Former Los Angeles CIty Councilman Joel Wachs on Wednesday endorsed Hollywood Christine Essel in the highly contentious, high-spending race to fill the second district council seat left open by Wendy Greuel, who became City Controller in July.

Wachs has been fairly quiet since leaving politics in 2001 after an unsuccessful run for mayor. He became president of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York. He usually ignores requests for comment on City Hall issues here.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Wachs said:

“For years, I've known Chris Essel to be an honest, hardworking businesswoman. I trust her to protect Valley neighborhoods from rampant overdevelopment. You can trust Christine Essel – she won't be afraid to shake up City Hall. I'm happy to be supporting her in Tuesday's important special election.”

Wachs was somewhat of a maverick in City Hall, especially by today's standards. He stood nearly alone against public subsidies for the development of Staples Center under the ownership of billionaire Philip Anschutz, and he railed against government waste.

Essel, a former Paramount vice president and onetime vice chair of the California Film Commission, is running against Assemblyman Paul Krekorian. Election day is Tuesday.

LA Weekly