Voters in City Council District 13 are choosing from a crowded field of 12 candidates vying to represent one of the most diverse and vibrant areas in the city, stretching from Hollywood across to Silver Lake and Echo Park and down through historic Filipinotown to Koreatown.
The district improved during the nearly 12 years it was represented by
Of several strong candidates in the race, Mitch O'Farrell is best suited to meet these challenges. A former field deputy and senior advisor to Garcetti, he is articulate, tenacious and well versed on the district. He is highly regarded for his responsiveness and his ability to deliver service to residents and business. He has a firm understanding of the need for more affordable housing, and has called for a citywide blueprint to deal with the problem. He wants to revamp outdated zoning laws. He has specific proposals for cutting spending, including eliminating the Board of Public Works.
O'Farrell isn't perfect. Like other candidates, he has promised to restore city services, including adding staffing at some fire stations, without explaining where he will find the money to do so. At the district level, he has not — nor have his opponents — focused much on the needs of residents other than those with clout, money and the right to vote. Nevertheless, he seems more ready than his rivals to perform effectively on the City Council.
Matt Szabo is experienced and politically shrewd. He touts his experience in helping pull the city back from the brink of insolvency as Mayor
John Choi has raised the most money in the race, but he's not ready for the job. He has served as a commissioner on the Board of Public Works, but he still has a lot to learn about the district's needs and how City Hall works. At one community forum, the candidates were called on to discuss the long-running battle over Barlow Respiratory Hospital, a century-old facility tucked into the hills of Elysian Park near
Also troubling was Choi's statement at a Service Employees International Union endorsement meeting, where, as reported in the LA Weekly, he vowed that if elected, he wouldn't "abandon" labor. "If you endorse me," he said, "you're going to be on the inside. We're going to decide who to open the door for." Aligning oneself with labor is one thing, but virtually promising to take unions into City Hall with him suggests a lack of independent thinking, or perhaps more more concern for labor than for his constituents.