Although he said he still admires Russell, Smiley said it is unfair to hold him accountable for her policies. He noted that he was only a junior field deputy and worked in the Crenshaw office for just a few months before Russell's defeat.
Ozie Hunt, Russell's chief deputy in Crenshaw, said Smiley was "very good at working on constituent complaints."
Other former co-workers don't remember it quite that way.
They said Smiley was at his best speaking to residents or writing letters, but that he seemed disinterested in correcting constituent problems. "He had lousy follow-through and a way of getting other people to do his work," said one, who requested anonymity.
Hunt said he heard nothing of the complaints. Smiley said his hiring as a Bradley aide was an affirmation of his good work.
Smiley launched his first campaign attack in January with a mailer to 14,000 homes in the Crenshaw-Baldwin Hills area. The mailer charged that Galanter has failed to lure large retailers to the area.
He has pledged to keep development to a minimum in coastal communities. He said he is committed to keeping the Playa Vista development "as low-density as it can be."
But like Galanter, Smiley said he must see a pending environmental impact report on the project before determining how much it could be reduced.
Smiley said that as a council member he would concentrate on expanding the local environmental movement. "The city is spending big money on recycling," he said, citing one example. "But that needs to be expanded to other parts of the city, like South-Central L.A."
J. Wilson Bowman doesn't go by a first name. Just J. Some friends like to call her "Dr. J" since she has a doctorate in educational administration.
The nickname emphasizes Bowman's interest in education.
The Compton College administrator, who directs job training and other special programs, says that as a council member she would save money and solve problems by enlisting college students, instead of highly paid consultants, to tackle some issues. Special projects by USC and UCLA students would bring in innovative ideas on difficult topics, such as promoting economic development in the Crenshaw District, Bowman suggested.
The coal miner's daughter who graduated from Tuskegee University in Alabama and received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, said she would concentrate on basic constituent services. "Streets need to be repaired," she said. "Trees need to be cut."
She pledged to keep development at a minimum in Westside communities that have complained of too much growth, and to attract new businesses to serve communities such as Baldwin Hills. "So far as the black community, this is one of the richest areas in the United States," Bowman said. "We just have to show businesses that."
Mervin Evans, 38, is the most experienced campaigner in the race. He has run twice for Congress, taken a couple of shots at other City Council seats, led a 1987 effort to recall City Councilman Robert Farrell and last year bid for the Democratic Party nomination for secretary of state.
His effort in the 6th District is his seventh campaign in just five years. "I've got the candidate fever and I haven't gotten over it yet," Evans said. "But I've got to win this time. I'm sick of running."
Evans, a business consultant, said he moved to Playa del Rey to run in the 6th District because he did not want to run again in the 8th or 9th districts, where he lost previously.
He said he is not discouraged by his failures, believing they have made his name better known. He also likes to note that City Councilman Nate Holden, who won his seat in 1987, had lost six of seven previous elections for a variety of posts.
On development, Evans said that too much housing has been built in the district and that he would put a moratorium on new residential construction.
On crime, he said the National Guard should be brought in to police neighborhoods where drugs and gangs are out of control.
Salvatore (Sal) Grammatico is making his second run for the 6th District council seat, after a 1987 primary campaign in which he finished last in a field of six with 2% of the vote. Galanter was second that time and went on to defeat Councilwoman Pat Russell in a runoff.
Grammatico, 38, said he expects to do better this time because of his many activities in the district. He heads the homeowners association in Del Rey, a neighborhood southwest of Culver City, and is president of the Coalition of Concerned Communities, an alliance of 14 homeowners groups.
Last year, he filed a lawsuit that charged a developer with completing an insufficient environmental review for a project to build 86 UCLA faculty homes on the Westchester bluffs. The case is on appeal, after being thrown out by a Superior Court judge who ruled it was filed late.