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A Tale of Two Candidates and the Many Enclaves of L.A.

April 25, 1993

Election footnotes: The results of Tuesday's voting underscore the deep divisions in Los Angeles. In his quest to become mayor, millionaire businessman Richard Riordan ran first in the four council districts on the Westside with the largest percentage of Anglo voters (see table at right). Councilman Mike Woo ran first in three districts, including his own Hollywood base, which have greater racial and ethnic diversity.

Riordan's support was particularly strong in the city's most affluent council district, an upscale swath of turf straddling the Santa Monica Mountains that has long been represented by Marvin Braude. Riordan's "Tough Enough to Turn L.A. Around" message also was favorably received by one out of three voters in Ruth Galanter's district. His margin was slightly lower in the Westside and San Fernando Valley districts of Zev Yaroslavsky and John Ferraro.

Woo drew more than a third of the votes cast in his home district, a multiracial and ethnic slice of the city that runs from Los Feliz and Hollywood to Silver Lake and Eagle Rock. And in the predominantly black areas represented by Councilmen Nate Holden and Mark Ridley-Thomas, Woo was the front-runner by a wide margin with Riordan back in the pack. But in a potentially important barometer of Woo's prospects in the June 8 runoff, turnout in those inner-city precincts ran below the citywide average and the rest of the Westside.

The voters of Holden's and Yaroslavsky's district cast the strongest vote in favor of the ballot measure that would have raised property taxes to pay for 1,000 more police officers. Although Proposition 1 failed to win the two-thirds majority needed for passage citywide, it received the backing of nearly 70% of the voters in their districts. The measure narrowly lost in Ferraro's district and ran further behind in the four other districts that encircle the Westside.

Council Location Yes on Riordan Woo District Prop.1 Ferraro (Mid-Wilshire, 66.4% 31.9% 28.5% District 4 Valley) Yaroslavsky (Fairfax, Valley, 68.5% 29.8% 18.5% District 5 Westwood) Galanter (Westchester, Venice, 61.8% 34.4% 25.8% District 6 West L.A.) Ridley-Thomas (Crenshaw, 63.3% 4.3% 47.6% District 8 South-Central) Holden (Mid-City, 69.2% 10.2% 43.2% District 10 Crenshaw) Braude (Brentwood, Valley, 62.9% 39.9% 16.8% District 11 Palisades) Woo (Hollywood, Silver 61.8% 25.9% 34.9% District 13 Lake, Eagle Rock)

Source: Los Angeles City Clerk


Greener pastures?Environmental activist Laura Lake, who last week lost her second attempt in four years to unseat Yaroslavsky, says she may move to the San Fernando Valley.

"It's a little bit less in the fast lane and I like that," says the longtime slow-growth activist and former UCLA professor. "When you walk precincts, you see some nice homes."

Lake, who was vastly outspent by Yaroslavsky, won only 26% of the vote last week, compared to 33% in 1989.

She and her husband, James, a UCLA microbiologist, moved into a Westwood Village apartment last December in order for her to run. Their house, which is up for sale, is in a part of Westwood that was dropped from the 5th Council District when the boundaries were redrawn last year.

Regardless of whether she takes the Valley plunge, Lake says she will resign as president of Friends of Westwood. "I've done my bit and now it's somebody else's turn," she said.

Safety first: While riot fears and local elections have consumed much of official Los Angeles recently, a City Council committee has quietly conducted hearings in different parts of town seeking solutions to the city's economic woes.

The Community and Economic Development Committee, chaired by Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, met at UCLA last week and got a pointed reminder that reducing crime and improving the business climate go hand-in-hand.

"You make what's called the inner city safe, and I'll be there, as will my firm," said Roy Weinstein, president of Micronomics, a downtown economic consulting firm with 40 employees.

"And why will I be there? Because with (government incentives) I'll save more than $800,000 a year in rent. I would like to have that money, frankly."

Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, whose 6th Council District includes part of the Crenshaw area, quickly spoke up: "May I speak with you immediately afterward?"

Flying fur: Paul Koretz, coordinator for Joel Wachs' unsuccessful mayoral bid, had already moved on to a new uphill crusade by election eve.


The West Hollywood city councilman and animal lover--family dog Maile is included on the home answering machine greeting--was proposing cat-licensing as a way to save feline lives. Every year, he said, Los Angeles County kills 20,000 stray dogs and cats.

But the proposal made some people at Monday's council meeting about as happy as a long-tail in a roomful of rocking chairs. There was talk of witch hunts and police states, accidental kitty hangings and fees, fees, fees.

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