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Weiss responds to recall effort

June 12, 2007|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss on Monday released his response to a recall effort against him, alleging that his opponents were upset only because he stopped them from trying to "shake down" a Century City developer.

Weiss was served with a recall notice last month by a group of homeowners in his Westside district. They alleged that he is disdainful of constituents and too tolerant of development and traffic.

Weiss' response, required under city law, begins by warning that a recall election would cost the city $1.5 million.

The response then lists five supporters, each stating, "Please don't sign this petition."

The five are Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Mayor Richard Riordan, city firefighters union President Steve Tufts, city police union President Bob Baker and Martha Swiller, former executive director of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project.

Weiss was the first council member to support Villaraigosa's 2005 candidacy for mayor. Police and fire union officials frequently appear before the council public safety committee that Weiss chairs. And Swiller is the wife of Ari Swiller, a Democratic Party fundraiser and Villaraigosa confidant.

Weiss says the recall effort is in response to a deal gone awry between homeowners and a Century City developer proposing to build two 47-story residential towers.

"The organizer of this recall offered to support a project in Century City if the developer would give him control of $5 million in public money," reads the statement. "He wanted to spend the money with no public oversight." Weiss ultimately widened control of the money to the city, homeowners and some other groups. Homeowners, in the meantime, have sued to stop the project.

Kevin Singer, vice president of the Tract 7260 Homeowners Assn. and one of the recall proponents, said "there was no mitigation money" for the development "until the homeowners got involved" and added that the recall effort goes far beyond Century City.

The city clerk must now approve the petitions before they can be circulated. The signatures of nearly 23,000 registered voters in the 5th District would be required to trigger a recall election.

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