Tom Hayden has been one of the gutsiest politicians in California, whether you like him or not.
I've always admired him for that. It's not surprising to see that Hayden alone, so far among local civic leaders, is asking an obvious question also raised by my piece in L.A. Weekly today: isn't Bill Bratton's new job, potentially, a gigantic conflict of interest? Doesn't anyone in Los Angeles give a damn about the rules when it involves a popular guy?
I gave credit in my piece today to Tim Rutten, the first journalist, to my knowledge, to start blowing the whistle on Bratton's revolving-door deal with his chum, Michael Cherkasky.
But critics began arguing months ago that Bratton was showing some real, tin-ear problems when it came to his own ethics as a public figure. He shocked many people by starting to endorse political candidates. Many of his preferred candidates and ballot measures lost, including his backing of Jack Weiss for city controller and Gil Cedillo for Congress, and Bratton made some permanent enemies for no good reason.
Something about his behavior in the past several months doesn't add up — that's the message from Hayden today, and now others are asking the same kinds of questions.