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CALIFORNIA

Political newcomer, veteran in runoff for council seat

Harbor district voters will choose between an LAPD officer and a state assemblyman.

January 15, 2012|Kate Linthicum

In fact, Furutani has deep roots in the community. He was born in San Pedro, although he was reared in Gardena and now lives in Harbor City. His grandparents worked on the docks at Terminal Island until they and other Japanese Americans were rounded up and sent to interment camps in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

While Buscaino has focused his campaign on his hometown, Furutani has made a push for voters in other parts of the district, about half of which he already represents in the Assembly.

He hopes his background as a community organizer and civil rights activist will help him connect with working-class Latinos and African Americans in Wilmington and Watts -- areas he says the city has given short shrift.

He has held campaign events at several Watts public housing projects along with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles).

Furutani got his political start in 1987, when he was elected to the Los Angeles school board. During his time in state office, which he won in 2008, he has helped secure funds to rebuild a bridge in the Port of Long Beach and bring the battleship Iowa to Los Angeles Harbor.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, January 17, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
Council election: An article in the Jan. 15 California section about the Los Angeles City Council runoff between Joe Buscaino and state Assemblyman Warren Furutani said that after the Pearl Harbor attack, Furutani's grandparents were among Japanese Americans sent to interment camps. It should have said "internment" camps.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, January 22, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
Council election: An article in the Jan. 15 California section about the Los Angeles City Council runoff between Joe Buscaino and state Assemblyman Warren Furutani said that after the Pearl Harbor attack, Furutani's grandparents were among Japanese Americans sent to interment camps. It should have said internment camps.

Last year, Furutani drew attention when he got into a scuffle on the Assembly floor with a colleague who made a comment that he deemed offensive to Italian Americans.

Since the Legislature has been back in session, Furutani has been shuttling back and forth between Sacramento and Los Angeles. He still had a plane ticket from an afternoon flight tucked in his shirt pocket when he stopped at his campaign office in San Pedro on a recent evening to motivate volunteers who were calling voters on his behalf.

Elections, he said, are all about election day. "We go from walking, knocking and talking -- to walking, knocking, talking and dragging," he told them before going out the door to campaign some more.

kate.linthicum@latimes.com

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