Copley's David Zahniser details in today's Daily Breeze the different hats worn by Fernando Guerra, the Loyola Marymount professor and commentator on local politics who also has made $71,509 so far this year as a registered City Hall lobbyist. From offices above The Palm restaurant, near Staples Center, Guerra lobbies Antonio Villaraigosa, other council members and city agencies for a client list that includes Home Depot, Microsoft and developers in the Valley Sonnenblick-Del Rio. The most eye-catching client, though, is major Villaraigosa backer and developer Richard Meruelo, who Zahniser says "hired Guerra to lobby the council - and Villaraigosa's office in particular - on land-use issues." At Loyola, Guerra runs the Center for the Study of Los Angeles and was in demand as a media analyst on the race for mayor. Guerra sees no conflicts between his roles, but Zahniser says, "Those dual roles - outside academic expert and inside influence peddler - have spurred questions at City Hall about where his loyalties lie. Is Guerra an impartial observer of the political scene, or an entrenched part of the system?" Others are critical, but Bob Stern of the Center for Governmental Studies says Guerra hasn't been hiding anything.
Also: Villaraigosa's transition team met in private Tuesday, with 66 of the 81 members attending (Magic Johnson and Sherry Lansing were among the missing.) No news was made. Villaraigosa is in
Washington today, with Council President Alex Padilla, rallying progressives at a conference called the Campaign for America's Future.
CD 14: The special election to replace Villaraigosa on the city council will be held Oct. 11 or Nov. 8 (with runoffs on either Dec. 13 or Jan. 10, 2006). It depends on whether Gov. Schwarzenegger calls a statewide election for November.