Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsOpinion

Endorsement

Gordon Teuber for City Council

The 15th District's director of economic development during the final five years of Janice Hahn's council tenure is the best choice to succeed her.

November 06, 2011

Perhaps no Los Angeles City Council district is as difficult to represent as the oddly shaped 15th, which runs south from Watts and north from the harbor communities of Wilmington and San Pedro, meeting in Harbor City and the awkward, jagged strip that is Harbor Gateway. Voters in the Nov. 8 special election who seek to fill the vacancy left by Janice Hahn's election to Congress this year can choose from among advocates with deep roots in one or another of those communities but generally limited expertise, and City Hall or political insiders with some know-how but priorities attuned less to the needs of the district than to public employee unions. In the field of 11 candidates — plus several others running write-in campaigns — the best bet is Gordon Teuber, the district's director of economic development during the final five years of Hahn's council tenure.

Teuber is hardly the odds-on favorite, especially in a race in which the big money is being divided among labor favorites. Pat McOsker is president of the city firefighters union; Joe Buscaino is a Los Angeles police officer backed by his union; and Warren Furutani is a state Assembly member (and former school board and community college board member) long supported by public employee unions. Their experience resonates with communities that coalesced around the decent wages and relatively secure employment brought by organized shipping, freight, transport and support jobs in and around the harbor. Candidates should not be rejected out of hand merely for their labor ties. But neither should they be embraced merely for those ties, especially in this era in which City Hall so often fails to put the needs of residents — and the city's financial well-being — ahead of the needs of city employees. None of the labor candidates appears sufficiently independent of his base to adequately serve the district.

Voters might also hope for ideas or vision from the community-based candidates who have focused in this campaign on creating jobs. And all Los Angeles residents, both in and outside the 15th District, should support candidates with the ability and the drive to break through the bureaucratic roadblocks that make it such a chore to do anything, from building a wall to opening a business. But too many of these would-be council members came armed with little more than a bill of complaints and a list of nostrums about good government. That's not the same thing as having a plan to create jobs and the ability to see it through.

Teuber brings a good balance. He's worked long enough in City Hall to know its somewhat odd culture without either recoiling against it as the locus of evil, as some candidates do, or embracing "the city family" at the expense of his district. He understands the importance of the Port of Los Angeles, but also the needs of its neighbors. He's the best among this slate of underwhelming candidates.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|