Mayor Tom Bradley's top pick to fill his last vacancy on the troubled Police Commission--Christopher Commission member Andrea Sheridan Ordin--was heavily lobbied Thursday after initially rejecting the job earlier in the week, sources told The Times.
Ordin, a former U.S. attorney, had rejected the appointment on Wednesday, citing her commitments as a partner in the downtown law firm of Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz and her recent election as president of the Los Angeles County Bar Assn., according to sources close to the selection process.
The mayor made another attempt Thursday, and enlisted Christopher Commission Chairman Warren Christopher and former Atty. Gen. John K. Van de Kamp in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the reluctant Ordin, several sources said.
Ordin again turned down the appointment late Thursday, according to sources.
Ordin declined to comment, and Bradley press secretary Bill Chandler said, "The mayor is in the process of evaluating potential nominees and during that process we do not provide details."
Neither Christopher nor Van de Kamp could be reached.
Ordin, who served as Los Angeles' top federal prosecutor during the Carter Administration, recently stepped down as California's chief assistant attorney general.
Sources said she was one of six women on Bradley's list of candidates to replace acting Commission President Melanie Lomax, who resigned last week after the Christopher Commission report which recommended she step down "in the interests of harmony and healing."
The mayor said Wednesday that "I am going to try and appoint a woman."
Aides to the mayor said privately that he wants to appoint a women in order to maintain the balance among races and sexes on the five-member commission. The commission now is made up of four men--including a black, an Asian and a Latino.
Sources close to the mayor said he hopes to restore credibility in the commission after the ill-fated attempt to place Police Chief Daryl F. Gates on involuntary leave in the wake of the Rodney G. King beating incident.
On Wednesday, Bradley appointed retired assistant police chief Jesse Brewer to replace longtime commissioner Sam Williams, 69, who resigned after the Christopher Commission report. Brewer, the highest-ranking black in the Police Department's history, recently criticized the department's disciplinary practices and the leadership of Gates.
With one more appointment, Bradley will have cleansed the commission of any members associated with that decision.
Former Commission President Dan Garcia resigned in May. Lomax and Williams said last week their resignations would be effective upon the appointments of their successors.
The Christopher Commission last week released a broad-ranging report that detailed problems of racism, sexism, excessive force and management failures in the Police Department.
City Council members, who had overturned the commission decision on Gates, had complained to the Christopher Commission that the police board had damaged its credibility when it attempted to place Gates on a 60-day involuntary leave.
Lomax further damaged her standing with the council when she gave confidential legal memos to civil rights groups that were calling for Gates' ouster.
To restore credibility in the commission, Bradley is seeking an establishment player, someone acceptable to the business community and able to work with the City Council, according to sources familiar with the search. He is said to be passing over candidates who are closely associated with environmental or other liberal movements in favor of women with managerial experience and solid business credentials. Several of the candidates are attorneys, though that is apparently not a requirement, several sources said.
In an attempt to keep a geographic balance, and therefore harmony with the City Council, the mayor is said to prefer having a candidate from the San Fernando Valley.
"We're a very diverse city and the mayor certainly is attempting to look at that diversity," said City Councilwoman Joy Picus, whose district sits squarely in the Valley.
"If you look at the Police Commission, we have a black, a Hispanic, an Asian," said Picus. "I hope we have a woman. I believe diversity also means a geographic diversity. . . . I believe not having a Valley person is as offensive as not having a woman, a Hispanic or a black." Picus earlier this week called Bradley to recommended two candidates.