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LOCAL ELECTIONS / L.A. CITY COUNCIL : Goldberg Gets Down to Business of Community Safety : Politics: The 13th District winner says her first priority will be to meet with police to discuss ways of increasing street patrols.

June 10, 1993|RON RUSSELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHEAST LOS ANGELES — Reveling in her hard-fought election to the Los Angeles City Council, Jackie Goldberg on Wednesday reached out to supporters of rival Tom LaBonge and said her top priority will be to make the 13th District a safer and cleaner place to live.

"We don't care what side people were on in this," she said. "We're all on the same side now."

Goldberg, 48, who becomes the first openly gay or lesbian member of the City Council, said her prime aim at City Hall will be to help build a community "where people can have a job, live in dignity and aren't afraid to be who and what they are."

She said her first order of business will be to meet with commanders of the three police divisions that serve the district to discuss ways of having more officers patrol the streets.

In keeping with the '60s-style activism reflected in her successful campaign, Goldberg pledged to sponsor grass-roots meetings involving disparate members of the community to "put people back in touch with their neighborhoods.

"If they thought we had lots of coffees before, just wait till we get going," she said.

Final, unofficial results from Tuesday's runoff election gave Goldberg 51.5% of the vote to LaBonge's 48.5%.

The district, represented for the past eight years by Councilman Michael Woo, stretches east from the heart of Hollywood to Northeast Los Angeles, including parts of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater Village, Glassell Park and Mt. Washington. Woo surrendered his seat to run for mayor.

LaBonge, 39, is a longtime aide to Council President John Ferraro.

About 300 Goldberg supporters, gathered at the Grace Simon Lodge in Elysian Park, hoisted champagne glasses and shouted wildly as the vote count neared an end shortly before midnight Tuesday.

Standing on stage with her partner, Sharon Stricker, Goldberg singled out several groups and individuals who participated in a massive get-out-the-vote campaign on Election Day, reserving special thanks for the gay and lesbian community, adding, "Without you we couldn't have done it."

LaBonge, although he did not concede defeat Tuesday night, appeared to sense that the battle had been lost even as he thanked enthusiastic backers gathered in a ballroom of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel late in the evening.

"Whether we won or lost, I feel like we won because we gave it our best," he said.

In an interview, LaBonge said he could think of nothing he might have done differently.

"I don't see what else I could have done," he said. "I knocked on thousands of doors and met a lot of people who genuinely care about this community, and that means a lot to me."

After Goldberg and LaBonge easily vanquished six other candidates in the April 20 primary, the more conservative LaBonge surprised some observers by picking up endorsements from four of the six also-rans.

LaBonge had focused his campaign on the high-propensity voters in the district's northeastern hills, home to large number of Anglo homeowners considered more likely to vote for Richard Riordan for mayor.

Goldberg, an unabashed liberal, concentrated on getting out the vote among a core constituency that included union workers, teachers, feminists, gays and lesbians and ethnic minorities.

On election day, her organization put 350 volunteers in the field, knocking on doors to persuade prospective supporters to come out and vote.

The effort paid off. City election officials said that 48% of the district's registered voters cast ballots, compared to 39% in April, itself a record for a primary.

The campaign became increasingly nasty as at the end. Goldberg attacked LaBonge as a tool of the gun lobby, although LaBonge--like Goldberg--advocates gun control. LaBonge, meanwhile, sent last-minute mailers accusing Goldberg of lying about her record as a school board member.

Although final campaign financial records will not be available for several weeks, they are expected to show that each candidate spent more than $500,000 in both the primary and the runoff, including taxpayer matching funds.

Much of Goldberg's financial support came from organized labor, women's groups and gay rights activists, while LaBonge drew heavily from real estate developers and lobbyists, including many with ties to Ferraro, his longtime boss.

City of Los Angeles

City Council District 13

100% Precincts Reporting

Votes % Jackie Goldberg 11,753 52 Tom LaBonge 11,073 49

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