Aides to Joy Picus have labeled "outrageous" claims that the councilwoman has done nothing to stop the proposed housing of "Skid Row vagrants" in closed West Valley schools.
The charge, contained in a mailer sent out by Los Angeles City Council candidate Matt Lynch, was among several last-minute developments in the increasingly contentious election campaign. On Saturday, Jon Lorenzen, another Picus opponent, distributed a flyer to teen-agers containing Picus' home phone number and urged them to call the councilwoman to protest her proposal to restrict the operations of teen discos.
The Lynch mailer says, "The downtown politicians . . . want to house thousands of Skid Row vagrants" in the schools.
"It's a bad idea," the mailer adds, "because it would pose a danger to our crime-ridden neighborhood."
Picus, the mailer continues, has "done nothing" to stop the plan.
"That's outrageous," said Picus campaign manager Betsy Eaton. She accused Lynch of playing to people's fears.
"It is using inflammatory language to frighten people about something that doesn't exist."
County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn in February proposed that West Valley schools, closed last year because of declining enrollment, be used as temporary shelters for the homeless, "not winos or derelicts."
His proposal would require approval of the Board of Education, which owns the schools, and the City Council, which has jurisdiction over land use.
No formal proposal has been presented to the council, Eaton said, adding, "It was just Kenny Hahn mouthing off."
Eaton said Picus has vowed to "look closely at any rezoning for use of the schools for other than educational things."
Lynch responded, "I think it's a legitimate issue . . . . As I walk precincts, this is an issue that people bring up."
He said Picus should be speaking out against the proposal in an effort to kill it before it reaches the council.
He also defended the reference to Skid Row vagrants, noting that they make up large numbers of the homeless.
Teen Discos Issue
Lorenzen showed up at a press conference called by yet another Picus challenger, Gary Klein, outside the Canoga Park teen disco Phases.
Klein held the press conference to criticize Picus for legislation she proposed last week to restrict operations of teen discos by requiring a midnight closing for the club on week nights. It would also make parents of patrons under 18 sign a consent form in the presence of club owners before their children could be admitted.
"The school district decided that 14- and 15-year-olds are mature enough to attend high school," Klein said. "Why can't high school students going to the same school go to a dance club?"
Klein said he had no objections to the presence of Lorenzen, who defended a flyer he distributed to teen-agers outside the club, urging them to call Picus at home.
Fair or Unfair?
Pointing out that Picus' home phone number is listed, Lorenzen said, "If she wants to claim she's accessible, it's not unfair at all."
East, the campaign manager for Picus, accused Lorenzen of "not playing fair."
"It's obviously an attempt to harass the councilwoman," she said, noting that the flyer contained the office numbers for the other City Council members but the home number for Picus.
Efforts to reach Picus for comment were unsuccessful. Calls to her home were not answered.