Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner endorsed Assemblyman Richard Alatorre on Wednesday to be the next Los Angeles City Council representative from the city's Eastside.
Reiner's endorsement follows one last week from the political arm of the American Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and is expected to be followed by endorsements from other prominent politicians, including Mayor Tom Bradley. Those close to Alatorre and Bradley say they are certain that the mayor will endorse Alatorre, a 13-year incumbent Democrat in the Assembly and influential Latino official.
Alatorre is a candidate in the Dec. 10 special election to choose a replacement for former 14th District Councilman Arthur K. Snyder, who resigned last month.
Reiner called Alatorre, whose Assembly district contains about 75% of the 14th District, "far and away the most qualified person for that (council) seat."
Other candidates for the seat have criticized Alatorre for collecting endorsements while avoiding public debates. Alatorre dismissed the criticism as sour grapes.
"They all want endorsements. They try to get them. I get them, then it becomes a bad thing," Alatorre countered. As for debates, he said, "I am confident I will be debating . . . in the next two weeks."
Reiner, in a low-key and brief press conference, praised Alatorre's "help in getting bills through that our (district attorney's) office considered essential."
When Reiner was asked for a specific example, however, he said he could not think of any legislation Alatorre initiated regarding law enforcement.
Alatorre aides later pointed to a letter signed by Reiner that mentioned a law co-sponsored by Alatorre that Reiner said helps keep violent felons in prison.
Although Alatorre's reputation in Sacramento has not been one of a hard law-and-order legislator, he is stressing that aspect in his battle to gain support from conservative voters in the district that covers Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Highland Park and Eagle Rock. Eagle Rock voters particularly turned out at the polls in force last year to support the conservative Snyder against a recall effort. Alatorre supported the recall.
In an attempt to attract those voters, Alatorre secured Snyder's endorsement, and Alatorre's package of campaign materials includes a 1983 letter from Republican Gov. George Deukmejian praising him for support on cost control legislation.
The governor's endorsement has gone, however, to a lesser-known candidate, Gilbert Avila, the only Republican in the officially nonpartisan race.
Avila, a former special assistant to the governor and once the highest-ranking Latino in the Administration, is holding a $100-per-person reception Thursday that the governor will attend, according to a Deukmejian spokesman. Avila and barber shop owner John Silva filed candidacy petitions by the Tuesday deadline, but the city clerk's office has not finished checking to see if they have enough signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot.
Five candidates for council representative in the 14th District already have qualified for the ballot: Alatorre; Dorothy Andromidas, a housewife and member of Lyndon H. LaRouche's National Democratic Policy Committee; Antonio Rodriguez, an attorney and executive director of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, a legal aid center for the poor; Steve Rodriguez, a city planner on leave who challenged Snyder for the seat twice; and Ross Valencia, a former aide to Snyder and former state Sen. Alex Garcia.