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Villaraigosa's Latino Backers Warming Up to Hahn

Politics: Resentment over campaign attack ad has lessened as activists say mayor is doing a good job.

October 30, 2001|MATEA GOLD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"In terms of the votes here on the Eastside, the mayor obviously has a lot of ground to make up, and today is one part of reaching out to the Latino community," Pacheco said. "I really want to be there and help him to close that gap."

Hahn began the day talking with about 50 senior citizens who munched on pan dulce and shouted out comments as they sat under purple Halloween banners festooning the ceiling of the El Sereno Senior Center.

"We're celebrating, at least in my office, El Sereno Day," the mayor quipped, prompting cheers from the seniors.

Hahn listed various city efforts to improve the area, including a $5-million project to remove an old trolley overpass and help smooth traffic congestion at the intersection of Soto Street and Huntington Drive, and a push to convert a training facility owned by the Department of Water and Power into a community park.

"That's what I think government is all about: delivering those services," the mayor said.

Many said they were impressed simply by the mayor's presence.

"To have him come out to a little community like ours that's not well-known, it's really an honor," said El Sereno honorary mayor Michael Romero, so named for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the neighborhood.

Even the most loyal Villaraigosa supporters allowed that they didn't have any specific complaints about the new mayor.

"I guess he's doing all right," said Delia Cordero, 73. "We've got to let him do his job."

Added her friend Ernie Padilla: "Now that he's in, we're going to give him all the support he deserves."

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