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WATTS : Flores, Svorinich Wind Up Race

June 06, 1993|GREG KRIKORIAN

Incumbent Joan Milke Flores and challenger Rudy Svorinich square off Tuesday for Los Angeles' 15th City Council District seat after a campaign that has served to underscore their similarities as much as their differences.

Stumping in neighborhoods from Watts to the Harbor, both Flores, a three-term council member, and Svorinich, a paint store owner making his first bid for public office, have spotlighted crime, jobs and the city's budget crisis as their top issues. And on those issues, the two Republicans from San Pedro have taken similar stands--with the gulf between them more a matter of approach.

In the area of crime, for example, both say the Police Department needs more officers, but oppose raising property taxes to increase staffing.

Flores, 56, touts her record of support for law enforcement innovations such as community-based policing, which began years ago in the Harbor Division. Svorinich, 33, tells voters the city must confront an array of social and economic problems if it hopes to reduce crime.

Both say Los Angeles must do more to attract and keep businesses if it hopes to revive its economy.

Flores, long a champion of enterprise zones, says such tax incentives are vital to lure businesses and provide jobs. Svorinich agrees, and also suggests the city aggressively lobby Sacramento and Washington for new government programs.

They differ on who would best accomplish these goals.

Flores says she has the experience and City Hall know-how to make local government work. This background will be especially vital with a new mayor taking office, she contends.

But Svorinich says Flores is an example of a politician who has been in office too long and has lost touch with the district's needs.

Hoping to further draw distinctions for voters, Flores and Svorinich have been touting endorsements from local politicians.

Flores has highlighted endorsements by county Supervisors Gloria Molina and Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and former political opponent Janice Hahn, who finished third in the April primary for the seat. Hahn's name wields clout in the district, since much of it was represented for 40 years by her father, former Supervisor Kenneth Hahn. And her brother, James Hahn, is Los Angeles' city attorney.

Svorinich scored a political coup when he won the endorsement of Rep. Maxine Waters, the Los Angeles Democrat who is seen by many as the city's most powerful African-American politician.

The runoff follows a spirited primary in which Flores faced six challengers and finished with 28% of the vote, compared to 23% for Svorinich.

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