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Curren Price Wins Labor Fed Backing in Council Race

From Basil Kimbrew

Sen. Curren D. Price Jr. The powerful County Federation of Labor yesterday threw its weight behind seven City Council candidates in the March 5 primary election – but remained silent on L.A.'s three biggest contests.

The federation, which represents 600,000 workers from 300 union locals, did not endorse candidates for mayor, city controller and city attorney, delaying those decisions until the May 21 runoff election.

But the group made a choice in seven of eight Los Angeles City Council races, backing current or former Sacramento lawmakers in all but two contests. An endorsement from the federation, the second-largest central labor body in the nation, can result in campaign mailers, volunteers or an expensive independent expenditure campaign on behalf of a candidate.

On the East Side, the group picked state Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) over Jose Gardea, chief of staff to Councilman Ed Reyes. Both men are seeking to replace Mr. Reyes in a district that includes Mt. Washington, Lincoln Heights and Westlake.

On the Westside, the federation chose Councilman Paul Koretz, a former Assemblyman considered a reliable vote for labor interests. In the San Fernando Valley, the federation picked two lawmakers looking to leave Sacramento: Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), running to replace Councilman Dennis Zine, and Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), who is seeking to replace Councilman Richard Alarcon.

In South Los Angeles, the federation backed state Sen. Curren Price (D-Culver City) in the race to replace Councilwoman Jan Perry. Other candidates in that race include Assemblyman Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), Deputy Police Chief Terry Hara and Ana Cubas, former chief of staff to Councilman Jose Huizar, who is a major labor ally.

Bonin Picked in Rosendahl Race

In an Echo Park-to-Hollywood council district, the endorsement went to former Board of Public Works member John Choi, who has worked for both the Federation of Labor and Mayor Villaraigosa. Other candidates in that contest include Matt Szabo who used to be Mr. Villaraigosa's deputy chief of staff; Mitch O'Farrell, former aide to Councilman Eric Garcetti; Jose Sigala, a former aide to Councilman Alarcon; and Assistant L.A. city Fire Chief Emile Mack.

In a coastal district stretching from Pacific Palisades south to Los Angeles International Airport, the federation chose Mike Bonin, chief of staff to Councilman Bill Rosendahl to succeed the ailing Mr. Rosendahl.

The federation's Committee on Political Education asked candidates about such matters as policies toward Wal-Mart and ordinances that require a living wage. Each candidate needed two-thirds support to win an endorsement.

"We are solidly united behind candidates who will stand up for working families to move our city and schools forward," said Maria Elena Durazo, who heads the federation.

Mr. Kimbrew, a Democratic consultant and Chair of the California Friends of the African American Caucus, may be contacted at

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