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Alatorre Opens Drive for Council

October 04, 1985|JANET CLAYTON | Times Staff Writer

Assemblyman Richard Alatorre, saying he wants to be part of the government closest to the people, on Thursday formally began his campaign for the Eastside Los Angeles City Council seat to be vacated today by Councilman Arthur K. Snyder.

Snyder, who is resigning to practice law, has endorsed Alatorre for the council seat.

While the race is nonpartisan, the 14th Council District, which extends from predominantly Latino East Los Angeles to the more Anglo communities of Eagle Rock and Highland Park, is heavily Democratic and Alatorre's stature in his party, the result of 13 years in the Legislature, is certain to help him.

At a press conference at Plaza de la Raza in Lincoln Heights, the assemblyman said he was leaving state government to run for city office "to serve the people more directly and more immediately."

If elected, Alatorre said, his priorities would be controlling crime and violence, creating new jobs and building new housing.

While his three rivals all agree with those goals, they have begun to focus criticism on Alatorre, who is seen as the front-runner because he is an elected official and already has begun raising large sums of money.

Steve Rodriguez, an urban planner who unsuccessfully ran against Snyder twice before, this week criticized Alatorre, saying "we are asking voters to reject the office of City Council going to the highest bidder." Rodriguez said he will talk about Alatorre's record and "special interests" during the campaign.

Gilbert Avila, a former special assistant to Gov. George Deukmejian, said Alatorre's presence in the race "indicates bossism politics. I think he'll have to answer to (Assembly Speaker) Willie Brown." (Brown is a close friend of Alatorre and could raise money for Alatorre).

Antonio Rodriguez, an attorney and executive director of the Center for Law and Justice in Boyle Heights, said he believes that the people of the district "are pretty upset" with Alatorre's now-abandoned attempt to be appointed to the council. His will be a grass-roots campaign, Rodriguez said, "as opposed to a campaign designed to buy the vote of people with money coming from Westside millionaires."

Alatorre scoffed at the attacks. "I'm not going to dignify irresponsible remarks," he said Thursday.

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