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Going Over the Ground Rules

July 18, 1993|Staff writers Greg Krikorian, Mark Gladstone, Nancy Hill-Holtzman and Lee Harris contributed to this report

Don't even try to buy her lunch: With the paint barely dry in her new City Hall offices, Los Angeles Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg is making sure everyone knows where she stands about accepting gifts.

She won't.

Only days after taking office earlier this month, Goldberg attached a small sign below the one outside her office that bears her name. The new sign says, "No Gifts."

During her campaign for office, Goldberg tried to make campaign reform a major issue by refusing political contributions from anyone in the real estate industry. While critics noted that she did accept funds from other special interests such as organized labor, Goldberg's stand on taking money from developers won her some accolades.

Now in office, she is taking another hard line about accepting any gifts, not even a T-shirt or a theater ticket; city law permits council members to accept gifts worth up to $100 per year per donor as long as they disclose them in their financial statements. Goldberg's chief of staff, Sharon Delugach, says the councilwoman will not accept gifts because she does not want to feel any conflict voting on matters involving those who may have given her a politically inspired present.

Privately, some people around City Hall view Goldberg's sign as, well, insulting. "It makes it sound like everyone else is for sale," one city official grumbled.

But not everyone was so sensitive. Or serious.

One prankster, in fact, made an addition to Goldberg's sign. Below the words "No Gifts," the prankster added the words "Below $5,000."

That sign was quickly removed.


A last hurrah?State Sen. Herschel Rosenthal, nearing the 20-year mark as a legislator, is looking for a new political home. When his Westside district was carved up last year in the once-a-decade reapportionment, the Democrat believed he had found the perfect spot to finish his career: the new 23rd District, which is split between the Westside and the southern San Fernando Valley.

But the voters thought otherwise--Rosenthal lost to Tom Hayden in a bitter Democratic primary. Rosenthal remains in the Senate, however, serving the rest of the four-year term he won in 1990 in his old district, a district that essentially no longer exists.

Conventional wisdom in the Capitol has been that Rosenthal, 75, first elected to the Assembly in 1974, would retire when his term ends next year. But Rosenthal says it is too soon to count him out.

He said he is weighing several options, including a campaign for the 20th District seat in the Valley now occupied by Sen. David A. Roberti (D-Van Nuys), who is prohibited by term limits from seeking reelection.

Rosenthal said he wants to determine the plans of two other potential Senate contenders: Democratic Assembly members Richard Katz of Sylmar and Barbara Friedman of North Hollywood.

Rosenthal, part of the loosely knit political organizations of U.S. Reps. Howard Berman and Henry Waxman, said he would not run against Friedman, also a Berman-Waxman ally.

"Or I just may want to do something else," said Rosenthal, adding that he's also been encouraged by friends to consider running in another open seat in East Los Angeles, far from his Westside-Valley political base.


Breaking up is hard to do: It may be months before a final decision is made on whether to break up the Los Angeles Unified School District into smaller districts, but on two occasions in the last two weeks, Los Angeles City Council members had to stand up and be counted on the issue.

Both times, the council fell short of the 10 votes needed to endorse the breakup plan advocated by State Sen. David A. Roberti (D-Van Nuys).

On Wednesday, the council voted 9 to 6 to refer the bill to a committee for further study.

Westside council members John Ferraro, Ruth Galanter, Jackie Goldberg, Nate Holden and Mark Ridley-Thomas voted with the majority to send it to committee. Two other Westsiders, Marvin Braude and Zev Yaroslavsky, endorsed the bill.

On July 6, the council failed to gather the 10 votes needed to even discuss the plan. The vote was 8 to 6, with Galanter, Goldberg, Holden and Ridley-Thomas voting with the minority not to discuss it.

Goldberg, Holden and Ridley-Thomas clearly are not in favor of breaking up the district. Galanter and Ferraro say the issue needs further study. Ferraro, the council president, also said he hated to see the council "so divided" on such an emotional issue. Yaroslavsky supports the Roberti plan and so does Braude, an aide said.

Goldberg, a former president of the Los Angeles school board, was the most vocal in opposing the plan. She said she was not convinced that reorganizing the schools would make them better.

"I don't want to hear from you that the L.A. school system is a failure until you go and look at the schools," she said to Councilman Hal Bernson, who supports the plan.

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