CITY HALL WATCH : Artful Dodger?


Former Los Angeles City Councilman Arthur K. Snyder, facing felony charges of laundering thousands of dollars in secret campaign contributions, asked the judge in the case if he could take a trip abroad. Superior Court Judge John Ouderkirk said yes, Snyder could leave the country. Ouderkirk pooh-poohed the notion that the legendarily wily Snyder is likely to flee or has “a plot to go live in some foreign country.”

Of course the judge must be right. After all, Snyder told him he just wanted to go to Ireland to see his daughter, who’s studying there. (Snyder, who said he recently was told he has cancer, didn’t explain why his daughter couldn’t come here.) And he promised not to go to Taiwan, where his wife has been for months--beyond the reach of an arrest warrant.

The ex-councilman, his wife and several other relatives and associates were indicted in January for allegedly conspiring to channel illegal contributions to local politicians. Snyder, a top City Hall lobbyist, denies all wrongdoing, and he says that after his trip he will return to clear his name.


Of course. We just keep having this recurring nightmare. It’s a movie screen. On the screen is a close-up of the inimitable Snyder. He’s speaking Spanish, the language he learned during his 18 years representing the city’s largely Latino Eastside. In the dream, Snyder speaks slowly. He grins. The words sound familiar:

Hasta la vista, baby!

We wake up in a cold sweat. It was only a dream. It didn’t happen. And it couldn’t--could it?