Los Angeles City Council veteran Marvin Braude and his rookie colleague Mike Feuer have a lot in common.
In a hard-fought campaign earlier this year, Braude was the first elected official to endorse the lawyer, who is less than half his age. The two represent neighboring districts on the Westside and in the San Fernando Valley. They vote together on nearly all issues.
This week, they even shared cars--sort of.
Braude, 75, accidentally drove off with Feuer's city-owned transport after work Monday, leaving Feuer--the council's newest and youngest member--stranded at City Hall. Braude did not realize his mistake until hours later, when he peered into the back seat of the silver 1995 Ford Taurus and found an infant car seat instead of his bicycle.
"We have identical cars. I was flattered that he chose one exactly like mine," Braude, the council's oldest member, said with a shrug when asked about the mix-up Tuesday.
"I looked in the back and there was the baby carriage. I knew that wasn't my bicycle," he added. "It reflected the difference in our life cycles."
Council members leave the keys in their city-owned vehicles while the cars are parked under City Hall so garage employees can fill them with gas or move them if necessary.
But when Feuer headed home about 6 p.m. Monday, he found an empty spot where he had left his car that morning. He noticed that Braude's car, a virtual twin, remained in the garage.
Suspecting correctly what had transpired, Feuer hitched a ride home with Councilwoman Laura Chick's chief deputy--"We're a full-service council office," Karen Constine explained Tuesday. Then he took his personal vehicle to a dinner hosted by Mayor Richard Riordan at the restored Getty mansion. There he found Braude--and his car.
At a special council meeting Tuesday in Woodland Hills, member Mark Ridley-Thomas joked that Feuer should worry less about locking recycling bins, as he has proposed to prevent scavengers from stealing newspapers and cans, and try locking his car.
Braude and Feuer car-pooled Tuesday from the meeting at Pierce College back to City Hall.