Art Snyder represented Northeast LA's 14th district on the Los Angeles City Council for 18 years, until 1985. He was a City Hall deputy before that. Born in Los Angeles, Snyder attended Los Angeles City College, Pepperdine University and USC. He became a lobbyist after leaving office and was living in Huntington Beach, in Orange County, and owned the Don the Beachcomber restaurant when he died in his sleep on Wednesday, the LA Times says.
Harvey Englander, a lobbyist who ran Snyder’s final council race, described him as “a character in the days when City Hall was filled with characters.”
“He was a red-haired, blue-eyed Irishman who spoke fluent Spanish and kept getting reelected even though his district became a mostly Latino district,” Englander said. “He was always back-slapping, always jovial, always making a deal.”
From almost the beginning, Snyder charted a path atypical for most politicians. In 1973, he made headlines by eloping with a 19-year-old aide. A year later, he survived a recall attempt. In 1980, a jury deadlocked on drunk driving charges that had been filed against him. And three years after that, Snyder managed to avoid a runoff by just 3 votes....Snyder’s political luck ran out in 1985, when he faced a formidable opponent in then-Assemblyman Richard Alatorre. Instead of running for another term, Snyder abruptly stepped down. By then, he was embroiled in a brutal child custody battle that included allegations of child molestation. Although law enforcement looked into those allegations, charges were never filed, said his lawyer, Mark Geragos.
Much later, as a lobbyist, Snyder pleaded guilty to nine misdemeanor counts involving the laundering of campaign contributions. Patch says a three-judge appellate panel dismissed the convictions. In 2001, Snyder had his law license suspended for six months by the State Bar, which also put him on probation for three years.
Councilman Jose Huizar, who currently represents the 14th district, said in a statement: "Art was a colorful character and a throwback politician who marched to the beat of his own drum. Through it all, Art Snyder faithfully represented an ever-changing Council District 14 for nearly two decades and for that, we all owe him a huge debt. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, family and friends.”
Photo: OC Breeze