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Los Angeles

Hayden Blasts City Hall as He Admits Defeat

Council: He congratulates Weiss for 369-vote victory in 5th District, but criticizes 'insider culture.'

June 20, 2001|PATRICK McGREEVY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tom Hayden conceded defeat Tuesday in his race for the Los Angeles City Council, using the occasion to blast what he called the "shameful insider culture of power" at City Hall.

Hayden's concession in the 5th District came as the council voted Tuesday to certify Jack Weiss' victory by 369 votes of 53,167 cast on June 5. Weiss, a former federal prosecutor, takes office July 1.

In a statement issued on his behalf, Hayden congratulated Weiss and pledged to work with him, but also took aim at everything from City Hall's environmental policies to the cost of its earthquake retrofitting. He expressed regret over not being able to play a crusader role on the council.

"It was my wish to be Upton Sinclair or Lincoln Steffens inside City Hall, challenging the shameful insider culture of power that has turned Los Angeles more into a city of scandals than a city of angels," said Hayden, who was in New York on Tuesday editing a book about the culture and politics of the Zapatista peasant rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico.

A spokesman, Rocky Rushing, said Hayden has no plans to ask for a recount in the council race, and is not considering a run in either of the two districts whose seats will be on the ballot in September and January.

Hayden did support the demands of some homeowner leaders in Laurel Canyon and elsewhere for an investigation into the alleged irregularities, which he said included a last-minute change of polling places that might have prevented some of his supporters from voting.

Frank Martinez, executive officer for the city clerk, said a review found that the city did take appropriate steps to direct voters to new polling stations after owners of some preliminary locations withdrew their use in the days before the election.

Meanwhile, Weiss challenged Hayden's grim view of City Hall, noting that six new council members will take office by next month, and two more will join them in the months ahead to give the panel a majority of freshmen.

"What I have seen in the past two weeks is a sea change at City Hall, with a new generation of leadership taking hold," Weiss said. "I am optimistic about the ability for us to make sure it is not business as usual."

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