City Hall

John Perez won't join the race against Councilman Huizar

Thumbnail image for JohnPerezPodium.jpgFormer Assembly Speaker John Pérez has decided not to pursue the trendy well-paying career move for out of work Sacramento pols from Los Angeles — a seat on the City Council. David Zahniser of the LA Times reports that Perez consultant Douglas Herman contends a lot of community people asked Pérez to run. "This is not a race he's interested in pursuing," Herman said. County Supervisor Gloria Molina announced recently that she is in the race as a challenger to incumbent Councilman Jose Huizar.

Pérez confirmed to Zahniser that Huizar requested the ex-Speaker's endorsement and that they met at a Downtown Starbucks, but it doesn't sound like that's going to happen. “He wasn’t able to convince me to endorse him. He didn’t make a persuasive case,” Pérez said. “I’m happy to do another meeting, with any and all of the candidates.” Also running in addition to Molina and Huizar — so far — are social worker Nadine Diaz, disability rights advocate Alex San Martin and Mario Chavez, who used to serve on the city Affordable Housing Commission.

Perez lost a bid this year to continue his Sacramento career as state controller, finishing third behind Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, and Democrat Betty Yee, an elected member of the state Board of Equalization. Perez launched an official recount in July to see if he could close the narrow gap between himself and Yee, but dropped the effort a few days later and conceded the election.

Downtown News editor Jon Regardie looks ahead at the Huizar-Molina race in this week's issue. The Los Angeles Register previewed a Huizar-Molina showdown in the 14th district this weekend, quoting Molina liberally about her plans. This was a curious passage, perhaps in response to a question: she says she would make a good mayor.

If he wins the election, Huizar has four years left on the council before he’s termed out. Molina said she doesn’t know at the moment if she’d want a second term, if elected, but she also didn’t explicitly rule out running for mayor.

She is popular among women and Latinos and currently serves a constituency of around 2 million – far larger than a city council district.

“I’d be an excellent mayor,” she said. But she doubts her chances because of her straight-talk demeanor, her penchant for walking the district and her lack of fundraising prowess.

Antonio Villaraigosa paused briefly as the 14th district councilman before running a second time for mayor and winning. He went on to serve two terms.

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