The Times, following its long-established pattern, has writers working on personal profiles of each of the main contenders in the mayor's race. On Monday Hahn gets his 2600 words. Noam Levey writes that he's an enigmatic mayor who "often astounds his colleagues with political clumsiness and personal isolation." An excerpt:
The mayor has few close friends or advisors. And he struggles with the glad-handing and deal-making that help many politicians advance their initiatives.
Hahn often confounds other city leaders by striking out on new initiatives with little warning or by simply failing to act. Many city leaders complain that they cannot get their calls returned. Even his supporters concede that his weak relationships have handicapped efforts to build consensus around proposals to hire more police officers. Hahn also floundered for more than a year to rally support for his plan to modernize LAX, though a plan has since been approved by the City Council.
In his biggest test — the criminal probes into allegations that city contracts were traded for campaign contributions — Hahn has had few vocal defenders.
"Jim Hahn behind the scenes is charming and likable," said Councilman Eric Garcetti, who has endorsed the mayor. "He could make more use of that by picking up the phone and reaching out more regularly. The calls would be well received."
Hahn occasionally confesses some frustration at his lot.
"I've never figured it out," he said recently. "I thought I was doing what I needed to do as city controller. I thought I did what I needed to do as city attorney to turn that office around. I think I've done what I needed to turn city government around as mayor."
Levey uses the remarkable only-in-L.A. stat that I tried to get into my profile of the mayor for Los Angeles magazine last year, but had to lose: Hahn's San Pedro home is 52 driving miles from the other far corner of the city in Chatsworth. Speaking of his isolation, Hahn was the only candidate not to attend the politico-heavy Super Bowl party thrown again this year by Encino gastroenterologist Gary Gitnick. The highlight must have been when Villaraigosa, Hertzberg and Parks locked arms and sang Kumbaya.