Former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg on Thursday endorsed former deputy mayor Matt Szabo for her old district that includes Hollywood and several Eastside neighborhoods.
“Matt Szabo has faced and met some of the toughest challenges in our city and is not afraid to stand up to powerful interests to do what is right for the community,” Goldberg said.
CD13 stretches from Echo Park to Hollywood to Atwater Village. It is economically and racially diverse. More than half of the district’s residents are Latino, according to the 2010 Census, and almost 20 percent are Asian-American. In 1993, Goldberg became the first openly lesbian to join the council.
“One man’s meat is another man’s poison," Goldberg told KPCC. "Sometimes when you help with one project is may make people in another part of the area not happy. So, it’s a juggling and a negotiation.”
It was just a week ago that Goldberg moderated a forum with six of the 12 candidates running for the Thirteenth District. The forum, hosted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, featured Szabo and five other candidates on the March 5 ballot: Josh Post, Mitch O’Farrell, Emile Mack, Alex De Ocampo and John Choi.
Asked about a proposed half-cent sales tax measure on the March ballot, Szabo told the audience he opposes the proposal and noted there is still more the city could do to save money, like pooling health care plans for civilian and sworn employees. In his opening statement, Szabo said he had done more than any other candidate to get Los Angeles on solid financial footing.
Szabo used to work on budget matters for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who also has offered his endorsement.
“I’m the only candidate standing before you today who has had the weight of the city on his shoulders, stared bankruptcy in the face, and brought our city back from the brink of financial disaster,” Szabo said.
In contrast, Choi, a former Public Works commissioner, warned that without the new tax revenue, the size of the Los Angeles Police Department would be cut. On the subject of pensions, Choi told the crowd that labor does not trust city officials to give them real data.
“We can’t have a football game if you can’t agree whether it’s a 100-yard field,” Choi said. “When you have a public sector union membership that is actively advocating and has no trust of the City Hall management, you have a problem.”
Choi previously worked as economic development director for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. The group has endorsed Choi in the city council race and, so far, has spent $23,900 on mailers and phone banks for him.
Choi is leading the fundraising contest with almost $193,000 — more than twice as much as Szabo has raised. Choi is also being backed by an independent political action committee funded by the DWP union and Hollywood executives.
The six candidates said they all support the controversial Hollywood Community Plan, though they noted that implementation of the plan would be key.
Eric Garcetti is the district's current representative. He is running for mayor.
Almost 30 years ago, the district's residents elected Mike Woo, the city council's first — and thus-far only — Asian-American representative. Choi or Mack could become the council's first Korean-American member, De Ocampo its first Filipino-American.