After Finn died and Woo and Ferraro came up with a new plan that targeted Wachs as its chief victim, Alatorre made it clear he had no sympathy for Wachs. During the debate, he told Wachs: "You certainly were not the victim the last time around. You decided to vote for a plan that met your political interests. . . . You are not a political virgin. And I really hate hypocrisy on this floor."
He's Still Bitter
Wachs remains bitter. "This stuff has not been forgotten," he said.
In the meantime, he said, he is putting all of his efforts into getting reelected in his new district, where he faces a possible challenge from a popular former councilman, Bob Ronka. One thing in Wachs' favor is his accumulation of campaign funds, $635,000 as of June 30.
The other big loser was Russell.
Although her district wasn't even touched in the redistricting, she lost prestige among her colleagues, many of whom said she showed weakness and duplicity in the process.
"She has demonstrated the failure of her leadership," said one of her colleagues.
"I think she's been hurt in the way she handled things," said another.
Feeling of Betrayal
One of those she angered is Alatorre.
A source close to Alatorre said the councilman felt like Russell "pulled the rug out from under him" in the maneuvering that accompanied the first of three redistricting plans that the council acted on.
Alatorre drafted the first plan, which put Woo in the heavily Latino district. The morning the plan went to the council, Russell, to the surprise of many of her colleagues, unveiled a plan of her own which put Woo and Ferraro in the same district.
Alatorre was furious, said a source close to him. "He felt like he took all the heat for redistricting, and then Russell decides she's going to be the savior."
Another council member who said he knew little about the redistricting plans until they were formally presented to the council chided Russell for failing to take greater responsibility for the redistricting. "She let Alatorre run the show," the council member complained. "She didn't take control."
Russell's influence on future council matters may also erode as her coalition of supporters weakens with the death of Finn, one of her strongest backers, and the resignation of Cunningham, another ally.
Russell, however, said in a recent interview that she has seen no signs that she has lost favor with her colleagues.
'I Was Wonderful'
"Oh no, I think they all thought I was wonderful," she said.
Asked if she would run for the council presidency again next July when her two-year term expires, she said, "It's so far away that I really and truly haven't thought about it."
If Russell does falter, the council could replace her in July with Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, who was largely silent during the redistricting debate and avoided making any political mistakes, several on the council said.
A respected council member, Flores acknowledged that there is some unhappiness with Russell, but she insisted that Russell's position remains secure for now.
"I don't believe that the mood of the council is such that it is prepared to reorganize," Flores said. "I think I would have sensed that, and I don't."
For one so close to the fray, Alatorre emerged as one of the biggest winners from the redistricting--a performance that seems to have overcome some of the damage from his recent campaign contribution scandal. He agreed to pay a record $141,966 to settle a lawsuit filed against him by the city attorney for violating campaign laws and to end a criminal case against three Alatorre aides.
The only Latino on the 15-member council, Alatorre also strengthened his political hand by paving the way for election of a second Latino council member, possibly as early as January. Alatorre said he plans to play a major role in the campaign for the open seat in the new, predominantly Latino district located north and west of downtown.
Alatorre's influence could diminish if the candidates he supports fail to win. But so far, during 10 months on the council, he has broadened a strong political base that he had established during 12 years as a state assemblyman.
Alatorre, whom Latino political activists have boosted as a candidate for mayor, stands to gain if Russell and Wachs, two potential mayoral rivals, suffer setbacks to their own political careers.
The other winners from redistricting were Ferraro and Woo, who likened the process to Russian roulette.
Woo, in the first plan, was faced with losing his Hollywood base of support and running for reelection in a heavily Latino district. The second plan would have treated him a little better, giving him a chance to hold onto his Hollywood seat, but he faced the likelihood of running against the veteran Ferraro.
Rivals No More
The third plan, which is now in effect, put Woo and Ferraro in separate districts--Woo safely back in his Hollywood area and Ferraro in his loyal Wilshire District.
Also emerging as a winner was Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky. The plan moved Yaroslavsky's largely Westside district into a portion of the Valley, giving him a larger base of support for a possible run for mayor.