UCLA law professor Raquelle de la Rocha won unanimous City Council confirmation Friday as the new president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, shortly after she told a council committee her initial emphasis will be on "education and compliance" rather than "enforcement."
"Discretion is not always a weakness," De la Rocha said, after Councilman Mike Feuer asked if she would be aggressive toward wrongdoers. "A proper role is not to prosecute in some instances," she said.
"I see one of our important roles as deferring from the use of power," she told the committee.
De la Rocha, a Van Nuys resident, said she had no "fixed agenda" as commission president, and that she saw herself as simply one of the group's five members who would strive to "work in a coalition, building a consensus."
After the committee hearing, which lasted only 12 minutes, it took the full council even less time to confirm Mayor Richard Riordan's nominee on a 11-0 vote.
Later, De la Rocha sought to distance herself from her earlier remarks, saying that it did not strike her as prudent to "come out with all guns blazing" at her confirmation hearing.
De la Rocha, 37, has been a member of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, a post she now must resign. She said Friday she will seek to restore good relations between the city and state commissions. They were ruptured when leaders of the state group became annoyed with the city commission's executive director, Benjamin Bycel, for talking too much about joint investigations.
Bycel told the council committee he is enthusiastic about De la Rocha's appointment.
About the only tough question Friday came from the audience when a citizen, Peter Baxter, noting that De la Rocha had served on the Los Angeles Civil Service Commission when Willie L. Williams was selected as Los Angeles' police chief. Baxter wanted to know whether she still viewed the appointment as valid.
Feuer, serving as committee chairman, promptly closed the hearing without asking De la Rocha to reply. Later, in response to a reporter's question, she said she had no comment.