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Is L.A. City Council Candidate John Choi a No-Show?

Read L.A. Weekly's "Who is Mystery Man John Choi?"

Los Angeles City Council District 13 candidate John Choi is getting slammed by his opponent, Mitch O'Farrell. He says Choi has shown a disturbing "pattern" of being a "no-show" at important candidates' forums.

"Voters deserve the right to hear about our experience, our ideas, and to ask the tough questions and evaluate for themselves how we deal with complicated issues," O'Farrell says in a recent press release.

CD 13 is one of the most coveted political jobs in Los Angeles, where either Choi or O'Farrell will represent the Tri-Hipster Area of Hollywood, Silver Lake, and Echo Park and find himself in perfect position to run for higher office. The Choi campaign says O'Farrell is full of malarkey.

"John has been to multiple forums this election, attending many during the primary, and is fully accessible to voters," Choi campaign consultant Mike Shimpock tells L.A. Weekly via email. "Perhaps Mitch should spend more time talking to voters instead of documenting our schedule."

By O'Farrell's count, Choi missed three out of 9 candidates' forums before the March 5 primary and failed to appear at an April 18 Echo Park Chamber of Commerce debate. O'Farrell says he's never missed a candidates' forum.

"I certainly hope my opponent will keep his commitment to attending these debates as I have," says O'Farrell in his press release. "I challenge my opponent to attend the remaining community debates. I have never been nor will I ever be a no-show in Council District 13."

Choi is a former Department of Public Works commissioner who's received heavy backing from City Hall insiders such as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor chief Maria Elena Durazo. The County Fed has spent hundreds of thousands in independent expenditure money on the Choi campaign.

O'Farrell is a longtime Glassell Park resident and former aide to District 13 Councilman Eric Garcetti, who's running for mayor. In 2012, Choi moved into Echo Park in CD 13, with an eye for capturing the City Council seat Garcetti has occupied since 2001.

Many neighborhood activists in CD 13 charge that Choi is a carpet bagger whose loyalties lie with City Hall special interests such the County Fed. For 10 years, O'Farrell worked as a top field deputy for Garcetti.

The next candidates' forum takes place on May 5 in Silver Lake. Election Day comes May 21.

Read L.A. Weekly's "L.A. City Council District 13 March Election."

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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