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Endorsements Solidify Padilla's Hold on City Council Presidency

June 26, 2003|Matea Gold | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla solidified his hold on his leadership seat Wednesday by garnering the endorsements of Councilman Bernard C. Parks and incoming Councilman Martin Ludlow, all but guaranteeing his reelection Tuesday.

On that day, four new members will take office and the 15-member City Council will select its president.

Although the post gets little attention outside City Hall, the president plays an influential role by shaping the council agendas and doling out committee assignments.

Padilla, who has served as president for two years, faced a challenge from Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. But last week, Greuel bowed out of the race. An aide said she felt her effort to secure the post was distracting her from her duties to her constituents.

Another council member could still make a last-minute bid for the job but would face difficulty in winning a majority of the votes on the council. With the backing of Parks and Ludlow, Padilla now has the support of at least seven members, including incoming Councilman Tony Cardenas and current council members Eric Garcetti, Cindy Miscikowski, Ed Reyes and Dennis Zine.

During a news conference at a Crenshaw church Wednesday morning, Padilla also received the support of an array of African American religious and civic leaders who said he is the best person to lead the council.

"This is the first time that the community has really been involved and conferred with in the process of selecting the president," said Bishop Charles E. Blake, pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, who noted that Parks and Ludlow sought suggestions from community leaders about whom to back.

Blake was joined by Urban League President John Mack, Geraldine Washington, head of the NAACP's Los Angeles chapter, and the Rev. Norman Johnson of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, among others.

Their backing signaled a shift in Padilla's relationship with black leaders, who sharply criticized him when he first got his post for excluding several African American council members who voted against his presidency from key committees.

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