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Alatorre Hires Pasadena's City Director Cole as Aide

January 02, 1986|DEBORAH HASTINGS | Times Staff Writer

Pasadena City Director Rick Cole has been hired as a legislative aide by newly elected Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre.

Cole, who will continue to serve on the Pasadena Board of City Directors, will assume his new $35,000-a-year post on Jan. 4.

"I see it as an opportunity to learn more about local government," Cole said this week. "I think the election of (a) Hispanic is a historic opportunity for Los Angeles."

Cole, a free-lance journalist and public-relations consultant, has not held a full-time job outside Pasadena's City Hall for almost a year. City directors, who serve on a part-time basis, are paid a maximum salary of $250 per month.

Resigned to Avoid Conflict

Cole resigned in December, 1984, from Pasadena Media Inc., which publishes Pasadena Weekly, citing possible conflicts of interests with the weekly newspaper, which closely covers the board.

Cole said he foresees no conflict with his new job. "Unless you live in an ivory tower, you can't rule out any conflict of interest. Compared to being a realtor, a banker or a lawyer, I think this is much less," he said, in an apparent reference to the occupations of his fellow board members. They include Jo Heckman, a real estate agent, Bill Thomson, a lawyer, and Mayor Bill Bogaard, an attorney with First Interstate Bank.

Bogaard said he had not given much thought to Cole's new job, but added that he did not think there would be any conflicts. "If the two activities--working within the jurisdiction of Pasadena and the jurisdiction of L. A.--are kept separate, there shouldn't be any particular problem."

During his 1983 election campaign to unseat incumbent Stephen Acker, Cole was accused by Acker of having never held a full-time job, a charge Cole vehemently denied. Before his election, Cole worked for Charles J. Reilly Co., a public-relations firm in Pasadena. He has also said he worked for Dennis Kucinich in 1979 when Kucinich was mayor of Cleveland.

Alatorre, a former member of the state Assembly, is the first Latino to serve on the Los Angeles City Council in more than two decades. He won the seat in the 14th District, which includes Eagle Rock, Highland Park and other parts of the Eastside, earlier this month in a special election to replace Art Snyder, who resigned after 18 years.

Policy Development

Cole, 32, said his job with Alatorre will consist of research and policy development.

Alatorre's press deputy said Cole was chosen by Alatorre for his knowledge of municipal government. Cole "understands the pressures and concerns that elected officials have, being one himself," Tom Sullivan said.

Sullivan said Alatorre had "always been very impressed with Rick's abilities" and doubted there would be a conflict between Cole's two jobs. "It's not unusual to have people working for the City Council of Los Angeles who are elected officials in their own cities," Sullivan said.

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