Labor federation backs seven for Los Angeles City Council


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The powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor on Tuesday threw its weight behind seven City Council candidates in the March 5 election -- but remained silent on L.A.’s three biggest contests.

The federation, which represents more than 600,000 workers from 300 union locals, did not endorse candidates for mayor, city controller and city attorney, delaying those decisions until the May 21 runoff election. But the group made a choice in seven of eight council races, backing current or former Sacramento lawmakers in all but two contests.


An endorsement from the federation -- the second-largest central labor body in the nation -- can result in campaign mailers, volunteers or an expensive independent expenditure campaign on behalf of a candidate.

On the Eastside, the group picked Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) over Jose Gardea, chief of staff to Councilman Ed Reyes. Both men are seeking to replace Reyes in a district that includes Mt. Washington, Lincoln Heights and Westlake.

On the Westside, the federation chose Councilman Paul Koretz, a former state assemblyman considered a reliable vote for labor interests. And in the San Fernando Valley, the federation picked two lawmakers looking to leave Sacramento: Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), who is running to replace Councilman Dennis Zine, and Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), who is seeking to replace Councilman Richard Alarcon.

In South Los Angeles, the federation backed state Sen. Curren Price (D-Los Angeles) in the race to replace Councilwoman Jan Perry. Other candidates in that race include Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), Deputy Police Chief Terry Hara and Ana Cubas, former chief of staff to Councilman Jose Huizar, who is a major labor ally.

In an Echo Park-to-Hollywood council district, the endorsement went to former Board of Public Works member John Choi, who has worked for both the Federation of Labor and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Other candidates in that contest include Matt Szabo, Villaraigosa’s former deputy chief of staff; Mitch O’Farrell, former aide to Councilman Eric Garcetti; Jose Sigala, a former aide to Councilman Richard Alarcon; and Assistant L.A. city Fire Chief Emile Mack.

In a coastal district stretching from Pacific Palisades south to Los Angeles International Airport, the federation chose Mike Bonin, chief of staff to Councilman Bill Rosendahl. The federation’s Committee on Political Education asked candidates about such matters as policies toward Wal-Mart and ordinances that require a living wage. Each candidate needed two-thirds support to win an endorsement.

“We’re solidly united behind candidates who will stand up for working families to move our city and schools forward,’ said Maria Elena Durazo, who heads the federation.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall