst these strong personalities, former officeholder Koretz has not gotten traction in the “free media” — nor is his record memorable. He authored a law banning a type of sniper gun, and others favoring labor. But he has often focused on small-time issues like his West Hollywood leaf-blower law. (He cut the number of leaf blowers allowed to operate simultaneously by one — that is, one, single leaf blower — which Koretz describes as “protecting the environment.”)
Speaking to L.A. Weekly, Koretz sounded defensive, demanding of the other candidates, “What have they actually done? Nothing! There’s no reason to expect them to be able to accomplish anything!”
That’s not entirely, or even mostly, true — so the other five candidates, most of them long-involved activists who are sick of insiders, have reserved their attacks almost exclusively for Koretz.
“He doesn’t have a history of achieving real results,” shoots back Galperin, noting that past District 5 elections show the residents prefer newcomers.“The Fifth has a history of electing people who have never run for office before,” says Galperin. “This goes back 60 years.”