Despite Odds, Holden Says Decision to Run for Mayor Is ‘Not Reversible’

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden announced Friday that he has made a “final and not reversible” decision to run against Tom Bradley for mayor despite a shortage of funds and long odds against victory.

“I think the time has come to put aside the guessing game and I strongly believe the people of the city of Los Angeles are willing, at least, to consider someone else for that office,” Holden said. “I declare my candidacy for mayor is final and not reversible.”

Holden had filed papers for the April 11 mayoral primary but said last week that he would not actually run unless he received $400,000 in campaign pledges. The councilman said he had abandoned that fund-raising strategy because many potential supporters were unwilling to contribute to an undeclared candidate.


Although he is just one of 25 possible challengers to Bradley, Holden and former county Supervisor Baxter Ward are the best known. Holden said he decided to challenge Bradley because he thinks the 16-year incumbent can be beaten.

But Holden and the other challengers may have limited chances to confront Bradley. Dee Dee Meyers, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said Friday that Bradley will engage in a “citywide discussion of the issues” but will not debate the candidates.

Holden seemed evasive when questioned about the viability of his fledgling candidacy, which followed a recent decision by fellow Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky to drop out of the mayoral contest. He declined to say how much money he has raised or might raise. Holden also refused to say whether his former boss, Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, had urged him not to run against Bradley, whom Hahn has endorsed.

For nine years after losing a congressional race in 1978, Holden was a Hahn deputy. In 1987, he left Hahn’s office after winning the 10th City Council District seat.

Pressed on his discussions with Hahn, Holden finally acknowledged that the veteran supervisor was not enthusiastic about his former deputy’s possible candidacy.

"(Hahn) just said, ‘Make sure you don’t get hurt,’ ” Holden said.

The councilman also backed off from his contentions, as reported in the Daily News on Friday, that Bradley, a black, had been relatively free from attacks from whites because they feared “alienating the black community.”

Without denying that he made such a statement, Holden, who is also black, said at first that he goes by “what people say to me.” Pressed, however, on whether he believes that whites have not criticized Bradley, Holden said, “That could have some validity and I’ll leave it at that.”

Bradley, through his campaign office, refused to comment on Holden’s remarks.