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Riordan and Hayden TV Ads

AD WATCH. Campaign '97. One in an occasional series

March 24, 1997

THE RIORDAN AD: The 30-second spot opens with an applauding crowd, and as the camera pans, it finds Riordan surrounded by admirers. "L.A. is coming back," the narrator says, "and Mayor Dick Riordan is leading the way. Two thousand new cops, the largest force in city history. Neighborhood police stations and expanded patrols. A new job-friendly approach at City Hall that's helped create 30,000 new jobs. The Children, Youth, Families Commission to make sure L.A.'s children grow up healthy, safe and strong. And no new taxes. A good start for our great mayor. And he works for us for just a dollar a year. Mayor Dick Riordan, turning L.A. around."

* THE ANALYSIS: Riordan has presided over historic growth in the Los Angeles Police Department, which is larger than it has ever been, though the mayor fell short of his 1993 promise to expand the department by 3,000 officers. As his ad states, the city has expanded patrols and added neighborhood police stations. The exact number of new jobs is disputed; Riordan himself sometimes claims credit for "more than 20,000" and other times says the number is 30,000. The Hayden campaign, meanwhile, cites bankruptcies and other indicators to suggest that the Riordan economic record is shallow and illusory, and contends that the city's economic recovery is part of a national trend, not a tribute to the Riordan administration.

* THE HAYDEN ADS: Hayden has produced three radio ads on charter reform, all of which make substantially the same point: that Riordan is working with "former corporate raiders and junk bond kings" to retool the City Charter to consolidate his power and ease the way for irresponsible development. "Hello, and welcome to 'Neighborhood Jeopardy,' " one ad begins. "OK, contestants, why is Mayor Richard Riordan spending $2 million? He's funding candidates to reform the L.A. Charter. And where's he getting the money? From former corporate raiders and junk bond kings." The ad goes on to accuse Riordan and his backers of seeking to "make big bucks overdeveloping our neighborhoods," trying to lay off city workers and aiming to weaken environmental laws "so developers can cut corners and pollute the city." The ad closes with Hayden himself. "Hi, this is Tom Hayden. The mayor's candidates for charter reform are bad for homeowners, bad for city jobs and bad for the environment. On April 8, vote for candidates who will support neighborhoods, not put them in jeopardy."

* THE ANALYSIS: As of the latest reporting period, Riordan was the largest single contributor to the charter reform campaign, which has raised about $1.7 million. The "junk bond kings" cited by Hayden's ad accounted for a fraction of the total, but there are a few firms and individuals with ties to the junk-bond era who have made sizable contributions. As for the reasons behind the charter reform effort, Riordan and his associates respond to Hayden's claims by insisting that they are off base, that the true motive is to redraft the aging city constitution and replace it with a more modern, flexible document. In any event, the new rules drafted by the charter commission would not take full effect until near the end of the next mayoral term, so even if reelected, Riordan would have little opportunity to make direct use of them--in particular because he is limited to two terms in office.

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