Hertzberg Q-and-A *

Bob Hertzberg sat down last week with editors and reporters at the L.A. Business Journal. The accompanying profile in this week's issue is free online, but the interview is for subscribers only. Here are some excerpts:

Q: How would [you] go about fixing the perception of a pay-to-play culture at City Hall?

A: Well, for starters, Iím not going to appoint my fundraiser to oversee the cityís three largest departments. Thatís a big reason why we have a perception problem in this town. Also, my commissioners arenít going to go out and raise money for me. I do not like the notion that lobbyists sit on commissions or that political consultants sit on commissions. I also would institute a review process for large contracts to ensure that thereís no question about the propriety of those contracts.

Q: Why has this race gotten so nasty between you and Mayor Hahn?

A: Itís what heís done in every campaign. Itís not about who he is or what heís done. Rather, itís about trying to tear the other person down. He did it with Antonio Villaraigosa four years ago and now heís doing it with me because he perceives me to be a threat. He just makes things up. He claims I voted on something that happened a year after I left the Legislature and on something else that happened five years before I even got there.

Q: How do you deal with this?

A: First of all, this election is about the job Jim Hahn is doing as mayor. Right now, heís polling in the low 20 percent range. Thatís lower than Richard Nixon when he was impeached or Gray Davis when he was recalled. People get the fact that they have a mayor who is doing nothing. Also, what the poll numbers are saying is that two-thirds of the people say things in L.A. are moving in the wrong direction. People are looking for an alternative.

Q: Who are the three people living in the city that you most admire?

A: First, my wife. Then U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson, who has done great work in the community like starting Century Housing and developing shelter programs. Finally, Carla Sanger, who runs the L.A.ís Best after-school program.

Elsewhere: Hired outside PR services for the mayor's office began with Richard Riordan, the Times points out.

* More free stuff: The L.A. Business Journal has pulled together all of its candidate interviews and profiles in one place and opened them up to any reader.

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