Newsday's Ellis Henican devotes today's column to the idea that LAPD chief William Bratton — he calls the chief "Hollywood Bill" — is preparing for life after Los Angeles and lining up his ducks to run for mayor of New York in 2009. He notes that Bratton fits in on Central Park South and even has a favorite Gotham hangout, Campagnola.
"He's definitely serious about running," one Bratton confidante emphasized. "He believes he can raise the money. He still has lots of friends in New York. He'll move back later this year and start trying to build a New York political base."
Ah, yes, a New York political base. That could be a challenge for a Boston-bred rookie pol who's never run for anything anywhere, other than a high-visibility table against the wall at Elaine's.
But Bratton does have some political assets, chief among them Rikki Klieman, his glamorous TV legal-analyst wife. He's also run police departments in three large and complicated cities, delivering major crime reductions every time.
"After cleaning up Boston, New York and Los Angeles," celebrity lawyer and Bratton running-mate Mickey Sherman said yesterday, "being mayor of New York might feel like a part-time job."
I've known Bratton since 1990, when he roared into New York to run the old Transit Police Department. I've always found him open and accessible. But oddly, he wouldn't take my calls yesterday in Los Angeles.
I suppose I can understand Bratton's reluctance to get too specific. It's a complicated moment in L.A.
Complicated indeed. Villaraigosa has endorsed Bratton in the strongest terms — and the chief doesn't need a new mayor's blessing to finish out his term. But a Bratton friend told the columnist, "he's itching to get back here," and as we already know, Bratton spends a lot of time on the East Coast. A political consultant sizes up his chances this way: "Could he win? Sure. Is it likely? Put it like this. He's probably better off saving his money and buying a house."
Also: Rikki Klieman collectible merchandise for sale on her website.