Legislative aide Ricardo Lara made a splash last month in political circles in southeast Los Angeles County, holding the first fundraiser of his 2010 bid for state Assembly in a district that includes South Gate and Lynwood.
Yet even as he solicited donations for his run in the 50th District, Lara continued to serve as one of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's appointees on the powerful Los Angeles Planning Commission, where each member must be a city resident. No part of Los Angeles is in the 50th District, which stretches from Commerce to Bellflower.
Lara's dual activities -- planning commissioner in one community and political candidate in another -- have drawn criticism from Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, the district's current representative who will be termed out in 2010.
"If he's in L.A., he's not in my district," De La Torre said. "This is why people are so fed up with politics and politicians. We're not a colony of Los Angeles or anywhere else. This is a community that has . . . its own character and has its own needs."