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Yaroslavsky Expresses Interest in Running for Congressional Seat in ’92

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said Thursday he “would be very interested” in running for Congress in 1992 if a new San Fernando Valley congressional district is created when election boundaries are recast.

Yaroslavsky, whose Westside council district extends into the Valley, also disclosed that he has been setting aside campaign funds since July for a possible congressional bid.

“My interest in Congress is real,” Yaroslavsky said in a telephone interview. “I have an abiding interest, as I’ve always had, in national and foreign affairs.”

He cautioned, however, that any commitment would be premature, given uncertainty over how the district lines will be drawn. The Democratic-controlled Legislature is remapping the districts, but the politically sensitive process could be turned over to the state Supreme Court if Republican Gov. Pete Wilson vetoes the plan.

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Yaroslavsky, a 17-year council veteran who seriously considered a 1989 mayoral bid and was widely expected to pursue the office in the future, refused to rule out a citywide candidacy if a congressional seat does not open up.

Yaroslavsky, 42, acknowledged that a congressional race could entail a tough primary fight on largely new turf that would place him at loggerheads with some of his most powerful allies. Veteran Assemblyman Burt Margolin (D-Los Angeles), who is closely associated with the Democratic political alliance headed by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City), also says he has “an intense interest” in running for Congress.

Yaroslavsky worked closely with the Westside-Valley alliance, particularly Howard Berman’s brother, political consultant Michael Berman, in preparing to run for mayor in 1989.

“Obviously, I don’t think Burt or I relish the thought of running against each other,” Yaroslavsky said. “We’re friends. It may be unavoidable, but I hope that doesn’t come to pass.”

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Yaroslavsky’s comments were prompted by two redistricting plans released Wednesday by congressional Democrats that would reshape two Democratic-leaning San Fernando Valley districts. If either plan is adopted, Howard Berman would run for one of the seats.

Yaroslavsky said he would be interested in the seat Berman does not seek. But he said he expects Berman would run in the southwestern Valley seat that would include the heavily Democratic communities of Studio City, Sherman Oaks and Encino. This would leave an East Valley seat extending from North Hollywood to San Fernando, which would be 50% Latino.

Berman said the East Valley district was drawn to maximize minority influence.


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