Looking to thank their supporters without having to share the spotlight, three city councilmen staged swearing-in ceremonies Sunday in advance of today's official inauguration at City Hall.
Compared with the six rookie council members taking office, two-year incumbent Alex Padilla, 28, is a City Hall veteran. Padilla celebrated the beginning of his first full, four-year term with more than 600 supporters at the San Fernando Mission.
The party for the northeast Valley's councilman and native son brought out a who's who of politicians from City Hall, Sacramento and Washington, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks and Padilla's former boss, Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Mission Hills).
James K. Hahn, who will be inaugurated this morning as Los Angeles' 40th mayor, had to refer to his instruction book on how to install an official before he could administer the oath to Padilla, who represents the 7th District.
"I've done this before," Padilla said, his right hand shooting up, his left landing on the Bible.
At a synagogue in Woodland Hills, about 400 supporters of new Councilman Dennis Zine cheered his election. Two judges administered the oath to the former police sergeant and union leader, who represents the southwest San Fernando Valley.
Zine said with so many freshmen council members, a new mayor, city attorney and controller (his predecessor Laura Chick), there will be no excuse for complacency at City Hall.
"If we can't get it done this time around, it's never going to get done," he said.
Across from MacArthur Park, new 1st District Councilman Ed Reyes took his oath from Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles). Reyes, a former council aide and planning department official, was the only council member to have won his seat outright during the April primary and has been waiting three months to take office.
"Now we can get going," Reyes said after Sunday's ceremony. "I've been biting at the bit to get started."
The ceremonies illustrated the patchwork that is Los Angeles and differences among the three officials' districts. Perhaps owing to his gathering's location at Temple Aliyah, many in Zine's audience were Jewish and several, reflecting Zine's heritage, were Lebanese.
At Padilla's celebration, which followed a Catholic Mass, the guest of honor spoke in English and Spanish, forcefully opposing Valley secession.
"This community isn't interested in breaking things up," he said. "We're interested in making things work."