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Police Union Pledges Support for D'Agostino in Council Race : Election: Leaders contend that Barbara Yaroslavsky would be a puppet for her husband, the outgoing councilman. Her opponent would be a friend to law enforcement, they say.

October 09, 1994|JOHN SCHWADA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Police union leaders endorsed one Los Angeles City Council candidate and blasted another last week, backing Deputy Dist. Atty. Lea Purwin D'Agostino while claiming that Barbara Yaroslavsky, if elected, would be a puppet of her husband, outgoing Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky.

"The strings will still be pulled by him (Yaroslavsky)," said Danny Staggs, president of the Police Protective League. Staggs characterized the councilman as antagonistic toward the police force.

Staggs, who cited the councilman's vote last summer against settling a bitter wage dispute with police, made his remarks at a news conference Wednesday at Parker Center. He also announced that the league had endorsed D'Agostino in the race to succeed Yaroslavsky, whose district includes Bel-Air, Century City, the Fairfax district and Westwood.

D'Agostino will be a strong friend of the police, said Staggs, who vowed to send union members to work for her candidacy.

D'Agostino, 57, caught the public's eye in 1987 when she prosecuted producer John Landis on involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the deaths of actor Vic Morrow and two children during filming of "Twilight Zone--The Movie."

After losing the case, she was transferred out of the central courts by her boss, then-Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner. In 1988, she ran against Reiner and lost.

D'Agostino distanced herself somewhat from Staggs' prediction that Yaroslavsky's wife would be his puppet at City Hall.

Rather, D'Agostino, a Westwood resident, said she is concerned that having a husband in one branch of government and his wife in another would risk potential conflicts of interest. The two jurisdictions have been known to sue each other and squabble over public policies, she said.

Also running for the 5th District seat are former Los Angeles school board member Roberta Weintraub and attorney Michael Feuer, head of Bet Tzedek, a nonprofit legal services agency.

Zev and Barbara Yaroslavsky dismissed Staggs' views.

"Fortunately, Danny Staggs will not have any impact on the 5th District race," an angry Zev Yaroslavsky said. The league not only fails to represent rank-and-file cops but is also out of touch with 5th District voters, Yaroslavsky contended, noting that voters there supported the so-called Christopher Commission reforms.

Barbara Yaroslavsky, meanwhile, said that despite their differences, she hopes to work with the police union if she is elected to sharply beef up the LAPD, which has been called the most understaffed big-city police department in the nation.

She denied that she would be controlled by her husband. "Anyone who says that hasn't awakened and smelled the roses of this generation," she said.

After 19 years on the council, Zev Yaroslavsky was elected in June to the County Board of Supervisors and will take his seat in December.

VOTER DEADLINE

The deadline for registering to vote in the Nov. 8 general election is Tuesday. To be eligible to vote, registrants must be at least 18 by Election Day and must be U.S. citizens. Those wishing to register can do so in person at the headquarters of the registrar-recorder/county clerk at 12400 Imperial Highway in Norwalk. They also may request registration-by-mail forms at various locations, including county buildings, city halls, post offices and libraries, or by calling the county's 24-hour election information system at (310) 462-2748. The postage-paid forms are mailed within a day after the request is received; they must be received by election officials by Tuesday.

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