Los Angeles, the international city, has been led into civic isolationism here at home, aloof and apart from the state and federal governments on which it is dependent, in the view of one councilman who wants to be mayor.
Interviewed by reporters on Tuesday, Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky described Mayor Tom Bradley as a man "who keeps his own counsel" and who declines to reach out to key officials in Sacramento or Washington, or even up the street to the County Hall of Administration.
"It does bother me that we have Sister City relationships with Eilat, Israel; Bordeaux, France, and Nagoya, Japan, but when it comes to Sacramento, we have a communications problem," Yaroslavsky said.
Lack of Discussion
He added that Bradley, a Democrat, had not spoken about policy matters to Gov. George Deukmejian, a Republican, since the two men debated in their 1982 election campaign for the governorship. They ran against each other again in 1986 but did not debate or talk face-to-face.
"I do not know of any other major municipality that does not have a relationship with the state's chief executive. And we pay a price for it" in the allocation of money for the city and in response to legislation affecting the city, Yaroslavsky said.
At the federal level, Yaroslavsky cited Bradley's much-sought transit project, Metro Rail. The councilman said the mayor "wasn't interested in talking" about Metro Rail with Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) at a time when Waxman was fighting to block a planned Fairfax area route for the rail line. Routing of the line remains undetermined in that part of the city.
Yaroslavsky said Bradley's relations with county officials also were distant. Until recently, the councilman said, "there was very little communications between the city and county." Now, the two are working cooperatively to assist the homeless, but Yaroslavsky said the credit belongs to private developer Nathan Shapell, who encouraged both Bradley and county Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
The critique of Bradley is one of the most unfriendly so far from Yaroslavsky as he sizes up the mayor's political strength. Bradley has declared his intention to run for fifth term as mayor in 1989 and Yaroslavsky is among those poised to challenge him.
Bradley aides reacted sharply to the criticism, although they acknowledged that the mayor has virtually no working relationship with Deukmejian. According to the governor's office, the two have not even spoken for a year, and then only in passing.
"Obviously, someone has grossly misinformed the councilman," said Deputy Mayor Mike Gage. "(Bradley's) way is to work quietly and behind the scenes. It always has been."
Press Secretary Ali Webb said Bradley deserves credit for productive relationships with Congress on behalf of Metro Rail, now under construction, and with the county on behalf of the homeless.