As city attorney, Hahn relies heavily on his chief deputy, Tim McOsker, to speak for the office and lead negotiations. For political advice, he turns to Matt Middlebrook, who joined the office after managing Hahn's 1997 campaign. Middlebrook now serves as campaign manager for the mayoral effort.
Hahn's policy advisors outside government include George Kieffer, a partner in the powerful Democratic law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips; Alan Arkatov, head of an online education firm and former chairman of the city's Information Technology Commission; and John Emerson, a former Clinton White House official.
But Hahn said whom he consults changes with the situation. "Rather than having a 'kitchen cabinet,' I call people involved with different issues to get their opinions before making a decision."
Villaraigosa also downplayed the role of a "kitchen cabinet." He acknowledged his ties to Broad and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, as well as his long-standing relationships with labor leaders Durazo and Contreras, but emphasized, "I always make decisions on my own."
Villaraigosa names former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Los Angeles school board member Genethia Hayes as political confidants. Recently, Cisneros and Burkle associate Ari Swiller both reached out to reporters and editors on Villaraigosa's behalf.
Villaraigosa pointed out that he often decides against the advice he is offered. "You can't be afraid to act decisively, even when you're acting alone," he said.