On the ground in the 14th

Robert Greene opens his LA Weekly analysis of the current 14th council district campaign with a little history. He describes a 2003 rally where newly minted school board member Jose Huizar exhorted the crowd to help save incumbent Nick Pacheco from a well-financed rival: Antonio Villaraigosa. Two years later, Pacheco is running to get his seat back now that Villaraigosa is through with it. The mayor, however, is backing Huizar. Writes Greene:

Villaraigosa [wants] a new ally, not an old rival, running the show in the easternmost section of L.A....

Ten of the 13 City Council members, including most of those who worked alongside Pacheco when he was one of them, have backed Huizar. So has former Mayor Richard Riordan, who once was Pacheco's highest-profile backer. Democrats, Republicans, labor, big business. All are onboard with Huizar. Why? Two reasons, apparently. One, that's where Villaraigosa wants them, and he's the most powerful man in town at the moment. "I really need to get my projects through City Hall, and I don't need the mayor mad at me," one council member explained under condition, of course, of anonymity.

Reason two: Pacheco himself. Maybe. The ex-councilman has a reputation of being a sore winner who was unresponsive to the power players at City Hall when they failed to back him in his initial run, back in 1999. Plus, he stepped on toes when he made a play to grab part of downtown for his district at the expense of a colleague, and he moved clumsily in his failed effort to be elected council president.

There are eight other candidates, some of them pretty well known in the community: former boxer Paul Gonzales, longtime political staffer Ruby De Vera, Chicano activist David Sanchez. But Greene writes, "It's simply not possible to win with good intentions and a few lawn signs. You need an operation. The kind that you can only get with lots of money, and lots of friends in high places." Separately, Greene checks in on the 10th district where black political muscle will elect former Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson without a fight.

Also in the Weekly: Jeffrey Anderson updates the investigation that Councilwoman Jan Perry launched against LAPD officer Peter Torres after he had the audacity to run against her: "The investigation had all the markings of political payback, with a veteran LAPD officer's career at stake...However, investigators found that Perry's statements to the police were inconsistent with other witnesses' statements and that she refused to cooperate."

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