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Victims of 1999 hate-crime shooting endorse Mike Feuer

April 18, 2013|By Jean Merl
  • City attorney candidate Mike Feuer, left, talks with Benjamin Kadish, who as a 5-year-old was shot and critically wounded in a hate crime in 1999. Kadish and his family endorsed Feuer on Thursday. His father, Chuck Kadish, stands behind him.
City attorney candidate Mike Feuer, left, talks with Benjamin Kadish,… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

Benjamin Kadish was just 5 and attending a summer day camp at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in 1999 when an self-professed white supremacist walked through the door and shot him and several others.

On Thursday, the now 19-year-old joined his parents, Chuck and Eleanor Kadish, and several others working to combat gun violence and endorsed former lawmaker Mike Feuer for Los Angeles city attorney.

Feuer, who is challenging City Atty. Carmen Trutanich in the May 21 runoff, has often talked about his efforts to stem shootings, both as a city councilman in the 1990s and more recently as a member of the state Assembly. His efforts have brought him endorsements from such notables as California’s U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, and former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton, as well as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

But for the Kadishes, Feuer’s involvement was personal.

At a news conference outside City Hall East, which houses the office Feuer is seeking, the family told how the then-councilman had appeared in a cramped waiting room of Holy Cross Hospital and sat with them as they awaited word on their son.

“Mike Feuer sat with our family outside of the operating room while we waited to learn if our son would survive,” Eleanor Kadish said. “That kind of compassion is rare among our elected leaders,” she added in explaining why the family was making its first-ever public endorsement of a political candidate.

Feuer used the news conference to call attention to his ideas for combating gun violence, including forming a task force within the city attorney’s office. And he criticized Trutanich for accepting the endorsement of the National Rifle Assn. when he won the office in 2009. He also noted that Trutanich’s law partner, when he was in private practice, had the NRA as a client and sued the city in an effort to prevent one of Feuer’s  gun violence measures from taking effect.

Trutanich has said he and his former partner disagreed on gun violence measures and that his City Hall office’s “vigorous prosecution” of gun law violations is one of the most appropriate ways for a city attorney to combat such violence.

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Twitter: @jeanmerl

jean.merl@latimes.com

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