Most places the best-read story in today's newspapers will be about Ben and J. Lo. But at Los Angeles City Hall, everyone will turn first to the L.A. Times piece on Ron Deaton and devour every sentence, looking to see if anybody dared to dis the most powerful man in the building. The answer is no, not on the record. Deaton is the so-called 16th council member, the chief legislative analyst who makes $272,922 a year -- much more than the mayor -- and a Republican who calls a lot of the shots for the generally liberal council. "Now, more than ever, he is the man that runs the council," former councilman Richard Alatorre says, then quickly adds how much he holds Eaton in high esteem. Although privately many in City Hall fear and resent his behind-the-scenes power, or simply marvel at it, no one takes him on.
"Ron and his staff tell me what I think on a regular basis," joked the notoriously independent former Councilwoman Ruth Galanter during her goodbye address to the council earlier this summer.
The story is by Matea Gold and Jessica Garrison.