Los Angeles City Council candidate Homer Broome Jr., who faces former state Sen. Nate Holden in the June 2 election for the vacant 10th District seat, went on the offensive Friday, blasting his opponent's record as an RTD director and labeling a plan by Holden to attract federal funds as "absolutely irresponsible."
Broome's sharp attack on Holden, including his activities as a director of the beleaguered Southern California Rapid Transit District, came during the taping of a local television show. It drew a heated response from Holden, who accused Broome of "propagating false information."
In what was the liveliest exchange of their campaign, the two men interrupted one another, questioned each other's integrity and persistently argued their qualifications for the vacant council job on the half-hour "Channel 4 News Conference" show.
At one point, Broome said Holden was "a person who has no administrative capability."
"We have a person who is not only ineffective but inefficient," he said.
Referring to a newspaper report that Holden had waited two years to turn in various expense accounts as an RTD director, Broome said it was a reflection of his opponent's administrative skills. He also criticized Holden for billing the district to hire "a woman (to) come to his house once a month to do his paper work."
"Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute!" Holden protested to the show's moderator, Saul Halpert. "He cannot get away with that."
"You're saying that's not true, right?" Halpert asked.
"That is correct," answered Holden, "because the board authorizes extra secretarial services for the board members, and I was authorized to use that as a minimum, so this is false information."
Afterward, Holden, a four-year member of the transit board, told reporters that the use of the extra secretarial service was a legitimate expense and defended the practice. He has previously said that the secretary's services cost the district about $100 a month.
During the television show, which will air Sunday at 9 a.m., Holden maintained that he had "never retained . . . receipts for two years" before turning them in, but he later told reporters that he would have "to look at the time period," adding that any delay was because he was in no hurry to be reimbursed by the district.
Holden, who finished ahead of Broome in the April primary, then accused Broome of "scratching for straws" by raising the RTD issue.
Broome, meanwhile, also ridiculed a Holden proposal for seeking federal funds for a pilot anti-drug program in Los Angeles.
Holden recently proposed that the state request funds for the program from the federal government, suggesting that the state is entitled to the money because of what he regards as an overpayment of federal taxes by state residents ever since Proposition 13 passed in 1978.
By lowering property taxes, Holden argued, Proposition 13 also reduced the deductions for property taxes that state residents could report on their federal income taxes and has caused Californians to pay an additional $48 billion in federal taxes.
On Friday, Broome called the plan outrageous, ludicrous and "absolutely irresponsible."
"Let me just say, if you don't ask, you don't get," Holden retorted.
The television appearance followed a more sedate performance by both candidates before the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles. As he did during the television debate, Holden called for the abolishment of the Board of Public Works as a means to pay for such city services as additional police officers.
Broome, a former board member, defended the panel as "probably the best public forum that the City of Los Angeles has."