About a quarter of a century ago, Ed Davis, then a Los Angeles police officer, used go before the City Council Finance Committee to ask for bigger Police Department appropriations.
The committee chairman was Tom Bradley, then a city councilman and Davis’ old classmate in the Police Academy class of 1940. As Davis recalled it, Bradley was always reluctant to add money. Memories lingered, exacerbated by later events. Bradley became mayor. He and Davis, by then chief of police, continued to fight over the budget.
That is the main reason, said Davis, why he appeared at the San Fernando Valley police headquarters in Van Nuys on Monday and endorsed City Councilman Nate Holden for mayor.
“Tom Bradley is a disaster for the city of Los Angeles as far as law enforcement goes, and he won’t change,” said Davis, now a Republican state senator from Valencia.
Asked for comment, Bill Chandler of the mayor’s press office said Bradley would have nothing to say.
Precisely what benefit Davis’ endorsement will bring to the Holden campaign is unclear.
His Senate district is mostly in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and includes just a portion of the city, a section of the West San Fernando Valley where Democrat Bradley has always had trouble. Holden, like Bradley, is a liberal Democrat. Like the mayor, he is black. Davis’ constituency is predominantly white and largely conservative.
Holden, standing side by side with Davis, welcomed the former chief’s support as a help in his effort to take Valley votes away from the mayor.
Davis’ decision to oppose Bradley is not a surprise. Although they served together on the Police Department until Bradley retired as a lieutenant, they have always been political opponents.
“I deliberately didn’t support Tom Bradley when he ran against Sam Yorty,” Davis said. Bradley defeated Yorty for mayor in 1973.
” I had to put the (department) budget in front of Finance Committee Chairman Tom Bradley. . . . I will never support Tom Bradley unless he reforms.”
Bradley has always said that Davis, as chief, had wanted a department top-heavy with brass and that the chief wanted to spend too much money on high-tech law enforcement equipment. He used to make fun of Davis for suggesting that the department get a submarine to intercept drug imports.