Political Briefing


Eyes on the prize: Politically speaking, the big event in the Valley in 1994 will be the race for the Van Nuys-based state Senate seat now held by Senate leader David A. Roberti, who will be forced out of the job next year by term limits.

The candidate lineup won’t be finalized until early next year, but the most talked-about contenders so far are Democratic Assembly members Richard Katz of Sylmar and Barbara Friedman of Van Nuys.

Both Katz’s and Friedman’s districts overlap Roberti’s and both Assembly members have expressed some interest in the job. Both also are career officeholders looking for an escape hatch from the Legislature before term limits descend on them, guillotine-like, in 1996.


But a Katz-Friedman matchup would be a classic case of political fratricide that would badly divide local Democrats. Both are social liberals with close ties to organized labor, and union leaders are likely to work hard behind the scenes to prevent a donnybrook among such old allies.

Katz took a drubbing in the mayoral primary, but can be expected to pull down big special-interest bucks for a 1994 run with the help of his pal, Assembly Speaker Willie Brown.

Friedman transplanted herself to the Valley after reapportionment collapsed her Mid-Wilshire-to-Atwater Village district in 1992 and is still not well-known here. But she is a key member of the influential political organization headed by Reps. Henry A. Waxman and Howard L. Berman, whose minions will work long hours to line up campaign cash and endorsements for her.